Mending Fences By Suzanne Woods Fisher

When I see a new book by Ms. Fisher I know it will be good! This one was great!
Luke Schrock is an Amish bad boy. He has a loving family, community and strong roots to a simple and good life. He throws it away and finds himself in trouble with the law and in rehab for alcoholism. His Bishop, David and his rehab counselor feel the best way for Luke overcome his problems is return to home to Stoney Ridge and apologize to the people he has wronged. And there is more. He must offer to make amends and ask them how it affected their lives. His list of victims is quite long. This is his last chance and He to “mend fences” and start a new life. Amos and Fern Lapp have offered to bring him into their home, with meals and a place to stay in exchange for work. What a shocker when he finds out his room is in the barn!
Izzy has also been taken in by the Lapps a year ago; she gets to stay in the house of course! She lacks and craves all Luke took for granted; a secure home, a loving family and place to belong. She treasures having these blessings and sees how valuable they are. Luke is intrigued by Izzy. She is quite, even secretive and totally unimpressed by his charms that have always turned the girl’s heads.
I loved this book. The title is so appropriate. I enjoyed watching Luke grow and change as he realized the damage what he considered “innocent pranks” did to so many. It was extremely interesting to look into the lives of those wronged and how it had changed them. I saw his years of selfishness and his attitude of entitlement fall away as he grows spiritually, truly loving and caring for his people.
Izzy is a beautiful soul trapped inside a shell of childhood hurt and resentment. It was painful to see her struggle with trusting even the Lapps and realizing she was loved. I just wanted to hug Amos and Fern. Their challenges and hardships could have easily caused them to abandon Luke and Izzy to focus on their needs but they didn’t. They were so sweet and sincere in their sacrifices to help troubled youth. One of my favorite parts of the books was Luke’s problems with a wily raccoon and Amos’s beloved horse Bob. I was sorry for the book to end, it was that good! It did make me happy to see this is a series another book will be coming!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

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Never Let Go By Elizabeth Goddard

The book starts off with a bang! Possible murder, attempted murder, arson, and having two ex-lovers meeting again! This is not a book you want to read at night to fall asleep (as is my custom) because you won’t! The plot moves along at a break neck speed. As if all of this is not enough for one person to bear, Willow does not have time to sit back and contemplate. She must join forces with her former boyfriend, Austin, whom she never wanted to see again. She has no choice to be able to stay alive and get to the bottom of a 21 year old cold case file of a baby stolen from a hospital. The birth mother only has 2 months to live. All the violence seems to link back to this one incident. While she wants nothing to do with, Austin, a former FBI agent now private investigator, she finds his help is essential.
The author does a brilliant job of sharing Willow and Austin’s complicated thoughts and feelings toward one another as the story unfolds. Their old wounds and heartaches surface again, forcing the couple to face them. Austin’s personal, hidden past of an abusive childhood and an estranged family resurfaces, requiring him to deal with it. There is so much pain; the pain of loss of life, a child, shattered relationships, and self-doubt. Mysteries only God can reveal and pain only He can heal. I appreciate wholesomeness of the book in the area of romance. I admired Willow’s resilience and persistence to do what was right in spite of her present situation. Austin won my respect with his courage to step back into Willow’s life not only to aid her but also protect her. This is a riveting and exciting story with all its layers of suspense and kaleidoscope of emotions. An added bonus was I learned something new! I had never heard of a forensic genealogist! Fascinating! If I had heard about it growing up I think of might have become one!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.

Miriam Daughter of Finnish Immigrants By Diane Dettmann

I will say outright I am a fan of Diane Dettmann and her writings! She uses the same words we all do but somehow she puts them together in a way that draws you in both with her fiction or nonfiction books. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would call it a “cozy read”. The story of her grandparents was so personal I felt as if I were a part of the family and reading about my heritage!
The Great Depression was a very difficult time for those who lived in that era. Reading about their hardships and deprivation made me feel a bit guilty. Our internet goes out for a few hours or we have a power outage and we feel we are suffering. Forget modern conveniences, they had practically nothing, but it was the everyday norm for them. If you add to that being immigrants from another country, learning our ways and language I feel these people had a greater challenge to survive. Their story is far from discouraging or gloomy though! There is so much humor and joy and that makes it all the brighter with the back drop of those times. I found myself laughing over and over at family incidents shared. This memoir was also an in depth history lesson of day to day living and endurance.
I think one of my favorite chapters if I had to choose one was “Mother’s Influence.” Her ingenuity and resourcefulness in caring for her family’s needs was amazing, especially when I think of today’s society of “throw it away and buy a new one”. They didn’t feel underprivileged or lacking; whatever they were blessed with brought the family contentment. A delightful read!
I received this complimentary copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have stated are my own.