Thank you Vanetta for visiting our blog today and for so generously giving away a copy of Joshua’s Mission to one lucky winner!
*What’s your favorite book by Vanetta Chapman? Tell us in your comment and you will be entered for a chance to win a copy of Joshua’s Mission. Winner will be announced on February 4th!*
This is the second book and Ms. Chapman’s Plain and Simple Miracles series, but is easily a standalone.
I loved the different but cohesive storylines that Ms. Chapman has written in this book.
The characters are so real and the setting of both the farmlands of Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast of Texas made this an interesting and enjoyable book.
This was the first novel that I’ve read that had so much information on the Mennonite Disaster Services which is paramount to the storyline.
It also brings Joshua and his brother Alton along with other members in the community to offer aid to those effected by the hurricane. One of my favorite characters in this book is Becca Troyer. She’s a sweet, kind young lady, but she has such strength.
Joshua’s Mission is much more than the helping hand the Amish extend to this English community. It’s also where some of the characters find the path they are meant to take in life. It’s a story of faith, love and new beginnings.
If you are looking for a well written novel, this is one you’ll definitely want to read.
I received a copy of this book from the author and was not required to give a positive review.
Thank you Vanetta for visiting our blog today and sharing so much with us. We also appreciate that you are giving away one copy of Joshua’s Mission to one lucky winner!
Joshua’s Mission – Setting: Port Aransas, Texas
Thank you for inviting me to visit your blog today. I’m very excited about the release of Joshua’s Mission (2-1-16), which is book 2 in my Plain & Simple Miracles series. The Amish characters in this book live in Cody’s Creek, Oklahoma. That’s a fictional town, but it’s based on Chouteau, Oklahoma, which is east of Tula.
The bulk of the action happens at Port Aransas, Texas. In my story, a category 4 hurricane hits the gulf and pretty much levels the town. Then volunteers start arriving, all sorts of people from near and far, and among those volunteers are my smallish group of Amish who are serving with Mennonite Disaster Services.
Basics about Port Aransas. Port A is the only town on Mustang Island, and is located across the bay from Corpus Christi. There are approximately 3,500 residents in the town, though there are a lot more during summer tourist season. The University of Texas Marine Science Institute is also located here.
Past hurricanes. Port A has sustained hurricane damage in the past. The 1916 hurricane destroyed nearly everything. There have been other hurricanes to hit the area, including Carla in 1961 and Celia in 1970.
Visiting. I had a wonderful time visiting the Port A area. We went in October, so there wasn’t a lot of tourists, but there was still plenty to do. And yes, it was warm enough to swim. We walked up and down the beaches, visited local restaurants, spoke to the museum curator, stopped by city hall, and interviewed at length one of the local realtors. Everyone was very helpful, and everyone we spoke to said it’s not a matter of IF there will be another hurricane, but WHEN. They are doing their best to raise building codes and of course have very detailed evacuation plans. We also went out on a tour boat that took us around the bay. The crew caught a net full of fish which they let us see and touch before throwing them back in. (Yes, this a scene in the book).
Truth vs fiction. Much of what you will read in Joshua’s Mission has already happened. The actual hurricane scenes are from my imagination, but I used firsthand accounts of past hurricanes to make them plausible. The Tarpon Inn and giant shark exist in the downtown area, and the tour boat is exactly as I describe it – right down to the man who handled the fish having only one arm (see picture). This guy was amazing.
MDS. The heart of this story is about how people help one another and how they fall on their faith in difficult times. My husband has worked with Mennonite Disaster Services in central Texas, where they have shown up to help many times. The scenes I depict of MDS volunteers rebuilding are fictional, but I interviewed MDS administrators as well as read their book describing their organization.
Additional reading. If these subjects interest you, I highly recommend the following books:
- Mennonite Disaster Service, by Brenda D. Phillips.
- Images of America: Port Aransas, by J. Guthrie Ford and Mark Creighton
- 1919 The Storm, by Murphy Givens and Jim Moloney
Now I’d love to hear from you. Have you ever visited the Texas coast? If not, tell me your favorite beach or vacation spot.
Bio and Links
Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather’s birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her novel, Falling to Pieces, was a 2012 ACFW Carol Award winner for best mystery. Chapman was a teacher for 15 years and currently writes full time. She lives in the Texas hill country with her husband.