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The Pocket Quilt #1

Pockets of Promise

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Mariah Mast’s best friend Josiah Weaver has concentrated his efforts on providing for their future together, but on her eighteenth birthday, Mariah finds herself edging away from Josiah and her faith. An encounter with police, a misunderstanding of intentions, and hurt feelings compound her confusion. Her grandmother sends her to stay with an aunt in Pinecraft and gives her a pocket quilt with handwritten messages tucked inside.

Thrilled to have her help at the bed and breakfast, Aunt Birdie introduces Mariah to a group of new friends, including Luke Yoder, a young Amish man who works for his father’s construction company. Spending time with him opens up a new world for Mariah. Her grandmother’s words of wisdom offer guidance as she makes a decision that will have lasting consequences for those she loves. Will she find fulfillment in Florida? Or does her heart belong in Holmes County?

200 pages, Paperback

Published April 30, 2020

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Laurie Stroup Smith

3 books44 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie Schmidt.
Author 1 book341 followers
January 28, 2020
Charming, sweet, and entertaining, Laurie Stroup Smith's debut will leave warmth in your heart and a smile on your face! Mariah's journey to finding - and living out - her purpose is honest and relatable, and readers will enjoy peeking over her shoulder as she discovers the special words of wisdom from her grandmother. The smooth, easy flow of the author's writing style adds to everything I loved about this story. Laurie Stroup Smith is a delightful new voice in Amish fiction, and fans of the genre will want to add this to their must-buy list!
Profile Image for Shirley Chapel.
570 reviews74 followers
May 4, 2020
The first thing that attracted me to this book was the beautiful cover. There's just something so peaceful about front porches and rocking chairs! I checked the reviews and all were positive. I decided to attend the author's Facebook party where I learned she was a local to me writer from Cincinnati Ohio. I decided to give her Amish debut book a try and she didn't disappoint this reader.
Mariah Mast is an eighteen year old Amish girl in her rumspringa years. Off and on she has been courted by Josiah Weaver,who would like to settle down and marry her. Mariah has always been enticed by the English lifestyle and isn't sure she wants to join the Amish church or venture out into the world. She lets her friend Lydia Byler talk her into going with her to a few wild parties. After dark at one of those parties Mariah is escorted home by the police.
Mariah's Grandmother decides to gift her with a trip to Pinecraft Florida. She will stay with her Aunt Birdie who operates a Bed and breakfast there. Mariah will help her Aunt at the B&B and hopefully have time away from home to think and make some decisions about her future. She meets Luke Yoder and they spend a lot of time together as he shows her around the community. Before it's time for Mariah to return home Luke confesses that he is in love with her but she is more confused now about her feelings than before she left Ohio. Will she choose Josiah who she has known for years or Luke who she just met recently?
Before Mariah left Ohio her grandmother gifted her with a beautiful homemade Amish lap pocket quilt. Mariah finds notes of encouragement with verses of scripture tucked away in the pockets. She also confides her anxieties and confusions about Josiah and Luke to her Aunt Birdie. She prays to God asking for his guidance so she can obediently follow his will for her future. Will she stay in Florida or return to Ohio?
All readers of Amish Fiction will want to read this warm hearted book. Readers of Christian Fiction will enjoy it also. I recommend it for your reading pleasure.
I downloaded a Kindle ebook version of this book from Amazon. A favorable review was not requested. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,695 reviews74 followers
April 1, 2020
I enjoyed this fresh new author and her style of writing. This book was a fun read! I love books like these.
I wasn't sure what to expect but when I first opened the book I immediately fell in love with the main character Mariah.
I really enjoyed her life's journey.
I think my most favorite character was Grandma. I loved her words of wisdom and one such advice was,“A mistake here and there doesn’t make you a bad person. How you react after making a mistake matters more than what you did.”Thankfully, we can learn from our errors, as well as from those who have gone through similar experiences before us. A life lesson to be sure!
We all make mistakes that's for sure. I always say that we're a work in progress.
I felt like this was my own Grandma speaking to me.
Another favorite thing was the setting! Oh my heart! Smith has described Florida so well that I was actually there and I couldn't wait to see what great things will Mariah get into during her stay with Aunt Birdie.
A place I want to visit very much! I've never seen the Gulf or that area of Florida. I didn't want to come back home.
I gave this book 5 stars because I felt that this story was very much deserving. The flow of writing was smooth and had all the right feels that I love in a book.
The Quilt on the front is beautiful.
I highly recommend this beautiful book. You'll love it as much as I did!
My thanks for a complimentary copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Marilyn.
997 reviews
April 21, 2020
This debut book by Laurie Stroup Smith is a winner with the creativity of the story surrounding Mariah Mast discovering who and what she truly wanted in life. Her struggle with knowing if she wanted to be baptized into the Amish faith is realistic with teenagers today in every culture. A trip to Florida to assist an aunt with her bed and breakfast, a quilt from her Mammi filled with letters of her life just might be the answer along with meeting new friends and hearing their struggles. The scenes were picturesque and the dialogue easy to follow where I was right with Mariah and the other characters. There is a faith message for readers who especially enjoy that aspect in Amish fiction. I look forward to reading more books by this upcoming author.

