Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?
As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and 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 farm hand 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? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check.
When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?
Suzanne Woods Fisher’s interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised Plain in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne has a great admiration for the Plain people and believes they can provide wonderful examples to the world. In both her fiction and non-fiction books, she has an underlying theme: You don’t have to “go Amish” to incorporate many of their principles–simplicity, living with less, appreciating nature, forgiving others more readily, trusting in God–into your life.
When Suzanne isn’t writing or playing tennis (badly!) or bragging to her friends about her grandbabies (so cute!), she is raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To her way of thinking, you just can’t take life too seriously when a puppy is tearing through your house with someone’s underwear in its mouth. Suzanne can be found on-line at: http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
I have a confession to make. I am not a huge fan of Amish fiction. Sometimes it is just too idealistic in its portrayal of the plain people. But . . . I am a huge fan of Suzanne Woods Fisher because though her genre of choice is Amish, she presents stories that are universal in their appeal and scope. Her latest novel, The Imposter, revisits Stoney Ridge where many of her novels are set. And while I love coming back to this Pennsylvania town and its Amish residents, this novel could really be set anywhere. The themes of grace vs legalism and true vs watered-down faith hit me where I live. This is a novel I can easily recommend.
The Stoltzfus family is struggling after the loss of wife and mother, Anna. David does his best to lead his children on the right path while leading the small flock of Stoney Ridge. But there is unrest in his home as well as in the community. Will David be able to hold on to what is important while facing an uncertain future?
The Imposter is told with humor and heart, and, as always, Suzanne creates wonderful characters. Full of quirks and personality they are anything but perfect, but they are certainly real. The Amish community of Stoney Ridge could be a church anywhere. It is facing the task of staying relevant in a fast-changing world. It, like so many other churches, is struggling to keep young people engaged while holding fast to God’s truth. There is always a danger of watering down the Gospel when attempting to make church more appealing. Grace is also difficult to extend when pride, greed, and self-righteous interests are held so tightly. This is the first book in The Bishop’s Family series. The Stoltzfus family is large and filled with interesting and intriguing members — there are lots of future stories to be told. I am definitely looking forward to reading more.
Audience: older teens to adults.
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(Thanks to Revell for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)