Will a new way of life solve problems or just create new ones?
Fed up with life in a large city, Chad Allen quits his job on Christmas Eve and drives until he’s stranded in the remote Mennonite town of Piney Meadows. He accepts a job there on a whim, but the longer he stays, the more he likes these good people and their strong faith. Most of all, he grows fond of Anna, the girl next door, and the more he gets to know her, the more he falls in love with her.
The only problem is that Anna is not happy in Piney Meadows. Even as Chad wants to settle in, Anna wants to move out. She longs to move to Minneapolis and find a new life. Reluctantly, Chad agrees to help Anna prepare for life in a large city, even as she’s helping him adjust to life in Piney Meadows.
But when a personal crisis shakes Chad to his core, he’s not sure where to turn. He’d been let down by everyone he knew, even God. Now that the situation has reared its ugly head again, can his relationship with Anna survive? Or will he have to let her go, too?
Gail Sattler is the author of numerous novels, novellas, gift books, cookbooks and devotions. She is a longstanding member of East Ridge Community Fellowship, a Mennonite Brethren church. She lives and writes in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. For more information about Gail, check out her websites at GailSattler.com and MennoniteRomanceNovel.com.
THE PATH TO PINEY MEADOWS was such a heart-warming book that I truly hated for it to end. The characters were so honest and true to God and their hearts. I became so absorbed in the story that I could feel my heart soften and I longed to immerse myself in the Mennonite community. It was that comforting a book.
Chad’s disillusion with the way the world has become – so fast, so uncaring, so dog-eat-dog, as the saying goes – causes him to throw the towel in and quit his job on Christmas Eve. And, as he hops in his car and begins to drive, he comes across a small town just as he runs out of gas. When you run out of gas, on a Christmas Eve, you just know that is where God has planned for you to end up.
As I opened the book to read, I was in a hurry because I needed to catch up on my reading and review this book. Once I began reading, there was no way I was going to finish it in a rush. As I turned page after page, and as I entered into the Mennonite world, I found that I no longer had the urge to fly through the book. I wanted to stay in the moment.
I absolutely loved the characters! I don’t think there was one I didn’t like. Their simpleness and easygoingness was contagious. I do want to go into a little more detail about Chad because the book also had heart-warming humor. He is presented with two baby chicks and proceeds to make them his family. They fall asleep in his lap at night and sleep in a box at the end of his bed, and even wear chicken nappies! We follow along as Chad makes a lot of discoveries about the Mennonite ways and what a different world he has stumbled upon, and eventually earns the nickname, “City Boy”.
“For the most part, a woman’s place was to be a housewife; this was a community of Mrs. Cleavers. Only Mrs. Cleaver didn’t cook like these Mennonite women. He’d never experienced such great food in his life.”
“They (chickens) started getting tired not long after supper. So on the evenings when he didn’t go out, he’d been taking them and putting a towel in his lap to keep them warm, while he curled up with a good book…He’d also noticed that since they could now hop out of their box in the kitchen, Waddles came to him whenever he sat down in the chair he used when he was reading, almost like she was expecting him to pick her up…Blinkie wasn’t so fast when he sat in his favorite chair, but when Waddles made it into his lap, Blinkie wasn’t far behind. While Waddles always waited to let Chad pick her up, Blinkie liked to jump up on his leg. “
“…I would also like to have a dog, because a dog would be good to help protect the chicken hotel (you will have to read the book to find out about that one!) Also, I do not think I would mind the chickens in their box on the floor by the bed.” He flinched at her words, and when he started to speak…”you are not fooling me. Do not think I do not know you allow your chickens to sleep in the box in your bedroom. I have seen it…I followed Blinkie to see where she was going, and she went to have a nap. I have seen you taking them into the house at night after I go to bed”…”Many people know that you have put diapers on your chickens…”
German was dispersed throughout the book, but the author incorporated the English translation very smoothly so the reader doesn’t miss a beat.
I am giving THE PATH TO PINEY MEADOWS five stars. It was a wonderful book and one I could see myself reading again. I was so taken with the descriptions of the Mennonite community that I told my husband I found the perfect place for us to move – and he agreed. In a world where people live too fast, live too selfishly, the little community would be a wonderful place to escape to.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Chad Jones stared into the bottom of his empty mug.
Since noon, peals of drunken laughter had echoed down from the office Christmas party of the business on the floor above him.
Chad sat alone, on Christmas Eve, working. Without coffee. But he could smell the dregs from what was left in the bottom of the near-empty pot. Everyone else had gone home.
Chad glanced around his private office, not much bigger than a closet. He had barely enough square footage for his desk and chair, one filing cabinet, and one guest chair. Not that he had many guests. It was embarrassing. The building looked passable from the outside, but there was a reason the rent was cheaper than other buildings in the same area.
Gary, however, had spared no expense in renovating his own office, which was nearly the size of Chad’s living room.
Upstairs, someone turned up the volume of “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Chad gritted his teeth and tilted his head up. “I hate ‘Jingle Bell Rock’!” he called up, even though they couldn’t hear him. “Can’t you pick something else?”
With every thump of the bass, the tape dispenser on Chad’s desk vibrated.
He stared at the pile of paper Gary had plunked on his desk before he’d walked out. Gary had left early to be with his family. Chad didn’t have anywhere to go, and Gary knew it, but that wasn’t the point.
After all this time, he could finally admit that his boss had no intention of making him a partner. Everything had been a ploy to get more work out of him. The only thing that would shake greedy Gary into really making him partner was if Gary actually had to do all his own work.
Chad peeled off a sticky note and started writing.
I quit! Chad
He smiled and pressed the paper to the center of his monitor. As he pulled his hand away, the note fell.
Chad’s smile also fell.
Mr. Cheapskate couldn’t even buy decent quality sticky notes.
Chad sank his teeth into his lower lip, picked up a pushpin, poked it through the note, and aimed it at the monitor.
Testing the screen, Chad poked it with his thumb. His monitor at home was a plasma screen—hard, with a glass front—but this was an LCD and was . . . pliant.
Even though he had no intention of really doing it, he speculated what would happen if he pushed the pin into the soft surface. Would the screen go blank? Would it blow up? Would there be a spark? It gave him a small degree of satisfaction to imagine Gary’s expression when he saw a hole in his precious bargain-basement monitor.
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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.