I received a complimentary advance e-copy and was under no obligation to write a positive review. I have shared my own sincere thoughts.
Profile Image for Kailey.
618 reviews65 followers
April 11, 2020
Fans of Amish fiction will definitely want to check out Laurie Stroup Smith’s debut novel! This was so good! I love her fresh writing style. This story is so original! I loved Mariah and her family. I really enjoyed her story! This one is so good that I read it in one sitting! I can’t wait to read the next book! I highly recommend this book!!

I was given a complimentary copy of this ebook from the author, but was not required to write a review. The thoughts and comments are my own.
May 16, 2020
Laurie’s book is an excellent debut for Amish fiction lovers (or Christian fiction fans in general). I don’t typically read this genre, and I still loved this book enough to give it 5 stars. An excellent coming-of-age story that reminds me of life’s crossroads, seasons of self-doubt, and the beauty in listening to someone else’s wisdom. It gave me the ending I hoped for but was not guaranteed or predictable, which kept me turning pages.

I loved the grandmother’s lines: “A mistake here and there doesn't make you a bad person. How you react after making a mistake matters more than what you did." (SO powerful, and so true. This is really good advice that needs to be shared more.) "When you empty your cup, others may be filled. While it's not our job to fill the cups of others, it's our job to empty ourselves and trust God will meet the needs of others." Amen! :)
Profile Image for Leslie McKee.
Author 8 books57 followers
March 26, 2020
If you're a fan of Amish-themed novels, you'll want to check out this debut book and author! It's a charming, coming-of-age tale.

Mariah's struggles with trying to determine what she wants for her future ... as well as which man Gott has planned for her: friend and Amish man Josiah or Englischer Devin. She also has to decide if she's ready to be baptized and join the Amish church.

The author's characters are relatable and well-developed, and it's great to see Mariah's growth throughout the book. The setting and scenes are so detailed that the reader truly feels a part of the story. Like Mariah, I have a close relationship with my grandma, so those scenes between her and her grandmother were perhaps my favorites.

This is the first book in the series, and I look forward to reading upcoming books.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.
Profile Image for Vicky Sluiter.
Author 1 book75 followers
April 30, 2020
If you enjoy Amish fiction then you’ll want to grab a copy of author Laurie Stroup Smith’s debut novel. Stroup Smith writes a charming story about coming of age in the Amish world.

Pockets of Promise has characters that are very relatable. Don’t all young people struggle to find their place in life? They are depicted in an honest, yet heartwarming way that draws the reader in, as do the descriptions of Holmes County and Pinecraft.

I love the theme of the pocket quilt with letters tucked into the pocket. And what Amish book doesn’t include a recipe? I think you’ll love this story!

