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Annette Blair, NY Times & USA Today Bestseller

 

 

 

 

 

 

JACOB'S RETURN

REVIEWS

HUNTRESS REVIEWS

 

TITLE: Jacob's Return

(Amish Historical, formerly published as "Thee, I Love")

 

 

Set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The year is 1885. Jacob Sauder had left his home, his Amish life, behind four years ago, never intending to return. While away, he had committed several sins. One was fortification. Jacob's twin children, Emma and Aaron, had been two-years-old when he discovered they existed. Their mother had died during child birth. For the sakes of his children, Jacob returned to his Amish home.

 

Rachel Zook and Jacob Sauder had grown up together and they had loved each other almost as long. Simon, Jacob's brother, knew this, yet wanted Rachel for his own. To get Rachel, Simon had deceived Jacob at a time that his grief over their mother's illness clouded his judgement. Simon convinced Jacob that Rachel loved him more and had agreed to become his wife. Once Jacob had left the community, Simon coerced Rachel into marrying him by stating that Levi (his father) would grieve Jacob's departure less if he had grandchildren to love.

 

From the date Rachel wed, she had suffered all forms of abuse at her husband's hands. Jacob's return made the volatile situation even worse. Simon's hate for both Jacob and Rachel ran deep. Simon blamed them both for his own lies, deceptions, and manipulations. The fact that Rachel had not as yet given birth to children incited Simon's rage more than anything else. Even more so than Rachel's determination to print and circulate an Amish newspaper for their people. Once ordained a Deacon, Simon's sermons became vengeful and often shamed Rachel before the entire church district for being barren. Simon blamed Jacob for several imagined faults as well. Yet through it all, Rachel had persevered.

 

Though Rachel had married Simon, the love between Rachel and Jacob could still be easily seen. Emma and Aaron became Rachel's world. It did not take Jacob more than a day or two to notice Rachel's abuse. Levi had unknowingly turned a blind eye to Rachel's various injuries and Rachel never let her father, the Bishop, know of her hardships. Thus Jacob took matters into his own hands. Once the Bishop learned of his daughter's abuse, he stepped forward and threatened to reveal to the community how cruel Simon, a Deacon, was to his own wife. The Bishop would only remain silent should Simon immediately change his sinful ways. But did the Bishop really open Simon's eyes? Though Simon instantly changed, was his humility false? Could Rachel forgive Simon and try to have a decent, if not loving, marriage with him? And could Rachel and Jacob dwell on the same farm, him working alongside Rachel's husband and her caring for Jacob's children, every day without giving in to their love?

 

FIVE STARS! Annette Blair has crafted a story that will long linger in the minds of her readers. You need not be Amish, or a fan of history and/or cultures, to thoroughly enjoy this romantic tale. Every page seems to overflow with some form of strong emotion. Love, hate, sympathy, kindness, pity, vengeance, heartbreak, sorrow, despair, apathy, regret, graciousness, hope, serenity, and so much more. I find it impossible to articulate my true feelings about this story. After reading the last page of a book, I usually sit quietly awhile and try to think of key words to describe how it left me feeling. However, the way this story leaves me feeling is almost impossible. My emotions are in a state of turmoil. Yes, the ending is happy, joyous. But I read this entire story in one sitting and I currently feel as though the author grabbed each emotion from within me and wrung it dry. I laughed. I cried. My heart ached. I despaired that a happy ending could ever come to be. I bit my nails (something I do have not done since I was a child) down to nubs. Right this second, I can say that I am extremely happy and emotionally exhausted. So exactly how else can I describe this story, other than to say that it is indescribable? I am totally flummoxed.

 

It has now been one hour since I finished reading this story. Here is what I have come up with. Annette Blair has a phenomenal writing talent. Readers will find themselves instantly transported to another time and place, where they will meet and come to know the most amazing people. The author shows the pros and the cons of living an Amish life, as well as the need for faith in their Maker. Be prepared for a wide variety of emotions to collide within yourself as you read this ambivalent, yet inspiring, story. Brilliant!

Detra Fitch, HUNTRESS REVIEWS

 


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The Best Reviews

 

In 1881 Jacob Sauder left his Lancaster County Amish community following the funeral of his mother when his brother Simon informed him that the former's fiancée Rachel wanted out of their engagement. Despondent Jacob moved away and Rachel married Simon.

After four years away he returns home a widower accompanied by his two years old twins Emma and Aaron whose mother died giving birth to them. He prays his family will welcome and love them though he sinned. Also Jacob knows it will be hard to see Rachel with Simon. His brother greets him with scorn telling him to leave as Simon is to be ordained a deacon. Soon after the return, Jacob and Rachel learn how devious Simon tricked both of them, but she must adhere to her vows even though her husband abuses her. Unable to remain idly on the sidelines while Simon's abuse intensifies, Jacob confronts his sibling.

This reprint of a 1999 historical romance is an entertaining tale of redemption as the Amish society provides a strong backdrop to the tale of two rival brothers and the good woman between them. The story line is character driven with each key player having faults and flaws that make them seem real. Readers will enjoy this late nineteenth century Amish family drama as shunning the sinners competes with redeeming the sinners for the souls of Bishop Zook's community.  Harriet Klausner
 


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ROMANCE COMMUNICATIONS 1999

JACOB'S RETURN (formerly Thee, I Love) pulled me into another world, making me a part of the community, making me love and care about its members, making me rejoice and making me cry. It's a moving, powerful story.

