Character Spotlight: Leslie Gould’s Lila & Zane with a giveaway

Amish SweetheartsMeet forbidden childhood friends in

Leslie Gould’s

Amish romance

Amish Sweethearts

Bethany House


The Story

Can These Two Friends from Opposite Worlds Find Love?

They’ve been best friends for years, but as high school ends, Zane Beck can’t help but look at his Amish neighbor, Lila Lehman, with different eyes. Her controlling father sees only one future for Lila, though, and arranges for her to be courted by an upstanding young Amish man. When Zane sees the two together, his plans for the future crumble, and he impulsively enlists in the Army, following in his father’s footsteps.

However, the passing of years and the distance between them isn’t enough to halt their now hidden feelings for each other. If being together used to be difficult, it’s now impossible, especially with the Amish opposed to war. Zane’s service takes a dramatic turn when he’s sent to Afghanistan. Being on the front line and the reality of taking a life has him questioning whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences–both his and hers. With Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

Introducing Lila & Zane

Brief physical descriptionLilaZane

Lila Lehman is blond, blue-eyed, and twenty-one by the end of the story.

Zane Beck is also blond, but with brown eyes. He’s twenty-two by the end of the story and has served in the U.S. Army for nearly four years.


When I first started writing, I imagined Lila as a young Nicole Kidman. Once the cover was released though, Lila became the beautiful young woman on the front.

At first I imagined Zane as a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Again, once I saw the cover, I thought of him as the handsome soldier on the front.

Strengths and weaknesses

Lila cares too much about pleasing others instead of asking God for direction. Her weakness gets her into trouble. Once she realizes how dishonest she’s become, her greatest strength shines through. She stands up to the expectations others have of her and becomes her own person.

Zane can be stubborn and impulsive, but he’s also very loyal. Being impulsive lands him in the Army. Being loyal makes him a good soldier, and keeps him committed to Lila—even when she claims to want no such thing.

Quirk (if any)

Lila doesn’t like conflict. If she doesn’t want to talk about something she goes straight-faced and stoic.

Zane’s quirk is that he definitely marches to his own drummer. He doesn’t give into peer pressure—not even in the Army.

Your inspiration for the character

Lila is the oldest sister in a family of five children. Her mother died when she was eleven and she feels responsible for her siblings. I’m the youngest of four, but I know lots of oldest sisters, including my own and several good friends, who feel a great responsibility for their younger siblings. I think that birth order is absolutely fascinating.

As far as Zane, I have to preface this by saying that my husband isn’t impulsive, lol (although he can definitely be stubborn!). But he is very loyal, and he was a soldier for 30 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. So, yes, my hubby was definitely a big part of the inspiration for Zane. :) He also was one of my sources for the scenes in the story set in Afghanistan.

Gould FamilyThe Gould Family

Background to the story 

Amish Sweethearts is the second novel in my Neighbors of Lancaster County series. In the first story, Amish Promises, Lila is eleven when the Becks, a military family, move down the lane from the Lehmans. Lila and Zane, the oldest child in the Beck family, become best friends through the years, mostly hiding their relationship from her strict and overbearing father. Amish Sweethearts begins with both Lila and Zane struggling with what will become of their friendship.

I’ve always been fascinated with childhood sweethearts and wanted to explore what would happen when two young people, from very different faiths and cultures, grow up together and then find themselves falling in love. The result is Amish Sweethearts.

Thanks Leslie!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Discover more about Leslie
Review of Courting Cate
Character spotlight on Cate
Visit Leslie’s website
Buy at Amazon: Amish Sweethearts or Koorong

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26 Responses to Character Spotlight: Leslie Gould’s Lila & Zane with a giveaway

  1. Leslie Gould had a big hand in my reading of Amish fiction. Amish Promises was the first Amish fiction book that I read. I read Christian fiction, but wasn’t ever interested in Amish Fiction. The book description for Amish Promises drew me in and I immediately pre-ordered it from our library. That was in April of last year, so I have only been reading Amish Fiction since then. Amish Promises was one of my top 5 reads of last year and it ignited my interest and investigation into more Amish fiction. I can’t wait to revisit these characters and see the children all grown up.

  2. It’s hard to saw how many Amish novels I read every year since I read such a variety of everything. But probably 4-5 a year, plus or minus a few. I love the comments above about birth-order as it fascinates me, too. Plus I am the oldest of 5 so I relate to Lila is that respect! Childhood sweethearts is a fun topic, too. My parents weren’t childhood sweethearts but they met in high-school and never dated anyone else so I figure they’re just shy of it. 😉

  3. I probably read about 4 this past year. I am fairly new to the Amish genre but have enjoyed them a lot. I like the books that go with a different storyline rather than the run of the mill. This book sounds great.

  4. too many to count! 😀

  5. I cannot say for sure how many Amish books I read, several.

  6. Probably 4-5. I read a lot of Christian fiction and these would be included.

  7. I haven’t read any in the last few years, though I don’t know why that is the case. I enjoy them very much.

  8. I’ve never read an Amish novel. I’ve always been an avid historical and fantasy reader and only recently started branching out some. I’ve loved contemporary and suspense and I’ve seen one or two Amish novels recently that have me interested. Amish Sweethearts has been on my radar for a while though.

  9. Mary Ellen Ashenfelder

    It varies with my free time. I try to read 2 or 3 books a week. Love Amish fiction and I would love to add this book to my collection. Thank you.

  10. Great question that I’ve never been asked before. I’ll have to guess/estimate – maybe 15 or so. I’m a teacher, so I read lots more in the summer. Some years I read more than 20 or more. Just depends….. I have a hard time starting a new book, but once I do, I can’t stop until I’ve finished it.

  11. Love all of Leslie’s books, can’t wait to read this one.

  12. Shaun Renee Paulsen

    It’s hard to say how many Amish novels I read a year. Right now I’m on my second one even though I have read seven books so far in 2016. I also like to read historical romance so it depends on what mood I’m in at the time.

  13. I read Amish fiction almost everyday which would average out to many books. I have to keep a record of what I read to keep from reading any of them twice (which is actually ok, too.)

  14. I’ve never actually sat down to count how many I read in a year….probably not that many since Historical is the main genre I enjoy. I have read a quite a few in the years past by various authors & I also have some on my shelf to-be-read. I guess I have to be in the mood for an Amish….or perhaps I just have too many other books to read….probably more the case….lol!!

    Sigh…too many books, too little time……..

  15. I don’t read very many Amish novels, maybe two or three a year. I have liked the ones I’ve read; just don’t usually seek them out to read.

  16. I probably read seven or eight Amish novels every year .

  17. About 50.

  18. seven to twelve Amish Books A year. may be more.

  19. How many Amish novels do you read each year?

    I am not sure. I only recenlty started reading Amish novels. Enough that my hubby has commented on it. Haha!! But I love them!!! 😀

  20. I used to read quite a few Amish novels every year and now I just read one or two. Leslie’s are always on the list. I have loved the uniqueness and little quirks of the previous books she’s written for Bethany House. I’m excited to read this one. Looks great!

  21. I read about a dozen Amish novels every year.

  22. I would guess about 10 Amish fiction books. Amish fiction is my favorite genre to read. I also read historical and mystery/suspense.

  23. Ok, your question got me to wondering, so I looked back on my Goodreads account and for 2015, I’d read 23 Amish novels (if I counted correctly). That includes a couple of individual novellas and a couple of novella collections. If we are including Mennonite, then it is probably about 4 or 5 more books than that. :) Thanks for the chance to win.

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