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
141 reviews3 followers
February 1, 2020
I enjoyed reading Pockets of Promise! It was a really good book! A few books I have read before, I can predict the ending, but Pockets of Promise was not like that at all! It was so good and really kept me guessing until the very end. I think the book flowed really well and I definitely recommend reading this book!
Profile Image for Sylvia.
1,579 reviews62 followers
June 8, 2020
I loved this book!! Great story!! Hope she writes more books!!
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,437 reviews59 followers
April 19, 2020
Pockets of Promise by Laurie Stroup Smith has Mariah Mast uncertain about her future. Mariah has just turned eighteen and is beginning to venture out to parties on her rumspringa. Josiah Weaver and Mariah grew up together. He has been her friend and protector since they were children. Josiah wants them to take the next step and begin courting. Mariah’s grandmother understands how she is feeling and plans a trip for Mariah to Pinecraft, Florida. She sends along a pocket quilt with inspiring handwritten notes. Mariah is thrilled for the opportunity and enjoys time with her Aunt Birdie. She makes new friends and meets a special young man. What choice will Mariah make about her future? Pockets of Promise is the first book in The Pocket Quilt series. I thought it was a charming story with engaging characters and two lovely locales. The author’s descriptions of Pinecraft and Siesta Key were spot on. I could envision Mariah taking in all the new sights courtesy of the descriptive writing. I found Pockets of Promise easy to read and with a smooth flow. I like the author’s conversational writing style that drew me into the story and kept me engaged. Mariah is just eighteen with a world full of choices. I could understand her uncertainty. Becoming baptized is a big decision and not one that can be undone without severe consequences. I loved the concept of a pocket quilt. Mariah’s grandmother (Mammi) provided Mariah with wisdom through her letters. My favorite saying from Pockets of Promise is “When we make mistakes, God uses these experiences to shape and mold us.” Mammi and Aunt Birdie were special characters who helped Mariah. Pockets of Promise is a story about friends, faith, family and the future. There is a recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge at the end of the book (yum). I cannot wait to read Pockets of Purpose, the second book in The Pocket Quilt series, which will feature Dixie Yoder. Pockets of Promise is a heartwarming story with a quaint quilt, a perplexing plight, a wealth of wisdom, a faithful family, warm weather, and a difficult decision.
Profile Image for Cathy Cermele.
720 reviews10 followers
April 24, 2020
Pockets of Promise is the impressive debut novel penned by Laurie Stroup Smith. If you have ever wanted to visit Florida’s gulf coast and the Amish/Mennonite community of Pinecraft, there’s no need to pack or bother with travel arrangements because the author takes her readers there on the pages of this book. A perfect get away for these times when most of us are at home anyway.

Mariah Mast is facing a dilemma as she decides if she wants to be baptized into the Amish faith or choose a different path. That’s a huge decision for any young person to make but it’s a little easier when her grandmother sends her to Pinecraft to stay with an aunt. I loved Aunt Birdie and the B&B, she is such a fun and sweet character. I liked that she encouraged Maria to enjoy her time there by introducing her friends closer in age to spend time with. I loved the time Mariah spent reading the handwritten notes that are tucked inside the pocket quilt given to her by her grandmother. I am blessed to own a couple of quilts but nothing as charming as a pocket quilt.

I lived in Florida for almost ten years, have visited Pinecraft and Sarasota and I felt like I was there again while reading the descriptive writing. The story flows at a nice pace, the characters are well developed and likable. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Pockets of Promise is a sweet novel that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages which is one of the reasons I highly recommend it.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are completely my own.
Profile Image for Pamela Pavkov.
1,214 reviews11 followers
June 6, 2020
Pockets of Promise is the first book written by Laurie Stroup Smith in The Pockets Quilt series. This was an amazing story to start out the series and is filled with family, love, and faith. The author has taken a great deal of time developing just the right characters to tell her story. Set mainly in Pinecraft Florida the author has given the reader very descriptive views if the area. The characters are likeable and realistic which draws the read into the story.

I was instantly drawn to Mariah Mast, a young Amish woman trying to find her path in life but keeps stumbling into trouble. Not knowing her heart well enough to make life changing decisions Mariah's grandmother surprises her not only with a vacation to Pinecraft but also with a quilt made with special pockets where she has placed notes and scripture to help guide her along her journey. As her vacation progresses Mariah is drawn toward a young Amish man who lives in Pinecraft making her confusion even more dramatic. When a terrible accident beakons her home Mariah now must make the decision to stay or return home.

I was not given a complimentary copy of this book to read and review. I was not expected to post a favorable response. I have rated this story with five stars for meeting my expectations of a wonderful story that I can highly recommend to others. This is my first book by this author and I look forward to more. All opinions are my own.

