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Customer Reviews for Kregel Publications The Bargain: A Novel - eBook

Kregel Publications The Bargain: A Novel - eBook

It's 1971, and betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When her parents decide to leave the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen -year-old sister Sally feel abandoned. Left to fend for themselves under the dubious guidance of a nearly deaf aunt, the girls keep their parents' secret as long as possible, hoping they'll return before anyone learns the truth--a truth that will end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charlie Yoder.

Average Customer Rating:
4.727 out of 5
4.7
 out of 
5
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11 out of 11100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Review 1 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 19, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.
When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.
Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.
Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?
My Review:
This book was an absolute disaster for the characters! Reed takes a train wreck of a bargain and makes it a heck of a good story. The best way to describe this story is That 70's Show meets the Amish. I felt so bad for Betsie throughout the story, especially with how heartbroken she was when her parents bailed on the only life she knew. And when it came down to either marry the man she was supposed to wed, or forever live a life she was never meant to have, she has no idea which one is the right choice. A well written novel that reads like nothing else out there in the genre, colorful, vibrant, and a dynamic piece of fiction.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 2 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

VERY GOOD

Date:January 13, 2014
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birdie
Location:Apple Valley MN
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
As all of your books, this one was very good and one you cannot put down.
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Review 3 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unusual Amish Fiction

Date:November 17, 2013
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ruthhill74
Location:Yelm, WA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I am an incredible fan of Amish fiction, but I do hold it to a somewhat high standard. While I may jump at the chance to review an Amish fiction book, I do expect the story to be well-written, and the Christian message needs to be clear. I do not intend to read the same story over and over again. I am somewhat reticent when reading an author is new to me in the genre, and sometimes I am disappointed.
Not so with Stephanie Reed! I have never read a historical Amish fiction book, but I think that is the best way to describe this. I was even more pleased to read that the author had loosely based this story on a real life person. There is nothing better than that! The story was well-written, and she always kept the reader guessing as to what the next step in the story might be. She even left the story somewhat open-ended at the conclusion which leaves the option of a sequel (I hope so!). I have never read a story of someone leaving the Amish, and I was amazed to read about some of the more disconcerting beliefs associated with this faith.
The Christian message is strong in this novel. I have never seen potential fallacies of Amish belief stated so clearly in a book, and it truly made me realize that although I could never be Amish because of lifestyle, I don't think I could ever espouse their belief system. I also realize and accept the fact that it does depend on the Amish community as to what exactly is believed. Regardless, the Amish people tend to be way too legalistic for me, and that was true back in the 1970's, too.
I recommend this very different kind of Amish book to my readers. It is an easy read, and I believe it will make you consider your own faith, belief system, and what is truly important in this world.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
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Review 4 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Story Ended Too Soon

Date:October 27, 2013
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Tammi
Location:maine
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Set in 1971, The Bargain introduces the reader to Betsie Troyer, a young Amish women, who is living in both the Amish and "English" worlds. Why? Because her cousin Nelson bought a Harness shop, but was drafted into the Army before he could learn the business. Nelson therefore asks Betsie to learn the business in order to teach it to him when he returns.
In Betsie's Amish world her parents have turned their back on their Amish faith after they learned the truth of Romans 10:9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Leaving her and her sister Sadie trying to figure out how to convince them to return to their community and their Amish faith.
In her English world she lives with the Sullivan Family, while she is learning the business. She finds her bishop's advice to spend as little time as possible with them nearly impossible, especially as she gets to know them.
I found the main characters easy to like, but my heart went out to the Sullivan's son, Michael. Michael was a witness to the Kent State shooting, which resulted in him withdrawing further into the 1970's peace culture. His attitude and outside appearance, masked his broken and searching heart. As a result his relationship with his father was strained, mainly because their personalities were so different. His father loved him but just didn't know how to relate to him.
Shelia Sullivan is another character that captured my heart. She is eleven years old and full of joy. Even when her and Michael's mother abandons the family to pursue an acting career.
Gerald Sullivan is the patriarch of the family. He has a good heart, and is trying to keep his family together, but when things spiral out of control his temper flares. This results with words being said that he regrets and relationships needing to be repaired.
I found myself drawn into the story, and didn't want to put it down. The reality of what the early 1970's were like was clear...the America of the 1950's, and early 1960's had disappeared. The Vietnam War both tore families apart and drew them together, as parents and their children navigated through those turbulent times.
The Bargain is the first book in The Plain City Peace series, isn't a stand-alone because Stephanie Reed doesn't bring the story to a neat and tidy conclusion; which left me wanting more... now I'll patiently wait for book two to find out what happens next. Or maybe not so patiently...
**The Bargain by Stephanie Reed was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 5 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Amish fiction with a different twist

