Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of Tricia Goyer’s “The Promise Box”

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The Promise Box

Every year, young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall.  They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!  In The Promise Box, the second book of best-selling author Tricia Goyer’s Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series, Lydia Wyse, a book editor from Seattle who grew up Amish, returns to the small community of West Kootenai to give comfort to her father after her mother’s death.  She is drawn back to the familiar Amish ways after finding her mother’s most precious possession, a Promise Box of prayers and scripture.  What her publisher sees, though is an opportunity for a sensational ‘tell-all’ book about the Amish.  Lydia soon finds herself falling in love with Amish bachelor Gideon Hooley.  She wants nothing more than to forget her past and look forward to a future as an Amish bride.  But will the pain of her childhood—and her potential betrayal of her community—keep her from committing her whole heart?


Each of Trish Goyer’s latest novels I read is better than the last, and I marvel at how she can do that!  The Promise Box is no exception – it is my favorite so far of her series “Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors.”

Lydia and Gideon’s story has a sad beginning.  Lydia Wyse, adopted by Amish parents at birth, left that upbringing to enter the English world and became a book editor in Seattle.  She returned home to West Kootenai, Montana upon the death of her mother to care for her dat during the funeral and for an unplanned time afterward.  Gideon Hooley, an Amish bachelor who has come to the community temporarily for the hunting season, which is a popular draw of young Amish bachelors to learn the skills of this sport.  Gideon has ghosts of his own from the past that haunt and puzzle him.  He hopes to find answers in the town of what happened there years before while his family visited and a tragedy involving Gideon occurred of which he has no memory.

These young folks had an eventful and humorous meeting which kindled Gideon’s mistrust of Lydia’s English appearance and snapping pictures (not Amish approved) of him while he was in a horse training session with Blue, an untempered equestrian beauty.  There were definitely sparks – some of anger, while some were instant attraction between the two.  Gideon did not know who Lydia was, and that she was also taking pictures of her home in the background and familiar scenes to her.

Ms Goyer’s story is extremely emotional and heart rendering.  Lydia struggles with a decision about returning to the Amish life, being accepted and not shunned by the community, and wanting to clear up the mystery surrounding her adoption.  She yearns to be a writer and considers the notion of writing about her returning to the Amish faith.  She fights temptation from her Seattle editor and friend who encourages her in this respect.  Life is full of unknowns and uncertainties for Lydia and Gideon.  Both young people are caught in the time of their lives when their choices could alter their lives destructively.

Personally, I can relate to the adoption issue for Lydia because I have three adopted children, now grown.  I cheered and thanked God for Lydia’s mem’s box full of God’s promises and letters to Lydia.  Will Lydia find her way through her mem’s words and confidences?  How about Gideon…can he express his love and possibly marry an Englisher?  Are they the mates God has chosen for each other?  What will happen to dat if Lydia chooses not to stay and care for him?  Will Lydia learn who her birth parents are?  What will Gideon do about finding the answers to the mystery in his life?  Will pain heal?

The sub-title for Trish Goyer’s Promise Box might have been The Englisher and the Horse Whisperer.  Trish writes a wonderful story with much depth on each page.  It is realistic for today’s world concerning Amish communities and lifestyle.  Pay close attention to the answers God graces Lydia and Gideon with during their confusion and hunt for reasons to turn their lives completely to Him.  Trish Goyer is a strict master author on God’s interventions and I admire her own faith.  She is indeed an artist at painting God’s word into her writings.

So, for the answer to all the questions above, you will not hear the answers from me.  You’ll need to get the book on your own and read, read, read.  Oh, don’t forget the tissues while reading.  And….this is only Book Two, so far, and I’m watching for Book Three to see how she could possibly write a better story than The Promise Box!


Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is a busy mom of six, grandmother of one, and wife to John. Somewhere around the hustle and bustle of family life, she manages to find the time to write fictional tales delighting and entertaining readers and non-fiction titles offering encouragement and hope. A bestselling author, Tricia has published thirty-three books to date and has written more than 500 articles. She is a two time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by Tricia is also on the blogging team at, and other homeschooling and Christian sites.

In addition to her roles as mom, wife and author, Tricia volunteers around her community and mentors teen moms. She is the founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries in Northwestern Montana, and she currently leads a Teen MOPS Group in Little Rock, AR. Tricia, along with a group of friends, recently launched, sharing ideas about simplifying life. She also hosts the weekly radio podcast, Living Inspired. Learn more about Tricia at



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