Congratulations to Laurie Stroup Smith on an excellent start to her series and I will be anticipating the next book to release.
April 29, 2020
This sweet and captivating story is the debut Amish novel for author
Laurie Stroup Smith. The main character, Mariah, is a young Amish woman in her “rumspringa” season of life. I liked how the author portrayed Mariah as both caring and considerate, but undecided as to whether to remain in her community and be baptized into the Amish church. I enjoyed following Mariah’s story as she discovered her heart’s true desires. Her grandmother’s letters served as guidance for Mariah, and included some wise advice for all of us.

I’m quite impressed with this author’s writing style, and will look forward to reading her next book in this series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Anne.
575 reviews92 followers
May 17, 2020
This book was recommended to me by a Goodreads friend since I love Amish romances and mysteries. It was such a sweet romance and story. A different kind of Rumspringa than most year hear about. I truly enjoyed the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone but especially those who like Amish fiction. I just loved the characters and learning about Marine life in Florida and the conservation efforts there. I always enjoy a book where I learn about something I didn't know about.
Profile Image for Dawn Teresa.
387 reviews20 followers
March 6, 2021
Amish fiction is a balm for the heart. So is the beach. With Pockets of Promise Laurie Stroup Smith combines the two to bless readers with a heartwarming coming-of-age journey of Mariah Mast, a young Amish woman in rumspringa.

Eager to please and searching for answers in the wrong places, Mariah makes some bad choices. She is ashamed when she’s escorted home by a police officer from a party where she and other teens had been drinking. Five years ago, she had already disappointed her father — and endured his six months of silence — when she chose to work at a friend’s hardware store rather than at her family’s bakery.

Alongside questioning whether she’ll decide to be baptized into the Amish Church, Mariah is also uncertain of her romantic future. Although her longtime friend Josiah has asked to court her, Mariah wonders if God might have something different and unexpected in mind. And when she looks for it in an Englisher, she finds heartbreak. More confused than rebellious, Mariah is searching for her path, one she can walk in her own way. Mariah’s grandmother understands her granddaughter needs a change of perspective and time and space to think. In her wisdom, Mammi knows: when life gets rough, head to the beach. So as a Christmas gift, she sends Mariah on a surprise trip to Pinecraft, Florida, where she’ll stay with her Aunt Birdie who runs a Bed & Breakfast.

During the long bus journey, Mariah opens a bag Mammi gave her to find a beautiful handmade lap quilt. Sewn into the quilt are fabric pockets, each containing a handwritten letter from her grandmother. In the first of seven such letters, Mammi shares her personal rumspringa experience with Mariah, as well as her own life-changing trip to Pinecraft.

In Pinecraft, Mariah enjoys serving others, meets new friends, and has fun, but instead of the answers she hoped to find, she ends up with more questions. Although Pockets of Promise contains romantic storylines, the real story is Mariah’s personal journey.

I was touched by Mammi’s letters, and the words found in those “pockets of promise” are the novel’s primary focus. Mariah reads the notes, one by one, at times when she’s missing home and needing direction. Her grandmother always has the right words at the right time, lending Mariah wisdom and unconditional love, while also giving hope and inspiration through Bible passages. Mariah learns valuable life lessons including that it’s not our mistakes that define us, but how we react to them. And that God places different people in our lives at different moments for different reasons.

In these little pockets, Laurie Stroup Smith has tucked away treasures. For through Mammi’s letters, readers are wrapped in the loving embrace of their own grandmothers and uplifted by God’s eternal promises.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict: 5 of 5 Hearts: In Her Heartwarming Debut, Laurie Stroup Smith Stitches Love and Faith onto a Coming-of-Age Story.

*I was provided a digital copy of the book by the author. My opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Karla.
306 reviews9 followers
May 24, 2022

Laurie Stroup has very quickly become one of my favourite authors of Amish fictionl. She has a unique stoirytelling talent that keeps one engaged in her story, from beginning to end. I was immediately drawn into the lives of Lydia, Wesley and Birdie , walking along side them in their journey of life , feeling their every challenge, hurt and joy. The characters were so vividly described that a reader can easily identify with them.

The sensitive topic of adoption was dealt with such understanding and care. This is so close to my heart, as we adopted our daughter. The decisions being made by Lydia hit close to home. Her confusion and broken heart were felt as if she was my best friend. Keeping the birth of a baby and the adoption a secret was dealt with in an extremely delicate and caring manner.

