Letters to Emily

“Dear Emily, Remember how I used to say that when I died, I wanted to be remembered as a godly woman? I almost gave that up this winter…”

Writing letters home to her sister Emily is Hannah Zartman’s lifeline. It’s 1798, and Hannah’s life no longer bears a speck of resemblance to the affluent city life she left behind to marry Georg, a Hessian mercenary turned colonist. Hannah can milk a cow, deliver piglets, churn butter, quilt and spin, and even shoot a bear should the need arise, as she tends the land and the daily needs of nine rambunctious children in a rustic Pennsylvania log cabin. But this year, harder things are pressing from every side, shaking Hannah’s commitment to the harsh frontier life she has chosen and to the man she loves. As the Zartmans grieve an agonizing loss and await the birth of another mouth to feed, their farm is on the brink of financial disaster. And tough times have a way of exposing Hannah and Georg’s shortcomings as marriage partners. When put to the test and tempted to run, can Hannah hold fast to her family and her faith? Pouring out her everyday cares through her pen, will she find the strength, not only to plow through the demands of life in early America, but to plant a family legacy that will forever testify to God’s providence in the worst of times?

Rave Reviews

about Letters to Emily

"What a captivating story!"

If you like historical fiction, you’ll love this one. Right from the beginning, you can get into the life of Hannah. Her courage and desire to follow her heart brings her through situations she had never faced before. Will she conquer the struggles she must face? Through their hard work, love and commitment as a family, they must find solutions to survive.

"Attention Jeanette Oke fans...

… I have been a fan of Christian/fictional/historical novels but none came close to Jeanette Oke until now. Miriam has a well written book that carries you back into the late 1700’s in the area that is now Pennsylvania. It grabs my heart of an honest Christian woman’s struggles to balance her faith with the reality of what she is living. Anxious for Miriam to write another and soon! I really can see this becoming a well loved series that will rival Jeanette’s.

"A heart-captivating read"

This poignant, raw tale of early pioneer days does a wonderful job drawing the reader into the life of Hannah, the main character. Through her journey you get swept up in her struggles and fears. I give the book five stars for the author’s unique ability to make the reader feel that he or she is living all of Hannah’s struggles, pain, and joys. You can feel her happiness and sorrow as if it were your own. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or Janette Oke – type stories.

"A glimpse into the trials of an early settler"

Letters to Emily is well-written and captivating. It is a glimpse into the trials and hardships faced by many of the early settlers. Life is hard on her family but in the end she holds to her faith. Great read if you are searching for a historical fiction.

Editorial Reviews

This homey story will delight your heart. Miriam Ilgenfritz vividly depicts the harshness of life in rural Pennsylvania in the 1700s, where times are challenging and emotions raw. Walk by Hannah’s side as she faces each new day with its joys, sorrows, and incredible challenges—from pig roasts to hog maws; from yellow fever to thunderstorms; from barn raisings to difficult births. In Letters to Emily, you’ll experience the daily life of the early settlers, feel their pain, share their sorrow, and rejoice in their victories. A heartwarming glimpse into another time and the struggles faced by one family.

Sharon Dow

author of Antipas: Martyr and Pergamum: Satan’s Throne

Letters to Emily is a heartwarming story of a woman struggling to adjust to marriage and frontier life. Hannah’s raw honesty with herself and her feelings about her husband will endear her to readers as they relate to the challenges life throws her way. Real life isn’t fairytale-perfect and without the grounding of faith as a compass, tragedy can send relationships spinning. Ilgenfritz grounds her characters in faith, yet keeps them brutally real.

Tara Fairfield

licensed psychologist, speaker, and author of Makai Queen

Letters to Emily is the poignantly crafted debut novel of Miriam Ilgenfritz. With superb historical detail, she captures the realities and hardships of late 1700s in America. Deeply felt characters in an authentic rural setting when faith and family carved the beginnings of a great nation. To read this book is to experience the heart and soul of our heritage.

Stan Bednarz

author of Miracle on Snowbird Lake

Miriam has woven a beautiful, heartwarming, realistic picture of life, loss, and love in the late eighteenth century, proving that life may be different in the twenty-first but the feelings stirred through love and loss remain constant. She gives us a true sense of how complex, complicated, and yet rich marital love can be. Letters to Emily is a story to be shared.

C. E. Hilbert

author of The Wooing of Jane Grey 

Check out Miriam’s interview about Letters to Emily with Atmosphere Press.

1st Edition

In her award-winning debut novel, Letters to Emily, Miriam Ilgenfritz stitches a heartwarming tapestry of early-American countryfolk and the faith traditions that shaped and sustained them.

Get the 1st Edition signed and sent from Miriam herself. The book is just $10.99 with a $5 shipping and handling fee. (US Addresses Only). 

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