How does this book fit into the larger picture of the Promise Lodge series?
Light Shines on Promise Lodge is the fifth and final book in the series. Readers have been so adamant about seeing more Promise Lodge stories, however, that my editor might agree to more stories in this series after I complete the series I’m currently writing!
What themes or characters tie the books together?
My books almost always deal with Old Order women who behave more independently than what’s considered allowable in very conservative Amish settlements—and the men at Promise Lodge must often adjust their patriarchal attitudes to win these ladies’ hearts! From the first book, Promise Lodge, the series has featured three sisters—Mattie, Christine, and Rosetta—who sold their farms to buy the abandoned campground, Promise Lodge (which is really pushing the envelope for Amish women) and who eventually found wonderful men to marry.
As the series has progressed, the second generation’s stories have been told, so the series has a family saga feel to it. Promise Lodge itself is almost a character in this series, and many readers tell me they would love to go there and live!
Tell us about Phineas and Annabelle. What about these two people made you want to tell their story?
I wanted to explore that question about whether there’s such a thing as an unforgiveable sin. In the previous book, New Beginnings at Promise Lodge, Annabelle has found her way to Promise Lodge because her husband, Phineas, has abandoned her and the Amish faith. This leaves her with no means of support—and no way to remarry, because the Amish don’t allow divorce.
To her new friends, she paints a picture of the very stern, judgmental husband she’s spent her adult life with, to the point we believe she’s better off without him. When Phineas finds her, demanding that she come with away with, nobody at Promise Lodge wants her to forfeit her own faith and be stuck in such a marriage again.
Phineas, however, undergoes a major transformation because Bishop Monroe and the others at Promise Lodge are willing to be more loving and flexible than the Old Order leaders who caused him to abandon the Amish faith earlier.
So many romances are about single people coming together—but this is about reconciliation between married (albeit estranged) husband and wife. What inspired you to write a romance with this angle?
I wanted the challenge of writing a story about a relationship that appears irreconcilable and making it flourish again. I often write about Amish characters who’ve been widowed and find a second romance, so this book took that theme up a notch. It felt very satisfying to watch Annabelle and Phineas behaving like newlyweds again at the end of the story, as their new friends at Promise Lodge helped them move forward and find a new forever home where Phineas would be accepted for who he is.
Click thru to find out how Charlotte writes about the Amish!