As a quilter, the idea of a Pocket Quilt appealed to me and left me with the desire to make more of them. I have made one for a cancer victim , however, now I feel that it is even more important to give others the gift of love .

I highly recommend this book to all readers, not just to those who love Amish fiction. It is unique in its tackling of delicate subjects. Although it can be read as a stand alone, I would suggest you read the first two in this series. The characters appear in all of the books. It becomes a meeting of old friends as you read.

A five star book!!!

Don't miss it!!

The feelings and thoughts expressed are honest and my own, I received this an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the author.

317 reviews10 followers
April 28, 2020
Laurie Stroup Smith's debut Amish fiction novel is a great addition to the genre. Pockets of Promise has a wide range of enjoyable characters and a very engaging story.

Mariah, the main character, struggles to find what she really wants and who she really is through her typical Amish setting in Holmes County, Ohio, some ventures into the outside English world, and a time of branching out into the more non-conventional Amish setting of Pinecraft, Florida. The connection with her grandmother through the special messages she finds in the pocket quilt is a very heartwarming and important part of her story. Following her as she learns and grows is a delightful experience.

I would highly recommend Pockets of Promise to fans of good Amish fiction. I look forward to more great reading as this series continues.

Thank you to the author for providing me a copy of this book as a part of this blog tour. I am happy to share my own thoughts in this review.
Profile Image for Cherese Akhavein.
354 reviews
May 10, 2020
This is the first book by Laurie Stroup Smith, Pockets of Promise, and I really hope it’s not the last we see of this new author.
In this addition we read about Mariah Mash’s story as she search’s to understand her life. Laurie Stroup Smith has done an amazing job at creating her characters, weaving the fabric, through the quilt and building the strong foundation so even during the darkest of times Mariah was able to See the wisdom through the words of faith passed down for generations from God with the help of her beloved Mammi, We just need to keep our faith and believe in him to know he has our best life planned if we only listen to those ever so small voices.
I truly enjoyed this book and really look forward to book two in this series (The Pocket Quilt Series) if your looking for a book to remind you that God always has a hand in your life than please pick up this book I know you will enjoy it.
Profile Image for Lucy.
909 reviews57 followers
June 6, 2020
What’s not to love about this debut from the rocking chair and quilt that invites you into the pages to the wisdom of grandma. Reading this makes me want a pocket quilt with wisdom from my granny. I found this story endearing and loved that Mariah was searching instead of settling for what was expected of her. I found myself engrossed in Mariah’s struggle and quickly turning pages to see what she choose. The book flowed easily like a brook on a lazy summer day. Pick up a copy and discover the new author on the block and you will find yourself looking forward to book two.
I won a complimentary copy at a book chat. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
72 reviews2 followers
July 4, 2021
Pockets Of Promise
Have you ever thought you love someone like Mariah Mast did Josiah Weaver. Than she went with some friends meant Dustin got in trouble with the law.She went to Florida to help her aunt in her B&B.She meets Luke.Than something happened she went home If you want to find out what happened to MariahJosiah ,Dustin, Luke.Get this great book and find out you won't want to put it down.Laurie Stroup Smith you have written a 5 star book
Profile Image for Barb Beechy.
198 reviews5 followers
June 21, 2020
This is very well written and a great story about love and how God shows us about Love.. Mariah Mast grandma was a very wise women, and her Aunt Birdie, my favorite character, was just as wise. This is a book for everyone..
Profile Image for Dawn.
494 reviews4 followers
July 30, 2021
Laurie is a new author for me. Pockets of Promise is a wonderfully written book instills in us that love makes the heart grow fonder and what you will be missing. I loved Mariah's character and the letters she receives from her Grandma in the pocket quilt.
964 reviews13 followers
June 23, 2020
Wonderful debut book. It is well written. I felt like I was right there in Pinecraft. I look forward to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Sally.
492 reviews8 followers
February 12, 2021
I enjoyed this story so much that I am looking forward to reading the next one in this series called The Pocket Quilt series.
Laurie has a way to grab the reader and hold the attention!
15 reviews
July 25, 2021
Wonderful Amish Novel

Mariah’s story was authentic, with her struggles and confusion for her future. Enjoyed the journey with her and looking forward to reading #2. Thank you.
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