The Secret Keeper (Home to Hickory Hollow)

by Beverly Lewis

Paperback, 2013



Call number



Bethany House Publishers (2013), 352 pages


"Jennifer Burns has always had an 'old soul,' but joining the Amish world will challenge her spirit--and her heart--in ways she never expected"--Provided by publisher.

User reviews

LibraryThing member george1295
This is the best one yet! Superb story telling by Beverly Lewis. Never a dull moment! The narrative keeps you on your toes and the ending is filled with suspense.
LibraryThing member wearylibrarian
Amish fiction with a bit of a twist. Other author's have written about Englisch becoming Amish but in those stories the reason behind it has been love. In this story, Jenny is determined to become Amish because she has always admired the lifestyle. While some of the story seems to drag, for the
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most part it is well written and held my interest. It was interesting to see Jenny's interaction with the Amish and their response to Jenny's dream.

Jenny's sister claims that Her younger sister is an 'old soul' and Jenny agrees. She has always liked to do things the old fashioned way. Jenny's dream is to become Amish, not an easy task for an Englischer. Now Jenny is living with an an Amish family and learning what it really takes to be Amish. When her family finds out what Jenny is doing, they send her best friends to talk her out of this crazy idea, but she is determined to make it through her Proving and become Amish.
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LibraryThing member drebbles
All of her life Jenny Burns has longed to escape the modern world and live a Plain life. Drawn to the Amish, she sells all her possessions and moves in with an Amish family in the hopes of eventually becoming Amish. But the Amish way of life isn’t easy and she soon finds herself struggling not
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only with the chores, but a secret she has been asked to keep and her attraction to Andrew Lapp. Jenny is praying that she can do the right thing even if it means hurting those she cares for.

“The Secret Keeper” is another nicely done book by Beverly Lewis. While it is part of her “Home to Hickory Hollow” series, this book is a stand alone novel and you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to enjoy this one. Fans who have read “The Shunning”, “The Confession”, and “The Reckoning” will especially enjoy this book as Katie Lapp is prominently featured in this book (again, you don’t have to have read those books to enjoy this one). Jenny’s longing to leave the English World and become Amish is a different type of plotline and I like the way Lewis portrays Jenny’s struggles not so much in leaving the English world but doing the work (both physical and spiritual) involved in being Amish. Lewis deftly mixes in Jenny’s struggles with the struggles of the young Amish who aren’t sure if they want to be baptized and remain Amish. Also mixed in are Katie and her family – Katie is still shunned and their struggles to obey the shunning, yet longing to see her, are very realistic. This is a slim book and I do wish we had seen more of Jenny’s family, but it is still a nice, enjoyable book to read.

“The Secret Keeper” is another good book by Beverly Lewis.
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LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
I have read most of Lewis's Amish books, and perhaps that is why I struggled with this one at first. It didn't grab me the way some of her other ones did. In fact, for about half the book, I frankly did not care for Jenny, the main character, at all. She seemed flighty and scatterbrained, not
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someone who would succeed in joining the Amish community. I just couldn't imagine the people in Hickory Hollow having the patience to deal with her. About halfway through the novel, however, something clicked, and I began to care about how the novel would end, so I stuck with it. One thing that never sat well with me, however, was the reaction of her family in Connecticut, especially Jenny's mother. There was a lack of feeling in most of those encounters, almost as if Lewis put those scenes in the book because she felt like she had to. I do appreciate one of the overall themes of the book - the Amish are not perfect, and it is wrong for any of us to put them on a pedestal. Overall, if you are a fan of Amish fiction, then this book is a decent read.
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LibraryThing member myoldkyhome
Another great book by Beverly Lewis. I enjoy her books so much. There's a little different slant to this book than the usual. This time Lewis takes us through the perspective of an English person wanting to become Amish. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
LibraryThing member polarmath
Having read the other books in this series, I greatly enjoyed getting to read this one as well. It tells the story of Jennifer Burns leaving her English family and making the steps to join the Amish Church. It tells of how she adjusts and comes to really understand the ways of the Amish. Also the
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stories of other characters from previous books including Katie Lapp and her family. I received this book to review from Bethany House Publishers.
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LibraryThing member julie.billing
Advanced Reader Copy:
Interesting slant from Lewis this time, someone who wants to become Amish after growing up in the outside world. Good story and while I liked the characters I didn't think they had the depth that they usually do. I don't typically keep count but it seemed like there were more
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storylines than Lewis typically has and this may have spread the focus out a bit. Nonetheless, look forward to the next book.
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LibraryThing member wrbinpa
Jenny Burns was twenty five years old and still trying to fit in somewhere. She lived in an impressive Connecticut estate since she was a child. Jennie was accused of being straight out of the nineteenth century. The ideal world to Jenny was to live in a simple era, where people actually listened
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to each other - a gloriously peaceful world that was firmly grounded into the past. Jenny was willing to give up her worldly ways to follow her dreams and follow in the Amish tradition. Connecticut really didn't have any hold on Jenny and the Amish life would offer her more time to savor each moment, and grow as a child of God.

Jenny was off to peaceful Lancaster County, as an Amish Seeker, where she rented a bedroom from an Amish couple, Samuel and Rebecca Lapp. She abandoned her materialistic English world for this heaven on earth in Hickory Hollow. She was ready to give up her own wants and desires and yield to the way of the Plain people and to God. She was ready to embrace these unique people, with their noble way of life, the Amish of Lancaster County. And the story unfolds ---

While in Hickory Hollow, Jenny meets some young folk who are so curious about the modern world, perhaps trying to get out of their world. And here she was, trying to get into their simple life. Were they taking their plain heritage for granted? She was told that a person can live a simple lifestyle just about anywhere, but what was most important was a person's heart. As Jenny becomes involved with the daily domestic chores of being an Amishwoman she feels like a failure. Jenny develops a precious friendship with Andrew Lapp which grows into a tender romance and eventually discovers that a house becomes a home because of the people who live there.