Date:October 26, 2013
Customer Avatar
Carole Jarvis
Location:Jonesboro, Georgia
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
In The Bargain, Stephanie Reed has written a different type of Amish fiction, one where the main character is placed in the English world, living with a dysfunctional family and working in a harness shop. Opposites in both character personalities and cultures make for an interesting read.
The story is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam years. Having been a graduate school student in 1971, I can vividly recall the unrest, tension and heartbreak of that era and I think Stephanie did an excellent job creating a realistic feel of the time.
Betsie is struggling to deal with her parents' leaving the Amish church in order to become followers of Christ, and Stephanie brings out an element of the Amish faith that is often hidden in fiction. Betsie reflects: "Joining the Amish church and keeping every rule in the Ordnung, that was the surest way to maybe go to heaven someday. . . . But even the Amish couldn't know which place they were going to end up in until they stood in front of the good Lord Himself and He revealed it. It was prideful to believe otherwise." But Betsie's parents had read the Scriptures for themselves and sought freedom in Christ. Betsie's Dat wants her to understand why they made the decision to leave and to come with them. "Do you want to know what true wickedness is?" he asks. "It's teaching people that they can't be sure of their salvation before their time on this earth is up."
Michael, a college dropout, is a troubled young man, greatly affected by the Kent State shootings on a day when he was walking to class. "They died, but I'm still here. And I don't understand why. Because apparently I escaped death solely so I could be drafted and sent to Vietnam to die." Betsie and Michael gradually form a friendship, maybe because they each sense a need in the other. And I loved the humor in the scene where Betsie uses her sewing skills to "repair" Michael's torn hippie jeans.
I'm not always a fan of storylines where an Amish character is thrust into the English world, but Stephanie did a good job at creating an unusual story that goes beyond traditional Amish fiction. She also gives some deep and thought-provoking questions at the end, perfect for group discussion.
The Bargain is the first book in the Plain City Peace series - and while it reaches a satisfactory conclusion, it's obvious there is much more to come. I believe fans of Amish fiction will enjoy this novel.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 6 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Astranged Families

Date:October 17, 2013
Customer Avatar
MaureenT
Location:Syracuse NY
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
The Bargain, it is between Betsie and her cousin Nelson. He is acquiring a harness shop, but with the Vietnam War on is drafted and is station at a Chicago hospital for two years. They are both Amish, and now she is stepping outside the box and learning a male trade to help her cousin. He bought the business from Mr Sullivan, and she will be living with some English during the week.
Yes, this is a very unusual story, but according to the Author, it is loosely based on a real person. We are in the midst of the civil unrest that hit this country during this war. We meet Charley who was at Kent State the day the world changed for a lot of young people.
Charley is now a changed young man, and we deal with the dysfunction that is going on in the Sullivan home. We also see God trying to work on Betsie, to make her come to him and accept her salvation. Her parents have found their way to God and want so much for their children to come.
I am so glad that this book is continued....I want to spend more time with Betsie and her family, and hopefully the Sullivan. Enjoy a totally different Amish story.
I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
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Review 7 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Something different in the Amish Genre.

