When Amish farmer Pete Treger moves to Paradise Township, Pennsylvania, seeking a better life, he meets sisters Cate and Betsy Miller. Both are beautiful, but older sister Cate is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance. Betsy, on the other hand, is sweet and flirty–and seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County! However, the sisters’ wealthy father has made one hard and fast rule: elder sister must marry first, before the younger can even start courting. Unfortunately for poor Betsy, and for the men who want to court her, her older sister, Cate, doesn’t have any suitors–until Pete comes to town, that is. Though he finds both sisters attractive, something about Cate’s feisty demeanor appeals to him. Soon the other bachelors in the district convince Pete to court Cate. She hardly seems receptive to his overtures, though. Instead, she’s immediately suspicious of his interest.
Brief physical description
I had a young Elizabeth Taylor in mind—until I saw the cover for Courting Cate. The model is absolutely perfect. You can tell she’s intelligent and strong and has a mind of her own, besides being beautiful. I couldn’t be happier with the image for Cate!
Strengths and weaknesses
Cate is a big reader who is smart, sassy (especially for an Amish girl), and stubborn. But she also dearly loves her father and sister, the only family she has, and would do anything for them—even marry someone she doesn’t love.
Quirk (if any)
Cate says, “I read somewhere…” a lot when in conversation with others and then offers up unasked for advice. It’s a quirk I borrowed from myself!
Your inspiration for the character
Katherina “Kate” from Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew.”
Background to the story
While in graduate school, one of my professors assigned retelling Shakespeare plays in short story form as part of the coursework. It was so much fun that when I began writing Amish fiction, I thought, “Why not?” I was thrilled when Bethany House Publishers agreed it was a good idea. I’ve had so much fun with this story and look forward to the rest in The Courtships of Lancaster County series. A retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,” Adoring Addie, is next. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say it shares a plot point with a version of the story that predates Shakespeare.