Widow Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter, Beth, reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned 23 years ago---to meet the conditions of their Aunt Lisbeth's will. When a series of thefts raises suspicions against the "outsiders," can Marie prove their innocence? Has she stolen more than Henry Braun's heart?
Widower Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more? Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start? Bygones is book 1 in the Sommerfeld Trilogy. Other books in the trilogy include Beginnings: Book 2 and Blessings: Book 3.
KIM VOGEL SAWYER, a Kansas resident, is a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer, speaker, and lover of cats and chocolate. From the time she was a very little girl, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and seeing her words in print is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Kim relishes her time with family and friends, and stays active in her church by teaching adult Sunday school, singing in the choir, and being a "ding-a-ling" (playing in the bell choir). In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy.
Kim Vogel Sawyer's Bygones, the first book of the Sommerfield trilogy, the author stresses time and time again the value of simplicity. Marie, the heroine of Bygones, is drawn back to the Mennonite community where she grew up, when her daughter Beth is forced to live there for three months to claim a generous inheritance from Marie's aunt. The situation in the town of Sommerfield, Marie's childhood home, is complicated and fragile because Marie left the Mennonite group to follow a non-Mennonite trucker out of Sommerfield for love and marriage.
Beth, who was reared in a secular but morally-instructive home, feels trapped during her time in Sommerfield, and soon adopts a get the goods and get out mindset. Encouraged by the unfriendly greetings of family and friends from her mother's past, Beth begins to resent Sommerfield a resentment which soon pits her against Marie in a sizable mother-daughter conflict. Marie is forced to confront the people she left when she rode Beth's father's pickup truck out of town during her adolescence. While Marie's family and friends in Sommerfield feel that she abandoned them personally by choosing to live outside her faith community, Marie was subsequently made unwelcome by her own father, and feels that the lack of her friends and family's reaching out to her after her departure is inhospitable at best. As the tensions of Bygones grow, mother, daughter, and the residents of Sommerfield are all forced to re-examine their faith and clarify their motives.
Sawyer has started a trilogy with Bygones that is strongly grounded in godly living, full of dynamic characters, and is a great example of realistic characters dealing with plausible hurdles in a believable way. Add to this the fact that Sawyer's characters are unique, easy to relate to, and caught up in compelling conflicts, and any reader of faith-based fiction with threads of intrigue and romance is sure to enjoy Bygones. Meg D. R. Tepfer, Christian Book Previews.com