Date:October 16, 2013
Customer Avatar
Foster3
Location:Ontario, Canada
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I must say, that I was delighted to have in my hands, an Amish fiction book, by an author of whom I had never heard. New authors are always of interest- you just never know when you will find someone with outstanding, creative talent. Yes, sometimes, the books are a disappointment, but I am always willing to give someone a try! This book was a pleasure to read and review. NOT your typical Amish tale! No Englischer coming into the community to influence and fall in love with a naive Amish female! Yes, romance played a part, but the book involved so much more. The time frame of this story was also quite different from the norm- it took place during the Vietnam war. The intertwining twists and turns in the plot enhanced the already interesting story, keeping you wondering, guessing and yes, even worrying, about what would happen next. My predictions were certainly not correct! The author did an excellent job of holding your attention compelling the reader to continue reading to the END of the book, in order to figure out all of the answers to questions that arise during the reading. The BEST part is, that this first book in the series, "Plain City Peace", although having a satisfying ending, leaves you wanting more!! Yes, I can hardly wait for Book Two!! I still have questions! Hope that Stephanie read answers some of them in the next in the series.
The characters, all clearly described, had unique and sometimes slightly quirky personalities. They were easy to identify with, and realistic in their actions. When I have felt the emotions of at least one of the characters in a story, then, I know that it is a GOOD book!! My emotions went from high to low in a few chapters. There was just the correct amount of tension, worry, frustration, to make these people true to life.We all have these in our worlds, whether Amish or not!! Just because they are the Plain People, doesn't mean they experience a totally peaceful life, with no worries or problems. Reality strikes this family in a very big way.
There is a very definite message in this book. But, I will keep you guessing!! It is evident that we need God in our lives and Stephanie makes us see this in a most unusual way - at least not typical of the Amish genre.
A five star book!!!
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Review 8 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Such a cool book!

Date:October 13, 2013
Customer Avatar
Sufficient in Jesus
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"Gritty" "Authentic" and "Can't wait for the next volume!" are not words I have ever used to describe an Amish novel.
There are two explanations for this phenomena: One is that I came up with that when I wasn't around, the other is that I just met an extraordinary book whose heroine happens to wear a bonnet.
It is the latter. The Bargain, book one in The Plain City Peace series is now a serious competitor for my Favorite Fall Read of 2013.
Our leading lady, Amish girl Betsie, views the upheaval of the American 1970's with wise-beyond-her-years eyes.
She is the perfect protagonist for us to examine the big themes through her perspective, and her religion set in contrast with what appeared to be an "anything goes" 70's culture, raises a ton of questions.
In the middle of Amish morality, carefully maintained and set down as the community's laws, Betsie's parents have become Christians.
They now know the One who died for them, who set them free from trying to keep a set of laws that cannot save them. They now follow the Lord who set them free instead to live in purity and grace out of Love, because of Love.
Betsie cannot understand why they would make this terrible mistake and leave the religion they were raised in. And Betsie and Sadie, her sister, will not follow their mother and father out into the world of the English... not to stay.
Betsie's time with the English is going to be strictly business, living with an English family so that she can temporarily take her cousin Nelson's place as their harness shop apprentice. She will keep her distance from the family members and will not, according to Amish tradition, even speak to customers by herself. Instead she will diligently fill a notebook with all that Nelson needs to know, and hope that he can come back soon and take his rightful place.
{See that notebook she's clutching in the cover illustration? That's the one!}
But Betsie never thought that she would walk into the Sullivan home and they would turn out to be people, with their own struggles and fears and with their own longings for family.
You will be delighted as Betsie meets Sheila, the daughter. Suddenly Betsie has a cheerful little girl befriending her, a girl who wants to be involved in the wholesome work and pleasures like helping to wash dishes and make cookies.
And she meets the owner of that yellow Super Bee car you see on the cover. Michael.
I found myself really liking this kid.
He's comical one moment and dead serious the next.
A wounded rebel, Michael wants to stand for something in a world that is falling for everything. He is the epitome of a young man trying to find himself, set adrift in a sea of philosophies that the world is offering him, unsure where the Northern star of absolute truth has gone.
He's a poet inside and a cynic to the world.
Ravi Zacharias would love to meet this young man.
Michael reminds me of this quote from Mr. Zacharias:
“In the 1950s kids lost their innocence.
They were liberated from their parents by well-paying jobs, cars, and lyrics in music that gave rise to a new term ---the generation gap.
In the 1960s, kids lost their authority.
It was a decade of protest---church, state, and parents were all called into question and found wanting. Their authority was rejected, yet nothing ever replaced it.
In the 1970s, kids lost their love. It was the decade of me-ism dominated by hyphenated words beginning with self.
Self-image, Self-esteem, Self-assertion....It made for a lonely world. Kids learned everything there was to know about sex and forgot everything there was to know about love, and no one had the nerve to tell them there was a difference."
That is Michael. A young man the Lord can mightily use, Michael just needs to be introduced to Jesus.
Oh, how I am waiting for the sequel! Hurry, Please!
Thank you Litfuse for this book!
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Review 9 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 10, 2013
Customer Avatar
debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.
When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.
Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.
Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?
My Review:
This book was an absolute disaster for the characters! Reed takes a train wreck of a bargain and makes it a heck of a good story. The best way to describe this story is That 70's Show meets the Amish. I felt so bad for Betsie throughout the story, especially with how heartbroken she was when her parents bailed on the only life she knew. And when it came down to either marry the man she was supposed to wed, or forever live a life she was never meant to have, she has no idea which one is the right choice. A well written novel that reads like nothing else out there in the genre, colorful, vibrant, and a dynamic piece of fiction.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 10 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An Amish woman gets more than she bargained for!

