Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Reviewing: Stitches In Time by Suzanne Woods Fisher

 ...from the publisher...
New to Stoney Ridge, schoolteacher Mollie has come to town for a fresh start. Aware of how fleeting and fragile life is, she wants to live it boldly and bravely. When Luke Schrock, new to his role as deacon, asks the church to take in foster girls from a group home, she's the first to raise her hand. The power of love, she believes, can pick up the dropped stitches in a child's heart and knit them back together.

Mollie envisions sleepovers and pillow fights. What the 11-year-old twins bring to her home is anything but. Visits from the sheriff at midnight. Phone calls from the school truancy officer. And then the most humiliating moment of all: the girls accuse Mollie of drug addiction.

There's only one thing that breaks through the girls' hard shell--an interest in horses. Reluctantly and skeptically, Sam Schrock gets drawn into Mollie's chaotic life. What he didn't expect was for love to knit together the dropped stitches in his own heart . . . just in time.

Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge for a touching story of the power of love. thoughts...

I have been waiting to read more of Luke's story and Stitches In Time was worth the wait.  Suzanne has developed a wonderful community over time and it is always like visiting with friends whenever I pick up her books.  Through the years I have seen such changes in her characters, just as we see among our friends and family members.  Luke has certainly grown from being the epitome of the neighborhood bad boy to an unlikely choice as deacon. As unlikely as that seems, it is only natural for one to wonder: will he succeed or live up to the expectations of many who are waiting for him to fail.

This story is entertaining while giving us a serious look at how life can be for children raised within the foster care system.  Parenting comes in many forms, whether through traditional families or a growing norm of children living with absent parents.  The choice to foster a child is commendable, yet not an easy road, especially for people like Mollie, who wants children so badly yet gets much more than she bargained for with the 11-year-old twins.  My mother had twin girls and she often said that "What one didn't think of the other did" and these two take that to a new level.  In the end, all comes together as the Amish community of Stoney Ridge embraces new ground when challenged by Luke to open their hearts and homes to the displaced girls. 

I recommend this book to those who enjoy contemporary Amish fiction.  True, the Amish reportedly live a simple life, but the issues they face are not as simple as it appears.  After all, human nature is a great equalizer in a complex world.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Reviewing: Hope's Highest Mountain by Misty M Beller

...from the publisher...

Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who

Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he's forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can't help but admire Ingrid's tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine--with or without his help--he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.  
tends her injuries, she's hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds. thoughts...

Misty M. Beller's Hope's Highest Mountain is a well written and compelling story. The premise of the book is not one I normally select but the description and setting caught my eye. The author drew me in within the first few pages. I could feel Ingrid's wariness as she submitted to this strange man's care.  He was so different than anyone she had ever met.  Micah was a reluctant caregiver who overcame his own self doubts and made healing Ingrid's injuries his priority.  Again and again he took up her challenges, first providing for her care and then forging a difficult path to deliver the vaccines.  I felt the cold and shivered as Ingrid and Micah traveled under less than ideal circumstances through the mountains.

Throughout their journey Micah was tested.  His courage and willingness to stretch his will to care for Ingrid was inspiring, considering his long held feelings of guilt over the deaths of his wife and daughter. Micah is my favorite character in this book.  Ingrid's determination, while admirable, wasn't practical, considering her injuries and the terrible weather conditions for travel. However, Micah risked even more as he tirelessly planned and carried out their journey to the mining town.  It was dangerous. She was severely injured and the two combined made the journey all the more treacherous. The inner turmoil for him was just as much a struggle. He escaped to this life of solitude for the very reasons she was tasking him with.

This book is for the reader who likes adventurous journeys with that little added touch of romance.  I have not read and of Misty M Beller's books before, but this will no doubt not be the last.  Many thanks to Bethany House for the opportunity to read this book for review.  My opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Saturday Night Review: The Timepiece by Beverly Lewis

,,,from the publisher...
As the only daughter, Sylvia Miller of The Tinderbox has always held a special place in her Old Order family, one Adeline Pelham jeopardizes when she shows up at the Millers' Hickory Hollow farm. It isn't that Adeline means to be a threat, but her very existence is a reminder of the painful secret that has so recently upended the Miller household. And withthis Englisher--into their midst.

Despite the Millers' unexpected hospitality, Adeline is well aware that she's treading on Sylvia's turf, and she feels guilty about doing so when Sylvia is grappling with issues of her own. Not only is Sylvia trying to rebuild her trust in her father, but she's uncertain what to make of her once-promising engagement to Titus Kauffman, who hasn't pursued her since she confronted him. Adeline wishes she could help Sylvia, but she's not sure that either she or Sylvia is ready for that level of closeness in their relationship.

Can God make something good come out of the mistakes of the past? Or does Adeline's
arrival mark one too many surprises for the Millers and their Amish community?
Sylvia and her mother still struggling to come to terms with that news, this is a challenging time to welcome an Englisher--especially thoughts....
I usually anticipate the release of Beverly Lewis' books and after I read the last page of The Tinderbox, I eagerly waited for the arrival of The Timepiece. The Miller's are once again under scrutiny. Sylvia, who thought she was her father's only daughter, didn't relish getting to know Adeline, the daughter he didn't know he had.  She was also unsure if she would marry Titus, the cautious son of Amos Kaufman, the strictest preacher of her church district. This is one of those stories that gives us a glimpse into human nature to see that all we need to see isn't on the surface.

The Miller family, except Sylvie, warmly welcome Adeline into their family.  There have been so many changes and she wasn't prepared for the addition of a sister, especially from the Englisch world. The dynamics of the newcomer in addition to learning more about her father's life before joining the Amish seem to impact her the most.  As her time to become baptized draws near, she must decide her future.  Adeline, for her part, is becoming more intrigued with this quiet life as she too, prepares to return to her college studies and her fiancee Brandon.  She too, has questions as she learns more about her father, Earnest and the surprises she finds in her late mother's journal.

Amidst all this, is Rhoda, Earnest's wife and Sylvia's mother.  She is a quiet force to reckon with as she guides them along with love and wisdom.  This story is about a resilient family whose faith strengthens them to bring about forgiveness, and the discovery of joy.  Beverly Lewis wove together a wonderful story that proves that faith, patience and time can bring forth many blessings.  I recommend this book to all fans of Beverly Lewis, but also to new fans to pick up and enjoy.