By Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Bishop’s Family, #1
A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . . .
Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.
What she doesn’t need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow’s farm just when help is most needed–and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She’s been deceived once before, and she isn’t planning on experiencing it again.
Read any book by Suzanne Woods Fisher and you will discover a gold mine, for hidden gems await you that can’t be readily seen on the surface. Rich characterization will always be found, but it goes much deeper than that. I think the best way to describe Suzanne’s writing is that she has her finger on the very heartbeat of life – joys, sorrows, dreams, heartbreaks, longings, temptation – all beautifully conveyed through the daily life of her characters.
The Imposter, book #1 in The Bishop’s Family series, brings us back to Stoney Ridge and familiar characters that we’ve come to love. Suzanne’s skilled writing flows effortless across the page and is filled with all the emotion, humor, unexpected twists, and spiritual depth that are signatures of her stories. While definitely entertaining to Amish fans, its appeal extends to any reader who enjoys a character-driven story that confronts life in a realistic way.
One strength of The Imposter is its vivid characterization, for Suzanne has a gift for describing this ensemble cast in a way that firmly implants them in your memory. Here are just a few interesting people you will meet . . .
- Hank Lapp, a wild-eyed fellow, who always seemed slightly off-kilter
- Edith Fisher, “a woman who didn’t like the wind to blow unless she told it which way to go”
- Five elderly sisters from the Sisters’ House who "had lived together for so many years that they had grown to resemble each other, wizened and bent as apostrophes and nearly telegraphic in their talk”
- Freeman Glick, who “always looked freshly ironed, with a touch of starch. Not his clothing; Freeman himself.” Freeman “would never let God interfere with the running of the church.”
- Birdy Glick, always cheerful, “liked by all but loved by none”
There are so many wonderful relational themes, particularly between Katrina and Andy, but David and Birdy would have to be my favorites. David stands out to me, personally and also as the type of spiritual leader that the world needs more of – quiet, compassionate, humble, a man who listened to others, especially his children, and could admit when he’d been wrong. Birdy was “an unadorned woman whose simplicity and good-heartedness made anyone else seem artificial and hard. He (David) felt as if he was waking up after a long winter’s nap to find that spring had arrived.”
Amidst all this are the spiritual gems that Suzanne seamlessly weaves throughout. It always amazes me how, for a people devoted to God and community, the Amish can be so gossipy and condemning of the spiritually wounded – and therein lies a message for all of us. But it’s the theme of God revealed in His creation that always touches me most in Suzanne’s stories. Particularly memorable is the scene where Birdy and David were watching a hawk in flight, “not fighting the wind, but embracing it. Recognizing it as God’s presence, engulfing us.” I’d like to end with this passage that vividly conveys God’s nature, as well as Suzanne lyrical writing . . .
David listened, and heard more sounds that shouted of God’s goodness. The distant stream that ran along the road of Windmill Farm, flowing day and night, never taking a holiday. It echoed of God’s faithfulness.
He saw the rock ledge where the falcon had made her nest, and he remembered how steadfast and solid God is.
He watched the trees dance in the breeze, and thought of how flexible and adaptive God’s Spirit could be, adjusting to the needs of every generation while still remaining unchanged.
He studied the plants, grass, and trees scattered in a chaotic fashion and remembered that in the chaos of life, God remained in the business of making beautiful landscapes out of our messes.
His eyes lifted to the sky, the blue, blue sky, and he took a deep breath of crisp morning air, a symbol that every day is a new chance to begin again.
The Imposter goes on my “best of the best” list, and I not-so-patiently await book #2, The Quieting, which releases in April.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author whose most recent novels include Anna’s Crossing and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California.
Thank you to Celebrate Lit and Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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