Today Wednesday Writers Welcomes back Kelly Irvin. Kelly will be talking about setting in her book Amish romance The Beekeeper’s Son. Here’s a quick blurb to whet your appetite for Kelly’s newest book.
The Beekeeper’s Son
Phineas King knows better than to expect anything but shock and pity wherever he shows his face. Horribly scarred from the van accident that claimed his mother’s life, he chooses to keep his distance from everyone, focusing his time and energy on the bees his family raises. If no one sees him, no one can judge him. So why does he start finding excuses to seek out Deborah Lantz, the beautiful new arrival in town?
Deborah can’t get out of Bee County, Texas, soon enough. Once her mother and younger siblings are settled, she is on the first bus out of this dusty town. She is only waiting on the letter from Aaron, asking her to return to lush Tennessee to be his fraa. But that letter never comes. As she spends time getting to know Phineas—hoping to uncover the man beneath the scars—she begins to realize that she no longer minds that Aaron hasn’t sent for her.
As both Deborah and Phineas try to come to terms with lives that haven’t turned out the way they imagined, they discover that perhaps Gott’s plans for them are more extraordinary than they could have dreamed. But they need to let go of their own past sorrows and disappointments to find the joy and beauty that lies just ahead for them both.
Amish in Texas sounds interesting, Kelly. So, let’s hear more about the setting in this book.
Setting is more important in The Beekeeper’s Son than in any previous book I’ve written. So much so that I began to think of it as a character in my story. The setting defines my heroine’s struggle and it sets the stage for the theme, which came to me after my first visit to Bee County, home of the only Amish district in Texas.
South Texas is dry, has rocky soil, lots of cacti and scraggly mesquite and live oak trees. It’s not like the typical northern, green farmland readers are accustomed to seeing in Amish fiction. What’s more, the Amish district here in Texas does nothing to enhance their surroundings. They don’t paint their houses or plant pretty flowers in their gardens. Most of us would wonder why they don’t make more of an attempt to spruce up the place. I did.
My heroine, Deborah Lantz, has just move to Bee County from Tennessee and she’s not happy about it. She misses her home and the man she thought would one day be her husband. Her new district’s homes are weather beaten and need a coat of paint. The landscape is barren and full of cacti and scraggly trees. It looks downright ugly to her. After Deborah meets Phineas King, a young man with a scarred face and even more scarred heart, she’s forced to look at beauty from God’s perspective and not the world’s.
This theme of God’s beauty being different from what the world thinks of as beautiful became clear to me after a few visits to Bee County. I couldn’t understand how the Amish folks living there could be so oblivious to the need to spruce up things in their little community. Why didn’t they clean up the junkyard next to the Combination Store? Why didn’t they paint their houses? It came to me as I drove home after a second or third trip. Outward trappings aren’t important to them. They have scant resources and they have to prioritize how they use them. Life has to be extremely difficult, trying to make a living from the land in such a barren place. How dare I judge them based on what I think is pretty or important? Me in my shiny new car, rolling home to my nice home and good paying job? I was judging them by the world’s standards for beauty, not God’s. He created Bee County and south Texas, just as he created the beautiful idyllic scenes a person sees in Lancaster County.
My hope is that The Beekeeper’s Son will cause readers to give some thought to how they define beauty and whether God sees beauty in them and their attitude toward others.
Thanks for joining us today, Kelly. If you haven’t read Kelly’s author interview from last year, be sure and hop over that page to learn more about this author.
Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest Housing Publishing.
The Beekeeper’s Son is the first book in the Amish of Bee County series, for Zondervan/HarperCollins. She has also penned two inspirational romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years. They have two young adult children, one gorgeous new granddaughter, two cats, and a tank full of fish. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories and read books by her favorite authors.
Contact Kelly at:
@Kelly_S_Irvin on Twitter