Jacob Sauder returns to his Amish home, bringing his motherless twins to be raised in a safe and decent place. He had left in despair after his mother's funeral when his brother, Simon, told him Jacob's beloved Rachel wished to be released from their engagement. Jacob finds welcome; his family and community give his children all the love he could wish. Even when he and Rachel, now Simon's wife, realize they were the victim's of Simon's lies, they put the past behind them in respect for Rachel's marriage vows. But Simon's actions make that difficult. He becomes increasingly abusive, berating Rachel for her barrenness. When Jacob finds Rachel hurt in the barn one night, he means only to give her comfort, but his comfort goes too far.

The Amish community Annette Blair describes is a wonderful place with a strong spirit and sense of family, one where children are surrounded by love. She peoples the pages of her book with realistic portrayals of good people with faults, but with real faith. The dialogue and interactions of her characters make the reader a part of it all. There is a wealth of color and detail in her delineation of the culture and daily life of the community.

The plot is an absorbing one of family love and betrayal, of faith and transgression. Above all, it's a tale of love between a man and a woman and their need for forgiveness. The transgression committed by Jacob and Rachel brings anguish to all involved, and yet they are entirely sympathetic characters. Even Simon, who began the trouble with his jealousy and lies, is understandable.

JACOB'S RETURN was Annette Blair's third book. She showed promise in her first two, but this book displays a major new talent. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Reviewed by Lily Martin for Romance Communications


 

Jacob's Return
 

Author: Annette Blair
 

Publisher: Lachesis Publishing

Release Date: March 27, 2012

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5.0

Format: AUDIOBOOK

 

After losing his mother and discovering that Rachel, the woman he loved, was marrying his brother Simon, Jacob Sauder left the Amish home where he had been raised. Going out into the world, which was becoming English as far as his people were concerned, he met Miriam. But he left her as he traveled from job to job. When he returned much later, he discovered that Miriam had been pregnant and died bringing his twins into the world. His children had been left with her friend, who turned the twins over to him with a note from Miriam. Wanting to make a good home for his children, he decided to return to his Amish roots. However, on the day that he returned, his brother Simon was being ordained Deacon. Simon was furious and ordered Jacob to leave. But, for his children’s sakes, he was determined to stay. Seeing Rachel again tore him apart but he knew he would have to get over it. What was supposed to be Simon’s day turned out to be Jacob’s when the Bishop welcomed him back into the fold, much to Simon’s dismay.

 

It was not until Jacob’s return that Rachel discovered how she and Jacob had been tricked. She had always thought that she and Jacob would marry and spend the rest of their lives together. But Jacob had left, after Simon told him that she was marrying him. That had been a lie. She and Simon had not had a relationship at all at that time. It was over a year later before she had consented to marry Simon out of loneliness. Unfortunately, she and Simon did not have any children and he blamed her. Where Jacob is tender, Simon is violent, but keeps his behavior secret, delighting in his absolute control over his wife. When she was three, she had offered five-year-old Jacob a mudpie. Afterwards, that had been his nickname for her. Still calling her Mudpie, his children had picked it up, shortening it to Pie. With no children of her own to tend, Rachel has been teaching school. Simon has been trying to get her to quit and he is also demanding that she give up the newspaper that she has found joy in printing. But he doesn’t know that she not only plans to keep putting out the paper, she also plans to buy the local printing press. Early in their marriage, she had had hopes that they would come to love each other. But she no longer harbors such hope for the disaster that is her marriage, even though she knows she is bound to him for the rest of her life.

Living in the same house with his father, Simon and Rachel was not easy and Jacob knew he might have to buy a home for himself and the twins, but not too far from his father and Rachel, who loved his children almost as much as he did. In order to help out on the farm, Jacob knows he must find a woman to care for his children. But the children want no one but Rachel. They struggle with their love for each other and the life they have been dealt due to their own past decisions, but these same decisions soon bring about events from which there may be no escape.

A profound tale, JACOB’S RETURN is a contemporary romance that takes hold of your heart and doesn’t let go. Award-winning author Annette Blair displays the characters realistically, complete with all of their flaws and foibles, allowing readers to empathize with them. The love between Jacob and Rachel is palpable, leaping out at you from the printed page. Whether you are a fan of Amish romances or not, this story will be one you won’t soon forget. In this novel, Ms. Blair’s Amish community depicts a strong sense of family spirit. A beautifully written, poignant story, which will leave you almost feeling like you are a part of that close community…or wishing you were. In this story, which was formerly released as THEE, I LOVE, the everyday Amish lifestyle serves as a backdrop for two very different brothers and their contention over one woman. Now available as an audiobook, this story is told in a clear, concise manner and with feeling, bringing it to life as you listen. Brimming with humor, sexual tension, believable characters, domestic abuse, forgiveness, God and pure love, this emotion-packed story will stay in your memory. A definite keeper; you will want to listen to this one more than once. I highly recommend JACOB’S RETURN. It is one of my all-time favorites. Do not miss it!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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Romance Junkies Content Editor: Wendy

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© Annette Lague Blair, Last website updates: 01/25/2014 04:17 PM