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Return to Huckleberry Hill - Jennifer Beckstrand

Reuben had a sinking feeling the minute Delores Johnson answered her door. Delores was one of the Englishes who lived in the mostly Amish community. She had never possessed a pleasant disposition but tonight she looked downright hostile. She scowled directly at Reuben as if she blamed him for being alone on Christmas Eve. Or maybe she didn’t like the way he sang or the fact she had to look up at him. Delores’s bad mood wasn’t the reason Reuben felt unsettled. As it was reuben felt vulnerable and exposed as if everyone behind him was laughing at a joke he wasn’t in on. But when Reuben turned around everyone was smiling and singing as if they weren’t paying much attention at all. But where was LInda Sue, he could have sworn she had been right beside him not five minutes ago but she wasn’t there now, yet right before they made the trek to Mrs. Johnson’s driveway Linda Sue had been by his side. Their youth group was traveling from door to door on foot, singing carols and delivering goodies to the shut ins. Tomorrow was Christmas and Reuben was going to propose to Linda Sue . They would be married in September. Reuben and Linda Sue were perfect for each other, she was the daughter of their bishop and reuben was a minister's son. Both families were respected and loved in the community.Reuben asked about Linda Sue and ruth said her and John had fallen behind at the bridge that crosses the creek. Then Benji said if they aren’t with you they are with each other. That was what had been nagging Reuben in his gut. Something had been different between Linda Sue and John- who was Reuben’s best friend- for weeks. John would never do anything to hurt the friendship so reuben believed. Then John told Linda Sue they had to tell Reuben. Linda Sue told Reuben it had just happened and she said reuben wouldn’t listen and she also said  she didn’t know how many times she had tried to tell Reuben about her growing feelings for John. Then John said They loved each other and had for several weeks.y planned on getting married God willing. Anna was thinking about her single grandchildren. If Anna and her husband Felty didn’t help them their prosperity would very likely wither and die. The thought of unwed grandchildren put Anna in a dither, something had to be done. Then reuben went to his grandmother Anna’s house and asked if he could stay for a couple of days. Reuben had been at his grandmother's for three months now doing back breaking work and his aching muscles distracted him from his dark thoughts. They had weighed heavy on Reuben for three months, he had only intended to stay at his grandmother’s for a week but but it had already turned into three months. His parents had written him ten letters urging to come home but Reuben couldn’t do it. It felt an anvil around his his neck and Reuben couldn’t turn to God. He had been humiliated when Linda Sue picked a poor pig farmer over him and and he had also been betrayed by his best friend. He couldn’t go back to Sugar Creek knowing the people would be laughing at him behind his back. Then his grandfather told him it was time he went back to church and Reuben agreed. More than anything else Reuben wanted to be liked again. He wanted people to admire and respect him not laugh at him. Then John’s sister fern showed up at the church his grandparents went to, she even winked at Reuben. Fern has come to get Reuben to forgive John and then bring him home. Reuben decided to start socializing and he did nice things for several of the girls and they think he is thinking of courting them because of his help. Then he finds he is in a mess with all those girls. Reuben also finds he is attracted to fern the last girl he thought would be on his mind for courting. Fern has loved Reuben since childhood but Reuben has known Fern all his life and thinks of her like a little sister. Fern always called Reuben out on all his faults and could make him feel humble. Fern plans on finding Reuben a new girlfriend so he will be in a better mood. Reuben ends up insulting a group of single women and goes to Fern for help to make amends to the women. Reuben finds he wants more than friendship from Fern.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the pace and the plot. This was a very good Amish read. I really liked Fern and Reuben together. Somebody needed to tell him about himself and that somebody was Fern. I didn’t think Reuben acted like a devout Amish man especially being a minister’s son as he was prideful, egotistical, had vanity, had an attitude, was judgmental and conceited for a starter. This choked me up at times and others made me chuckle. I suggest you read the books in this series in order  I didn’t really care for how Reuben treated Fern for the most part. I loved how the author described things in this book. I felt this was good Amish fiction and showed the Amish are far from perfect and are very human. I loved Felty and Anna's matchmaking. I liked the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend.