Ava celebrates her eighteenth birthday with the local Amish community and the big day holds several surprises. The following day, Sunday, is a church-meeting Sunday and both Isaac and John are distressed to discover their beloved sister does not seem to fit in. Then, when the Troyer family arrives home, the biggest birthday surprise of all is waiting for Ava.
Ava finds herself sad and confused because of Zeke’s late night confession and announcement that he was leaving to join the military.
In the meantime John and Helen are having relationship problems and Helen’s father, Mr. Mathias, is involved.
Abe’s total lack of responsibility creates problems for Bliss.
Ava’s frustration and confusion increase when Jed makes a special trip to the Troyer farm.
The four Troyer siblings, Helen, and Zeke all get kicked out of Aunt Rachael's hospital room and eventually find themselves in the small hospital restaurant. While there Zeke and Helen argue which makes Ava cry.
After Rachael Troyer returns home, Isaac threatens Abram and Ava fights with Jed.Later while Ava is babysitting for the Bontragers Zeke shows up, unexpectedly, to tell her he is leaving
Ava, young, beautiful - and Amish - is elated that Kez, her puppy, is coming home. Kez, a border collie, has been at a neighboring farm, being trained by Mr. Bontrager to become a cattle dog. Once Kez is home Isaac trains him to keep his distance from the house and from their Aunt Rachael who hates dogs. The Troyer siblings know something is wrong when Kez bounds up the steps to the house.
Ava Troyer, young, beautiful and Amish, is given a puppy by Zeke, her English admirer. Aunt Rachael absolutely loathes dogs, and has a fit as the new puppy howls and barks in the barn. Rachael is so upset she grabs her head with her hands, trying to block out the sound. Isaac declares he will decide whether the puppy stays or goes, stunning their aunt into an uneasy silence.
It is New Year’s Eve. This normally festive time in the Troyer household turns sad as family members – and Jed – recall the life and passing of Ava’s father, Amos. The New Year starts with a thundersnow, an usual blizzard, which causes much damage and financial loss. As a result, Aunt Rachael must tend to the household responsibilities by herself as the Troyer brothers need Ava’s help.
It is that formerly magical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Except this year, Ava is torn with the loss of her father, and her growing preoccupation with the mysterious stranger who pulled her from the fiery wreck and then vanished. She spends hours in her upstairs bedroom window brushing her long hair, seeing the stranger behind every tree, darting to the barn, waving.
Strong and resilient, Amish and beautiful, 17 year-old Ava Troyer is released from the hospital after the bad accident that took her father. She makes the quiet ride home in the old family buggy, sandwiched between her huge brothers, Isaac and John. She is greeted at the old homestead by her stern and cold Aunt Rachael, the only “mother” she has known.
Ava Troyer never really considered the possibility of life outside of the warm, protective Amish community. Even during her state-mandated schooling through the eighth grade, she would dreamily fantasize about whether any of the other Amish boys in the history class right after lunch was going to be the father of her children, or if she would meet the man of her dreams from another state.