A Season on the Wind By Suzanne Woods Fisher

My uncle was a passionate bird watcher all his life.  He traveled the world to observe different birds and at one time had been only one of five in the world to have seen a particular species. In his later years he even volunteered for the Audubon Society giving classes for children.  Don’t get me wrong. I love nature and birds, but I would never quite grasp his obsession and excitement for the hobby.  until reading this book.

Penny Weaver and her brother Micah have moved to a new Amish community to live in her deceased grandmother’s home.  Their transition was forced by the fact their former bishop was opposed to Micah’s budding career as bird guide.  At only 18 he was fast becoming well known for incredible skills to find scarce birds. 

Ben Zook was a world famous writer and bird photographer that was raised in this Amish community.  He hires Micah after a very rare species is spotted in the area.  He and his cousin Natalie (who has zero interest in his interest) stay at the Weaver’s guest house.  He is forced to face painful secrets buried deep in this heart all these years. 

Penny is overwhelmed to see Ben after 20 years.  After meeting him as a young girl she still cherishes the short time they knew each other and continues to have a crush on him.  Has God brought him back to her after all these years? Be ready for lots of surprises!

Each character goes on their own special journey and healing in areas they would have never imagined.  I enjoyed the descriptions of Penny’s home life.  It was easy to imagine sitting in her cozy home drinking tea and eating some of her delicious cooking.  I could feel the relaxation and contentment.

At the end of every chapter is an excerpt from Micah’s bird-watching log about a different species.  In the beginning I ashamedly thought “boring”, but  I was hooked after the first one.  They are fascinating! I learned so much about birds I was familiar with and new ones too.  His accounts of their personalities and often humorous antidotes were wonderful!  Now I see why my uncle was so avid in his pursuits.  A wonderful book!

A Christmas in the Alps  By Melody Carlson

Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas in France in the scenic Alps!   I know you can’t see me but my hand is raised!  A trip like this isn’t possible for me but I was able to travel with Simone and share in her experiences.

Solid, responsible and loving, Simone has taken care of her Grandmother Betty for the last couple of years. Her friend Andrea is helping her with the monumental task of sifting through a life time of accumulation.   During their endeavor they come upon 3 year old letter addressed to her from her great grandmother.  If that weren’t enough of surprise, Simone reads that her great grandmother asks her to make a trip to the French Alps to find a hidden treasure she has left during the war.  Her grandmother has since died and was a nonagenarian when she wrote it. The chances of it still being there after all these years and the mental state of her relative when she wrote it are questionable.  Would it be worth a trip to France on such slim chances?  Andrea thinks Simone is ready for adventure and a change of scenery.  She encourages . . . no pushes. . . forces Simone into making the trip.  While Simone sees many obstacles, the biggest is her paralyzing anxiety about flying!

After Andrea, being the good friend she is has made all the arrangements Simone boards her flight to France.  She is blessed with a kind, not to mention handsome, young man named Kyle.  He calms her through her panic attacks along the way.  They go their separate ways in Iceland but exchange numbers, hoping to meet again in Paris.

Meeting and becoming acquainted with her French side of the “family” is not all joyfulness and affection, but she perseveres and the secrets of her ancestry open up in surprising ways. She finds the treasure her great-grandmother wrote of is not at all what she imagined.  

I received this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery By Amanda Cox.

So many things attracted me to this book; the cover, the title, the back cover blurb and the author’s reputation for good books!  I must say I was not disappointed!  I loved this book! This story spans a period of 60 years in the lives of 3 generations of women.  The old saying, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” came to my mind as I read.  It holds true in these 3 women’s lives because when we are dishonest in any situation, we open the door to problems that will eventually be out of our control. Each of these women was not deceitful by nature, but through circumstances beyond their control felt hiding their secrets would be less painful for those they loved. 

The Old Depot Grocery had been the center of the family’s life since 1965 when Glory married the owner Clarence, a man 10 years her senior.  The marriage didn’t start out as a traditional one for sure, but through the years grew strong in affection and respect. After her husband died she continued to run the store that she saw as a life blood to her family and community.  After 56 years it was becoming a burden with the new grocery store in town taking most of its customers.  Although she was in her 80’s she was determined to keep it going.  She has secrets from her past that drive her on.

Her daughter, Rosemary, who grew up in the store has other plans.  She wants the store sold and her mother’s last years to be those of ease.  Tempers flare and heads butt as they disagree.  Her mother’s future isn’t the only reason she wants to sell.  She holds many secrets in her heart that have been hidden for many years.

Enter Sarah, daughter and granddaughter.  She has just lost her husband in an accident and comes home in hope of support and healing.  She gets caught in the crossfire of her family and while seeing both sides she has her opinions and even plans. Sarah has her own secrets she holds close.  As the three women once again live in close proximity, their secrecy gives way to a slippery slope of emotions and events that reveal what none of them felt would ever come to light.

I saw so many deep lessons as I read. Shame and fear of upsetting others involved are never motives to hide the truth.  It hurts far more to find out one was betrayed than to face the pain of facts.  The longer one conceals secrets, the more complicated they become and the harder it is to come clean.  I also saw how forgiving yourself is often more difficult than forgiving another.

I couldn’t put the book down!  There are so many surprises along the way! It was incredible to view all three lives and see what the other ones could not see.  A dynamic and entertaining book!

I received this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own.