Mary Ellis – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 2

Shannon here: Amish romance author, Mary Ellis shares a not so perfect meal she cooked with love. Comment on any post dated August 6th – 10th for a chance to win her latest release, Living in Harmony. Deadline: August 18th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:

Recipe for Romance by Mary Ellis

Gourmets and cooking-show fanatics will cluck their tongues and shake their heads at this post, but I must share the story of the first dinner I cooked for my boyfriend (now my husband of 38 years).

We were sophomores in college and had only been dating for several months. Yet, somehow we both knew this was the one. Keep in mind, any time my mom had tried to teach me to cook I would run in the other direction. Even chemistry homework appealed more than anything in the kitchen. So when Ken asked me to fix him dinner at his home over Christmas vacation, what did I say? Sure, why not? After all, how hard could it be?

I packed all the ingredients and purchases from grocery store into my Corvair and drove to his house. The rest of his family would be out for most of the evening. Did I take a cookbook? Of course not, since my mother didn’t own one. She’d learned everything from Grandma Ellis who didn’t speak a word of English. Ken chose fried chicken and potato salad as his favorite meal. I added iceburg lettuce with bottled dressing and green beans straight from the can—no butter or seasoning whatsoever—to round out our culinary fare.

I breaded and fried the chicken, then kept turning the pieces over in the skillet until I set off the smoke alarms. After all, I had no idea when they might be done. But the extra crispy chicken turned out far superior to my potato salad. Since I had no idea when peeled and diced potatoes might be cooked, the finished salad resembled mashed spuds studded with tiny pieces of celery, onion and hard-boiled eggs. Ken loved my dinner. He not only cleaned his plate but raved about everything.

Not surprisingly, you say? Probably not…after all I was a cute-as-a-bug nineteen-year-old, and he was enchanted with me. But here’s the best part: When his parents returned from the movies and his older sister from her date, they all grabbed plates and began to eat up the leftovers. They raved about my cooking, too. In fact, my late mother-in-law’s exact words were: Oh, my, Ken. “You’d better not let this one get away. A girl who cooks like this is a keeper.”

I went home that night loving his family and thinking I was a good cook. It would be some time before I found out I stunk in the kitchen. But Ken proposed that Christmas and we marred six days after our college graduation. I still miss my mom and my mother-in-law. They both taught me unconditional love is far more important than anything that goes into your stomach. Before she passed away, my mom did teach me to cook during our first years of marriage. But every now and then I still set off smoke alarms, just for old times’ sake. 

About Mary: Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut Christian book, A Widow’s Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carols. She has since written eight best-selling novels. Learn more at: and!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236.

About the book: A Tragedy…a Refusal…a Shunning… Will Their Young Love Survive?

Amy King—young, engaged, and Amish—faces life-altering challenges when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiancé, John Detweiler, persuades her to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help them. 

John’s brother Thomas and sister-in-law, Sally, readily open their home to the newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment. While trying to assimilate in the ultraconservative district, Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. Amy wants to reconnect with her, but John worries that the woman’s tarnished reputation will reflect badly on his beloved bride-to-be.

Can John and Amy find a way to overcome problems in their relationship and live happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to each other?

Come back August 8th when Mary shares how she keeps the words flowing for readers!

6 Responses to “Mary Ellis – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 2”

  • Donna J Krueger says:

    I have been a big fan of Mary’s Amish books and love her style of writing. Never fear I bet you can cook with the best of them now Mary !! Believe it or not I was and still continue to be inspired by th e Amish and prolly picked up some pretty cooking skills from your books !! I work full time outside the home yet canning and cooking and cross stitch are my favorite things in life ! I have 2 daughters that graduated college (one still goes working on that Masters) and a son that will be leaving in 2 weeks for college 5 hours away. So, I will have a lot of free time to do my fun things I love !! Keep writing Mary, I will have more time to read now !! And I will have a lot of time to miss my son….boo hoo !!!

  • Kim F says:

    I love Mary’s writing – thanks for the chance to get to know the author behind those great stories

  • What a fun real-life story! Also… think what a hit going door-to-door selling chocolate would be! I would love to win a copy of your book to read. Please enter me in the drawing. (I vote that Amy finds her aunt and John finds another fiance.)

  • angela chesnut says:

    would love to win.

  • Nancee Marchinowski says:

    I love Mary’s writing. I’ve been a fan since she first started writing. I’d love to be entered in the contest to win a copy of her latest book. Thank you for offering this giveaway!

  • I loved hearing about the first meal you cooked, Mary! You should have tried the first biscuits I made and you wouldn’t feel bad about your meal. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    Living In Harmony sounds like another perfect read from you. You always, always bring so much richness to your characters, I can’t wait to read your newest offering. Thank you and Shannon Vannatter for giving us the opportunity to win.

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