On the day before her Amish parents' twentieth wedding anniversary, Sylvia Miller stumbles across the key to the old brass tinderbox her father keeps in his Lancaster County watch repair shop. Piqued by curiosity, Sylvia unlocks the cherished heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life. Once Sylvia overcomes her shock, she confronts her father about the contents of the box. To her amazement, the respected convert to the Old Order admits that he is not fit to be a member of the Hickory Hollow Amish church--in fact, he never was. Burdened by the weight of his deception, Earnest Miller reveals the details about his past to Sylvia--and to his wife, Rhoda. The long-kept secret alters everything for the close-knit family, and when word of Earnest's deceit reaches others in the community, the truth pits Amish neighbors against one another and threatens to dry up Earnest's livelihood--as well as to break up Sylvia's engagement to the preacher's grandson. Can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness and acceptance?
When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request--that she look up a relative she didn't know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos--seems like it isn't worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time. At her great-aunt's 150-year-old farmhouse, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.
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