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The Choice, Lancaster County Secrets Series #1
Revell / 2009 / Paperback
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With a vibrant, fresh style Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman torn between following the man she loves--or joining the community of faith that sustains her, even as she questions some of the decisions of her elders. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement--and secrets that have been held too long. Filled with gentle romance, The Choice opens the world of the Amish--their strong communities, their simple life, and their willingness to put each other first. Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in a series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.
With a vibrant, fresh style Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman torn between following the man she loves--or joining the community of faith that sustains her, even as she questions some of the decisions of her elders. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement--and secrets that have been held too long.
Filled with gentle romance, The Choice opens the world of the Amish--their strong communities, their simple life, and their willingness to put each other first. Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in a series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.
That's not the case in Suzanne Woods Fisher's "The Choice," an edgier Amish romance with more complicated characters, conflicting values and even an unfolding mystery. Unlike the novellas, Book I of the Lancaster County Secrets series does not fully affirm Amish brand faith. Carrie has plans to run off with Solomon, who secretly signed a contract with the Lancaster Barnstormers. Then her father dies, and decides to stay and protect her young brother from their cruel stepmother. She marries another both to escape the household and to spite Sol. Soon she's a widow fighting to maintain a farm while attracting attention from the bishop's simple-minded son, the ex-con cousin of her dead husband who offers her a different take on God, and the regretful ballplayer. This book avoids stereotyping the Amish, but it caricatures its two non-Amish characters. Both are obnoxious; one is also criminal. In the end, the score is Amish, 2; English, 1.
RT Book Reviews
Fisher kicks off a refreshing new series, Lancaster County Secrets, with characters that are strong, both in body and spirit. They also have weaknesses that develop into strengths with the choices they make.
The newest entry to the growing ranks of bonnet fiction writers is Fisher, who has written Amish nonfiction (Amish Peace). This Lancaster County tale centers on Carrie Weaver, who marries an Amish man for convenience though her heart is committed to another. Carrie struggles to care for her hemophiliac younger brother as she lives with the consequences of her own choices. The outline is promising, but the execution flawed. An intriguing heroine shows the author's potential, but major problems compromise the book's overall merit. The plot creaks too loudly; a few too many characters die to complicate the action, and the character who poses the biggest threat is more a caricature than credible villain. Minor charactersan oversized lovable ex-con, a harpy stepmotherlikewise mostly serve plot rather than populate a convincingly drawn world. The language can get adjective-laden and trite (The air had grown thick and heavy). Bonnet fiction devotees might be able to overlook some problems, but this is not a strong new offering in the subgenre. (Jan.)Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Located in: San Francisco Bay Area
Submitted: December 02, 2009
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a wife to Steve, a corporate guy, and a mom to four kidstwo boys and two girls. Add to that one son-in-law! Im almost at the empty nest stage my youngest is a senior in high school. And yes, I have mixed feelings about an empty nest! How did it happen so quickly? Gardening and cooking are two of my favorite hobbies but the top of my list is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. My youngest son talked me into this activity after we returned from living in Hong Kong for four yearshe wanted a dog and my husband is not a dog-guy. So my son found a compromise a temporary dog with a noble purpose! Our first dog, Arbor, graduated and was partnered with Jon, a college student. Were now on our seventh (!) puppy. Its like eating a potato chip you just cant stop at one.
What was your motivation behind this project? My relatives on my mother's side are Old Order German Baptist Brethren, also known as Dunkards. (Note to readers: NOT Drunkards. Dunkards!) That's where my interest in Anabaptist traditions began. My grandfather was born into a family of 13 children, started his career as a teacher in a one-room school house in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and ended it as one of the very first publishers of "Christianity Today." We called him "Deardad" even though he was a very stern fellow. Still, Deardad's life inspired me to write this book.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? There are many themes in The Choice--forgiveness, the danger of secrets, and trying to do the right thing. Carrie, Sol, Mattie, Abel...they are a work-in-progress. And each one is trying to find their way to God.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Many of the subplots were real stories that I learned about as I researched "Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World." We have so much to learn from the Amish--there's so much more to them than bonnets and buggies. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the choices they make in the course of their day. Choices like forgiving others easily. And realizing God is sovereign over large and small matters.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? I love to read all kinds of books. Well, I dont like to read darkly themed books which rules out, pretty much, all of Oprahs Picks. My favorite authors are Madeleine LEngle, Phillip Yancey, Anne Lamott, W. Dale Cramer, Lynn Austin, David Kopp, Catherine Marshall. I admire beautiful writing prose with a touch of poetry, plot twists, surprise endings. Thats how these authors (and other fine writers) have influenced me Im inspired to aspire to improve my own craft. I hope each book I write is better than the one before it.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: With every book I write, I hope to draw the reader closer to God. I dont ever want to hit anyone on the back of a head with a 2x4 (metaphorically speaking, of course) but I hope a reader finishes a book wanting to know more about this almighty God of ours.
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