Date:October 7, 2013
Customer Avatar
Heart2Heart
Location:Victorville, CA
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"The problem with the English is that everyone wants to lead. No one wants to submit to authority." ~ Betsie's Journal
Imagine a novel where an Amish woman makes a bargain with her cousin and winds up experiencing what life is like for an English family in the 1970's. That is just the premise for the latest novel by author Stephanie Reed, The Bargain, her first novel in the Plain City Peace series.
Betsie Troyer has made a bargain with her cousin Nelson to mind the harness shop while he agreed to serve in the Chicago military hospital without being drafted for two years. The arrangement would include her living with the Sullivans, an English family during her apprenticeship, while her own parents have agreed to leave behind their Amish way of life and heading to Belle Center, Ohio. They have agreed to allow their children however, to make their own choices about whether to leave or stay behind. Betsie is more that convinced her parents are making the wrong decision.
She meets Michael Sullivan, a college drop out, hippie and the only son of the Sullivan's she is planning on working for when he arrives to pick her up for work in his yellow-jacket colored Super Bee. He lives in the small town of Hilliard and is prone to the typical emotional outbursts that were common for teens dealing with all the issues surrounding the time in which this novel takes place. He is moved to the peace movement and tries to teach Betsie some of the slang words of the English as she attempts her first visit to their local supermarket in order to fit in. She clearly doesn't have a clue to what she is saying or doing and finds herself at odds in how to fit in with this very different family.
She is befriended by Michael's younger sister, Shelia who is 12, who she teaches the value of hardwork in taking care of the house, which is being left by the wayside by the now newly liberated Phyllis Sullivan, Shelia's mom. The family is used to such modern conveniences like a dishwasher, washer, and dryer and the television which occupies the late night hours after dinner, which they are use to getting out of a box or by making a TV dinner which is clearly unheard of in Betsie's family.
What ensues along the way is a blending of two very different cultures and two very different types of people. There are some great humorous scenes like Betsie watching an episode of Gilligan's Island and isn't sure why a "good buddy" is being hit with a hat by another man all the time, or why Michael seems upset when Betsie fixes his blue jeans and removes all his patches to make him look less like a scarecrow and more like a respectable man. This is truly an example of an Amish woman who finds her way into That 70's show!
I received The Bargain by Stephanie Reed compliments of Kregel Publications and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed are mine alone. There are some great quotes that are included at each chapter opens from Betsie as she journals what her life is like now living among the English family. This one was truly a different kind of Amish fiction for me than I have ever experienced and gave me new insight into what life would have been like for someone so different trying to fit in during a unique time in American history. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and look forward to the next novel in this series.
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Review 11 for The Bargain: A Novel - eBook
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

a different tone of Amish novel

Date:September 22, 2013
Customer Avatar
Marianne
Location:Wanham, Alberta
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
What would you be willing to risk in order to follow your convictions? In the past and even today, people have left behind home and family, friends, employment for a better life. Or, if my family left all that they believed and the way they and their parents had lived, would I blindly follow? As I read The Bargain I had to think on this. This is a very different type of Amish story than most of those I have read, coming at it from the daughters whose parents left the Amish way of life. Although I have never been in this situation, nor has anyone that I know, Stephanie was able to make this personal and instead of telling me the story, she somehow managed to involve me as surely as if it was my own family. This also explains the difference in the Amish lifestyle that goes beyond the dress the very obvious things we see such as mode of travel and lack of electricity and electronics. Those who find that most books on the shelves these days are about the Amish and are looking for a change will find this refreshing, and those who love those same novels will be happy to add this to their collection.
I received this book as an advance reading copy from Amy at Litfuse Publicity Group and Kregel Publishers in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. These opinions are my own.
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