Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'The Choice' by Suzanne Woods Fisher - Book Review

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For as long as I have been familiar with the Amish and their lifestyle, I have been fascinated with them.  When I was a child, my family and I visited Pennsylvania and the Lancaster 'Pennsylvania Dutch' area (which is a misnomer; they are actually German - 'Dutch' is a derivation of 'Deutsch,' the German word for 'German').  I have also visited Amish country in Ohio (the Berlin area) and Shipshewana, Indiana, which is also well known for a gigantic swap meet.  I have read books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction.  I also considered them to be a pure and holy people.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has expertise in the subject of the Anabaptist culture (of which the Amish are a part).  Her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

Book One in the Lancaster County Secrets Series, ‘The Choice’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher, tells the story of Carrie Weaver, who lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  She grew up as an Amish, but is leaning toward leaving it all to marry her boyfriend, Solomon Riehl, who is a pitcher on the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team (a real-life team in the Atlantic League of professional baseball).  However, Carrie’s father, Jacob, has reservations about Solomon, and certainly would not approve of Carrie marrying Sol and leaving the church.   

Mrs. Woods does a wonderful job of showing the calmness and peace that is evident in the lives of the Amish.  She also points out the fact that they focus a great deal on rules and regulations, and don’t necessarily focus on relationship between God and man, which is what Christianity is all about (or is supposed to be).  One of the other characters in the novel, Abel Miller, who grew up in an Amish community in Ohio, began to follow Christ when he spent some time in prison.  He lived for a while as an Englisher (the term the Amish use for outsiders aka the rest of us!) and relocated to Carrie’s Amish community in Pennsylvania.  He was judged by some (for following the Lord His own way) and encouraged and loved by others.

Redemption is another primary theme in this book.  Mattie, Carrie’s best friend, made the observation that many of her friends and family members were stuck in feelings of guilt and self-blame.  People who are so filled with regret about the past, things that can’t be changed.  That point resonated with me.  Guilt and shame seem to be a real problem to people who grew up in a religion which focuses more on sins than on the love of God and His forgiveness.  Instead, He wants to forgive our sins and keep moving forward – in His strength.

It is interesting that when I first learned about the Amish, and was so intrigued and placed them as a culture on a pedestal, I was in a similar place in my walk with the Lord.  I did not necessarily know Him; I was following the rules that were imposed by the church in which I was raised.  Now I see that, for many of the Amish, they are following traditions, not the Good Shepherd.  I pray that they will come to know Him, and that they will see, as Abel did, that God is Love, not tradition and rules, and that He wants to establish a personal relationship with each one of them.  I pray that this book will find its ways into their hands.

I loved this book - it is sweet and precious - and look forward to reading the next books in the Lancaster County Secret series, as well as doubling back, and reading the titles I’ve missed!  

In addition to this title, Mrs. Fisher is the author of the following novels:

Copper Star (Copper Star Series, Book 1)

Copper Fire (Copper Star Series, Book 2)

 This book was generously provided to me for review purposes by the author, Suzanne Woods Fisher.


Suzanne said...

Hi Andrea! Thank you for reading and reviewing my book! I really appreciate the thought you put into the story, and how you applied it to your own life. Really interesting review! Warmly, Suzanne

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Suzanne -
Thanks for stopping by! I truly enjoyed your book, and look forward to the next one in the series - plus the ones that came before!
Blessings -

Nora said...

I would love to have a chance to win Choice. It looks really good. and if you are also giving away Amizh Peace I'd like my name in the had fo that too.

Thanks so much for the review. Good!


Nora St.Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction

Andrea Schultz said...

Hi Nora -
Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind words!

Unfortunately, there is not a giveaway for this book here. There are a couple ongoing giveaways, plus there will be one tomorrow (sneak peek!).

There are lots of other opportunities, as the blog tour for 'The Choice' is happening this week. You can find a list here:

Blessings -


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