Still Life in Shadows  -     By: Alice Wisler
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Still Life in Shadows

River North / 2012 / Paperback

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Product Description

It's been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as a boy of fifteen. Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic's garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the "Getaway Savior" he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America. One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother's body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 288
Vendor: River North
Publication Date: 2012
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0802406262
ISBN-13: 9780802406262
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

It's been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as a boy of fifteen.  Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic's garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the "Getaway Savior" he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America.

 

One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother's body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father? 

 

Author Bio

ALICE J. WISLER grew up in Japan as a missionary kid, but now lives and writes in Durham, North Carolina. Her son Daniel died from cancer treatments in 1997 at the age of four. In his memory, she created Daniel's House Publications which offers Writing the Heartache Workshops to help those suffering losses discover the value of writing. She presents these workshops at conferences across the country. She writes for various grief and loss websites, including Open to Hope, where she is the Death of a Child forum editor. She is a frequent contributor to Christian Work at Home Moms (CWAHM), WritersWeekly and Writing for Dollars. Alice is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, has a B.S. in social work, and has taught disadvantaged children in group homes and in a refugee camp in the Philippines under a program sponsored by the United Nations. She has been published in Personal Journaling, ByLine, Carolina Woman, Carolina Parent, We Need Not Walk Alone, and Living with Grief. She is a member of The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents. She is the author of four inspirational novels: Rain Song (Christy Finalist), How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist), Hatteras Girl, and A Wedding Invitation (Bethany House Publishers). Two of these have been translated into Dutch and Turkish. Visit her website at www.alicewisler.com.

Editorial Reviews

"I'm so excited to read this book! From a theological perspective I'm so glad to see someone tackling this issue. It has really been needed." --Julia M. Reffner

"I figured it out in the middle of the night! You know how you enjoy that very last piece of cake? You are so glad to have it and savor it and enjoy it, but then when you finish it, you're sad because it's all gone and you won't be able to have another taste until another of those cakes is made. That is why I felt sad finishing "Still Life in Shadows!" I have to wait until ? Until your next novel is published!" -- Lisa Gramann, a faithful reader of Alice Wisler

"Check it out!! Now, I never, ever thought I would say this next sentence, but here it is: It's a great Amish story. Well, no. It's a great EX-Amish story and there's none of the typical Amish fluff stuff in it. Alice Jay Wisler did an excellent job portraying some of the anguish that can come of leaving your family and lifestyle; of learning to forgive--both others and yourself. She also created this great little autistic girl that I just loved. It's a good book. You should check it out. Yay Alice!" -- Rachel Overton

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
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Displaying items 1-5 of 11
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  1. Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Still water running deep
    May 7, 2014
    Sufficient in Jesus
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Bottom Line: Still Life in Shadows is a sad, moving, very realistic story that convinced me to check out more Alice Wisler books.

    Lovers of Amish fiction could read this for a gritty look at the intersection of Amish and English worlds.

    Within the bucolic life of the Plain People, how can abuse and despair still flourish like a poisonous plant? Answer: because the Amish are fallen men craving grace like the rest of us, and sometimes parental pride combines with strict religion and drives the children away.

    That's what happened to Gideon, almost two decades before. He withstood the oppression of his father as long as he could, and then he escaped.

    Now he's a reserved, still-waters-running-deep kind of man working in an auto-repair shop, and on the side he's aiding fellow escapees.

    The Getaway Savior. That's what they call him.

    It's a heavy title to wear, and a great responsibility to carry. Helping young Amish people transfer to the outside culture requires patience and wisdom.

    Gideon can usually summon up both, and he earned them through his own hard experiences. He's just now able to look back on his upbringing and realize that there are some parts he doesn't want to throw away. Even while he lives and moves in the modern world, there are some Amish attitudes that are forever built into his soul. He doesn't hate all of it. Just the pain and the shame and the secrets.

    Flitting about on the periphery of his life is a source of joy that he tries hard not to notice. Kiki, a teen girl obsessed with working on her bicycle, and Mari her older sister. Kiki wants a job at the garage and Mari serves the best tea and pie in the state. For a reason he doesn't understand, he begins connecting with both of them, allowing tiny thoughts of Family to slip into his head.

    And then his real brother returns. Oh, Moriah. Why?

    I love the way that Alice Wisler gave every character's story an inherent dignity. That's important... that each one have their space and let the meanings flow from whatever happens, good or bad. This book is beautiful because most of the action is actually internal, inside Gideon and Mari and Kiki and Luke and Ashlyn and Ormund, and Moriah and Della and Principal Pepper. Depending on their role in the story, you get to see various amounts of their growth and faith and thoughts.

    Thabk you MP Newsroom for my copy.
  2. Ragdogs
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good..but just a few odds and ends
    February 8, 2014
    Ragdogs
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The Synopsis:

    "Fifteen years ago Gideon Miller ran away from an Amish life that seemed perfect. But it held a childhood secret he could not leave behind.

    Gideon, now an auto mechanic in Twin Branches, North Carolina, helps Amish youth relocate to modern society, earning him the nickname the "Getaway Savior." When Kiki, an autistic teen, enters his shop wanting a job, Gideon struggles to accept her although he's infatuated with her sister Mari. Furthermore, a surprise visit from his younger brother, Moriah, forces Gideon to realize that his need God's forgiveness is far greater than he anticipated."

    My Review:

    This was a good book, although very emotional. With the main characters dealing with different issues about their parents, an autistic teen dealing with bullies, and a young man close to the characters wasting his life on drugs, I would not recommend this book to any youngsters. And there is a murder mystery and some racism in this book as well.

