When I first started writing the “Amish of Weaver’s Creek” series, I knew the third book would be about Elizabeth Kaufman, and I was curious to see what her life was going to look like at the end of the Civil War.
The War was one of those nation-changing events that shape history. The clash of ideas, ways of life, deeply held beliefs, and religious practice had exploded into a four-year battle that left no community unchanged. Even in her isolated corner of central Ohio, Elizabeth’s life had been touched by the war, leaving her a widow.
I wanted this story to be a “happily-ever-after” tale of reunited families, weddings, and rejoicing at the end of the war. But these characters insisted on telling their stories without a sugar-candy coating. The war had changed them, and their stories are about how they deal with those changes to build a future of hope.
The heroine of Softly Blows the Bugle is Elizabeth, Ruby’s and Jonas’ sister. She is content and at peace, having joined the church after her husband was killed, and is now living in a simple house with her friend Katie Stuckey. She has pushed her dreams of a good marriage and a family into the background, telling herself she will never marry again. Elizabeth knows first-hand how a man can act one way in public and a different way behind closed doors.
The hero is Aaron Zook, whose story began in the mountains of Tennessee where he was raised by his grandfather. A true mountain man, Aaron had lived by hunting and trapping, wandering the mountains of his home state, and enjoying every moment. But after witnessing the destruction of his home and death of his grandfather at the hands of a Yankee patrol at the beginning of the war, he joined the Confederate army. When he lost a leg during the Siege of Petersburg, Aaron ended up in the prisoner of war hospital where Jonas Weaver was working as a medical aide. The two men became friends, and after the war ended Aaron starts out for the West, traveling with Jonas for the first part of his journey. He stops in Weaver’s Creek to heal and gain strength, but his physical recovery isn’t the only benefit from living in the peaceful and loving community.
Another newcomer to the Weaver’s Creek area is Solomon Mast, a widower from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, who purchases the farm adjoining the acreage Elizabeth had inherited from her husband. Solomon seems to be the answer to Elizabeth’s unfulfilled dreams. His interest in her and willingness to become a part of the Amish community shows Elizabeth that this is a man she could marry. A man her parents would approve of.
But Aaron isn’t sure about Solomon. The out-going fellow brings up shadowy memories of a man he had encountered during the war who had worked as a spy in the Shenandoah Valley. A man who took what he wanted, no matter the cost to anyone else. As Elizabeth’s interest in Solomon grows, Aaron soon realizes that he has another battle to face: a battle for the heart of the woman he loves.
This story brings other new characters into the Weaver’s Creek community. One of my favorites is Dulcey, an ex-slave who works for Solomon as his cook and housekeeper. As she and Elizabeth become friends, we learn that Dulcey is a strong and faithful woman who doesn’t let the tragic circumstances of her life define her.
And a new family moves to Weaver’s Creek from Pennsylvania. Casper Zook joins his two adult sons on their farms, bringing his wife and stepchildren with him. Could Casper and Aaron be related? Aaron doesn’t think they could be, but Casper holds a secret that might heal Aaron’s fractured past.
“Softly Blows the Bugle” is all about healing. In the past four years lives were lost, homes destroyed, and dreams delayed. But as the members of the Weaver’s Creek community put their trust in God, they see how he makes all things work for good.
I hope you enjoy this story of love, healing, faith, and redemption, and that you will feel at home in Weaver’s Creek.
Jan Drexler brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions and beliefs to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren
immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s, and their experiences are the inspiration for her stories.
Jan lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family.
She is the author of The Sound of Distant Thunder, The Roll of the Drums, Hannah’s Choice, Mattie’s Pledge (a 2017 Holt Medallion finalist), and Naomi’s Hope, as
well as several Love Inspired historical novels.
To learn more visit: https://www.jandrexler.com/