Jenny faces many challenges throughout her stay at Hickory Hollow. Will she be strong enough to succeed in this simple lifestyle? Or, will she have to accept who she really is, not what she wishes she might have been? Jenny pursues a life built on a dream, but is it enough?

Taken from the book - A person grows best spiritually when exploring God's word, letting it get rooted and planted in the soil of the heart. There is no substitute for that for anyone, Plain or not.

It's been a few years since I've read a Beverly Lewis book and I'd forgotten the reading pleasure the books always give me. The Secret Keeper has a strong cast of characters that are beautifully portrayed and you'll absolutely love. The author has a unique style of good old fashioned story telling with a lovely setting that makes a delightful read. My rating is 4 stars.

I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through NetGalley for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.
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LibraryThing member bryantkeli
I love Amish stories AND Beverly Lewis and The Secret Keeper did not disappoint! It was fun to read about a woman who wants to become Amish and her journey to though; a nice difference from stories about people already Amish and their lives. Also, if you've read the fantastic Shunning series you
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get to see some familiar characters! Definitely recommend this one!
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LibraryThing member passionforbooks
I was carried away with the life of Jenny Burns. Would I freely give up everything I've ever known and my way of life to live "Plain?" Jenny is searching for a place where she truly fits in. Jenny feels her family doesn't understand her nor do they seem interested in her or anything she does. Would
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she dare leave the English world and try making it in the "Plain" world? A world she has always been fascinated with since she was a child?

The Author Beverly Lewis has spun a wonderful story. The characters in this book are not only likeable (well most of them) but they felt like friends of mine. I found myself yearning to live in Hickory Hollow with the Lapp's too.

I was swept away as I turned page after page waiting for what was coming next.

I love Beverly Lewis' books because they are so God centered. Not only is there prayers through-out this book but scripture is quoted too.

It is inspiring to read a good clean christian book. Thank you Beverly Lewis for your dedication to God.

I have read all of the Amish fiction books by this author. They just keep getting better and better! I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!
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LibraryThing member Moonpie72
This is the first book in this series I have read, but the story didn’t leave me missing anything from the previous books. Beverly Lewis is on my favorite authors list. I have never read one of her books I didn’t enjoy.
The story line was very different. While so many stories involve Amish who
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want to leave the life and become “Englishers”, this one is about an “Englisher” that to wanted to leave the world and become Amish!
From the time she was young, Jenny Burns had been drawn to the Amish faith. Everything about them and their way of life deeply touched her. The wealthy, materialistic, fast paced life of Jenny’s family always left her at odds with them and not fitting in. This made her long for the simple life even more.
After corresponding for many years with an Amish friend, Marnie, she met on vacation; she feels she is ready to make the move. She saves her money, sells her earthly possessions, and quits her job. Marnie arranges for her aunt and uncle, the Lapps, to welcome her into their home and help her during her year of “Proving”.
Being a “seeker”, someone from outside desiring to become a church member, the community meets her with distrust or open arms, there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. Jenny struggles to adapt, learning the language and all the skills she must have to be a true Amish woman. While she is very happy, she finds the way of life more difficult than she thought, but most of all her image of the Amish people being “perfect” is shattered. She finds they are just as human as she is.
Accidentally she stumbles on a secret of another’s that she would have to reveal when she joined the church or she would not be holding true to the Ordnung. That combined with her homesickness for her family, whom she never thought she’d miss nor would miss her, makes her begin to question if she can stay. She had grown to love the people and one young man in particular. What should she do? The ending has an unexpected twist!
I always enjoy the details about daily Amish life but this book gave me something extra. It looked not only into the hearts and minds of the Amish characters but also through the eyes someone outside of the faith seeing it from the inside for the first time. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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LibraryThing member jnut1
This was the 4th in the series and it could be considered a stand alone.

Jenny decides to become Amish and moves in with Rebecca and Samuel, as a seeker she is taken in by the community and taught their ways.

There are a lot of side stories in this book so you need to be paying attention.

There is
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one big occurrence that changes everything and I wonder if it is that easy but it made for a good read.

As in all of Beverly's books you find love, friendship, and God.
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LibraryThing member carladbrewer
I enjoyed this book. It was a different take on the traditional Amish book. Typically, Amish books tend to be set within the Amish community with an outsider as a temporary visit or a perspective solely contained within the community. Most commonly we see Amish who wish to leave the community to
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find life in the English world, and we see the struggle. In this book, it was an Englisher who chose to enter the Amish world on a permanent basis. This was an interesting twist and made for a good story. As always, this author knows her subject matter and provides solid characters.
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LibraryThing member ReadHanded
I've never read any other Beverly Lewis books, but I enjoyed this cute story of a woman trying to find her place in the world. It was interesting to read about the Amish culture and the difficulty of becoming part of that society. I also enjoyed the Christian message of the book, the romance, and
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the emphasis on the importance of family.
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LibraryThing member AnneSteph
Always a pleasure.
LibraryThing member JoyAnne
Book three in the Return To Hickory Hollow series is a delightful read about a young woman who wants to become Amish. This was a great storyline but I don't feel the author explored it well, Jenny didn't go through the struggles one would expect while adapting to their faith, especially submission
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and pride. To me those would be the hardest for an Englisher but Jenny didn't really have much of a struggle with either. She was accepted into the faith too easily.

Lewis is one of the best Amish fiction writers, I wish she had given us more suspense and day to day coping with such a different lifestyle. I give this 4 stars.

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award (Winner — Inspirational Romance — 2013)


Original language


Physical description

8.5 inches


0764209809 / 9780764209802
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