The award-winning author of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill and The Honeybee Sisters series, Jennifer Beckstrand has always been drawn to the faith and enduring family ties of the Plain people. Her latest novel is the Amish romance Home on Huckleberry Hill (Zebra Books): Huckleberry Hill’s irrepressible eighty-something matchmakers Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again—and this time, they’re willing to rough it to get the job done. In this interview, Jennifer explains the theme of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series, shares how she writes about the Amish, and pinpoints why Amish romances are so popular…
Jennifer, Home on Huckleberry Hill is the ninth book in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. What’s the overarching theme or connection for the series?
Anna and Felty Helmuth are well into their eighties, but they’re not about to slow down or take life easy. They’ve taken on the monumental task of making matches for all their eligible grandchildren. After all, young people can’t be trusted to find their own suitable mates.
Anna and Felty are persistent and a little hard of hearing, so protests from victims—er, grandchildren—fall on deaf ears. No one can resist Anna’s schemes or one of her homemade potholders.
Without spoiling anything, what happens in this new book?
Home on Huckleberry Hill is different from anything I’ve written before because the hero and heroine are already married to each other. Mary Anne Neuenschwander has fallen out of love with her husband, Jethro, but because the Amish don’t believe in divorce, Mary Anne moves into a tent in the woods behind the house.
When Anna and Felty get wind of Mary Anne’s living situation, they decide that if they want to get Mary Anne and Jethro back together, they’ll have to plan a little camping trip of their own.
How do you write about the Amish in a way that’s accurate?
I’ve done a lot of research on the Amish, and I have friends in Amish country who are always willing to answer my questions. Every Amish community is different, so I try to make my books reflect the customs of the area I’m writing about.
What is it about Amish romances that makes them so popular?
I think Amish romances take people back to a simpler time without electronics and the trappings of the modern world. My readers know that when they pick up one of my books, they won’t get any bad language, violence, or sex. They also like the messages of faith and family that are a big part of Amish romance.
What do you hope readers take away after reading Home on Huckleberry Hill?
I hope readers learn that it’s never too late to fix a mistake and that forgiveness frees and empowers us. Love will always find a way if we’ll open our hearts to it.
Visit Jennifer Beckstrand’s author page:
Home On Huckleberry Hill
Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill #9