25 Book Reviews

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Interview with Jerry Eicher, seller of over 400,000 books and a review of his newest Amish fiction.

A Review of Jerry's  Newest Book:

"Following Your Heart"Product Details

   By Jerry Eicher

This book is the second of the "Fields of Home" Series and is to be followed by one last one. I am VERY upset!! Why, you may ask?  Because, I absolutely love this series and hate for it to ever end!!!
  In the first book, the main character , Susan Hostetler, has left her Amish community to move to the city and experience an Englisch lifestyle. She has not yet been baptized and is trying to decide which life she wants: to stick to her Amish roots, or switch to a life of freedom- she thinks, with the Englischers.

In this new book, she returns home, along with trouble, with her friend, an unmarried , young lady, who has a baby boy, Samuel, Teresa , the Englischer , has the greatest desire to become Amish and have her son grow up in a faith where he will be loved, cherished and taught Christian values.

This simple desire turns into a nightmare for Susan , Teresa and Susan's family who has befriended her and supported her. Deacon Ray forbids this young lady to even attend church, let alone, be trained in the Amish faith, fearing she will be a bad influence on the other young people of the community.  Then.... along come two suitors. If Teresa intends to marry within the Amish faith, she can attend church  and live the life she so desires. But whom will she choose to marry?? The Deacon's son!!! OR the older man of the community who no one else will have!! What is God's plan? Will she stop and listen and wait, to hear that still small voice?? Should she follow her heart??

This book had my complete attention from start to end. In fact, I could not put it down!! The characters became so real to me, I so wanted to talk to them and give my advice!! They had such realistic problems and challenges that I could feel the stress within the situation.

The plot had many surprises and at times, shocked me with the changing of events . What I presumed would happen , did not!! This is a book not to be missed by any fan of the Amish fiction genre. What a winner!!!  I am eagerly awaiting the last of this series , "Where Love Grows" to find out how this family makes out in the Amish Community. 
Jerry, you have outdone yourself. Each book just keeps getting better and better!!

An Interview with Jerry Eicher:

Question 1: Jerry, I think we are all aware that you were born into an Amish home. Do you mind telling us what convinced you to leave the Amish faith, or is that too personal to ask?

    No...that’s a great question, Karla. The long and short of the answer is that I inadvertently acquired what were considered dangerous ideas by the Elders. Such as depending more heavily on scripture instead of the ordnung for community guidance. Before that I was a dedicated Amish believer, a little zealous perhaps, which may have been part of their concern. Rather than recant or face excommunication, I fled to a Mennonite church with my young family, and was sheltered there by a well known Mennonite Bishop whom the local Amish elders respected. So they backed off on any discipline plans.

2. I  realize you have continued to worship in an evangelical faith, as I do, ( the Brethren in Christ),   Is there a special reason why you chose the Mennonite Church?

We did visit the surrounding churches, Baptist and Pentecostal, primarily. But I didn’t feel like abandoning what I felt were the scriptural portions of my upbringing. (Head veiling, nonresistance, to name two points) So the Mennonites were the only viable option for me. 

3. It is most uncommon for a male to write such romantic Amish fiction. Why did you choose this genre and why do you believe you have been such a successful author? I know you are- I READ THEM ALL!!!
    When I began writing, this issue caught me totally by surprise. I had no idea a man wasn’t supposed to write from a women’s point of view. Or I guess, more accurately, a man is not supposed to have the ability.
    When my contact at “Choice Books” ( A Mennonite Book Distribution organization) began to sell my self-published books and later sought an official publisher for me, I was turned down out-of-hand for this reason. I found that amusing at first, but I guess it’s quite an entrenched idea within the Christian world, and more serious than I thought.
    You have to indulge my ignorance, since I grew up surrounded by Amish men who wrote fiction, and included the women’s point of view. A case in point is David Wagler and his Simon & Susie stories, published first in the “Young Companion” in serial form and later complied in a book under that same name. I read those stories with relish, and it never crossed my mind that a man shouldn’t be doing such a thing. And to this day, the Amish publishing house, “Pathway”, makes no distinction between fiction love stories written by either male or female.
    On this subject the Mennonite and Amish world is much more open minded, then mainline Christian believers. Obviously, I think the belief misguided at best, and prejudicial at worst. Shakespeare was a man. Hello, “Romeo and Juliet”, and  “The Taming of the Shrew”, to name two plays. The Song of Solomon was written by a man. After the introduction it opens in the woman’s point of view. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine”. Nicholas Sparks, one of the best selling romance writers in the secular world, is male.
    It all seems quite self defeating to me. Men are practical creatures, and if it’s impossible for them to understand a woman, then why should they listen? And isn’t listening what a woman desires? 
    As to how I judge my success as an author? Reviews and Sales, I think. If both of those drop through the floor, it’s pretty much over.    

Jerry, you are so correct , why shouldn't men be able to write romantic fiction? History shows us they always did!! Thank you for your excellent explanation.

4. What are your plans for future series, after you complete Book 3 of the Fields of Home series?
2012 still have two standalone books coming, “My Dearest Emma” ( a series of love letters written between an engaged Amish couple ) and the Christmas book, “Susanna’s Christmas Wish” ( one of the sweetest and best stories I’ve written so far, I think) . Beyond that I have contracts with Harvest House for another full series in 2013, “Emma Raber’s Daughter”, plus my childhood memoirs, “My Amish Childhood”. Talks are also underway for a series in 2014, “Sisters of Lancaster County”. 

Thank you so much Jerry for this interview, allowing your fans to get to know and understand you so much better.

This book was provided by the author, Jerry Eicher and Harvest Publishing House.


  1. This was a great interview.I loved it.I can't wait for Jerry's new books to come out I love his books.They all are great.Thanks

  2. I loved this interview. I am a huge fan of Mr. Eicher and have read ALL his Amish fiction books. Thank you Karla and Mr. Eicher for this enjoyable interview.

    Blessings to you both!

  3. Jerry Eicher has proven that a man can write love stories just as well an any woman writer. I enjoy everyone of his books and hope that he keeps writing long into the future. Everyone single book or series are an enjoyment to read.

  4. Thanks for the great interview!! I can't wait to get started on Jerry's books:)

  5. Good interview Karla. I have tried so hard to win one of his books. You did a good job with this. Wish he had given you a book to give away. I didn't realize that you had a Blog. I found out because was trying to get in on the contest for tonight. I tried first on the 17th and now it's too late, but I will still go to the chat part. Thanks, Maxie


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