    However, there are upsides. There are some very funny characters and good morals in this story, as well as the important lesson of forgiveness. I also enjoyed all of the information about Amish life and there are two recipes in the back of the book that are some of the characters favorites.

    Overall, I enjoyed this book and will recommend it to those of you that like a "sort-of-mysterious-and-sweet-ending" book!

    "I received this book from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are my own."
  3. debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    July 20, 2013
    debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Gideon Miller doesn't have a lot of answers to life hard questions. But one thing he's absolutely sure about, is that the Amish life is not for him. Fifteen years after leaving home, he works at an auto shop and helps many young people make the transition from being Amish to the real world. Wanting to get them away from the strict lifestyle and potentially bad home situations, Gideon does everything in his power to get them on their feet.

    When a autistic teenager come to the shop looking for work, Gideon is at a loss for what to do with her. Kiki seems to be a handful, and despite Gideon's attraction to her older sister Mari, he is reluctant to hire Kiki and take responsibility for her.

    Then his brother, Moriah, makes an appearance at the shop. Gideon wants to help his brother, but when things take a turn for the worse, Gideon finds himself unable to help his brother. Fighting the demons of the past, Gideon has nowhere to turn. Will he be able to resolve the hurt of the past - or is it just too late?

    The only thing I felt was missing from this book was more resolution at the end. It was a wonderful novel, but the end felt rushed and unresolved. There was lots of anticipation and tension between the characters, but then the plot just fizzled out. I enjoyed this novel a lot, but I just wish there would have been more instead of cutting it short. While I enjoy a story that move along and doesn't drag; realistically, I don't want it to fly by after all the great buildup with the story and characters.

    This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
  4. The Happy Reader
    Columbia, TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Still Life in Shadows
    May 9, 2013
    The Happy Reader
    Columbia, TN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    All kids must decide for themselves one day if they're going to follow what their parents taught them. It's natural and it happens to everyone. Now, what happens if that teen is Amish? From the perspective of an ex-Amish, what must we look like? Does it look like we have everything we could wish for? Do they come out of their communities with unreasonable expectations? Now, throw in temptations we all face, and you'll have the premise of this story.

    This book touches on a vast array of issues. Intolerance from both sides. Bigotry. Autism. Harsh discipline. Love. Empathy. Compassion.
  5. Suzanne Wesley
    Terre Haute, IN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Not your typical Amish story
    October 23, 2012
    Suzanne Wesley
    Terre Haute, IN
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Still life in Shadows is definitely a unique perspective on the Amish life. Among the many genres of Christian fiction that I read is Amish fiction. In most Amish fiction novels, their lifestyle is depicted as unyielding on the one extreme, but overall as an enjoyable simpler lifestyle. It is generalized frequently that the popularity of Amish fiction is due to readers using it as a form of escapism. Still Life in Shadows, however, shines a light on the fact that, just like every other lifestyle or religious choice available - there are people for whom an Amish lifestyle fits, and people for whom it does not. The main character, Gideon, has chosen to escape that lifestyle, and to help others escape from it. Additionally, the novel points out that anger and abuse can surface in even the most peaceful of societies - which is why Gideon made his choice to leave. The author also chose to cover the subtopics of autism and hoarding within the confines of this novel. All of these topics are handled with care and respect.

    Unlike most Amish fiction novels I feel this one would appeal to both men and women. It isn't an action novel, and there is a love story there, but it is handled in the male point of view and in a realistic manner (in other words, full of natural road blocks and confusion).
Displaying items 1-5 of 11
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Alice J. Wisler
Located in: Durham, NC
Submitted: May 09, 2012

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Pushed by my dream as a little girl to write novels, now as an older woman, that's what I do. STILL LIFE IN SHADOWS is my fifth novel, my first with River North. I grew up as a Presbyterian missionary kid in Japan and later went to Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia for a degree in Social Work.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  To be honest, the romantic idealistic view many have of the Amish motivated me to write something much more realistic. STILL LIFE IN SHADOWS was inspired my Mose Gingerich ("Amish: Out of Order"). I wanted to portray that the Amish are not to be elevated to some sort of level of perfect faith, but to show that like the rest of us, they have shortcomings and are in need of mercy and forgiveness. What if my character helped dissatisfied youth escape the Old Order lifestyle? I toyed with this idea and then created Gideon Miller, an ex-Amish man, who left his abusive father in Carlisle, PA and now works as a car mechanic in the mountains of NC. Known to the Amish as "the getaway savior", Gideon helps ex-Amish youth relocate to Western society. In addition to the Amish component to my novel, there is Kiki, a thirteen-year-old autistic girl who befriends Gideon and others, truly a character that jumped off the page at me and demanded lots of attention.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I hope for a more realistic view of the Amish. I also hope others will enjoy the Southern aspects of my novel as well as the theme of forgiveness and the need we have to feel part of a community and belong.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  I found both positive and negative aspects of the Amish culture and faith. I heard from Mose Gingerich, my inspiration for ths novel, and I was interviewed by The Daily Columbia Tribune, about my novel. I have also heard from ex-Amish and fellow authors who have cheered my novel on, believing that a book like this needs to be written.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  I am influenced by many authors from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Also I'm honored to have Eugene H. Peterson (THE MESSAGE) as my uncle, a gifted man, and a humble mentor.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I hope you'll read STILL LIFE IN SHADOWS and let me hear from you at info@alicewisler.com.

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