Monday, August 27, 2012

‘The Haven’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher – Book Review

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Anyone who has been reading my book reviews for any length of time knows that I have had a fascination with the Amish community since I was a young girl. Therefore, one of my favorite authors is Suzanne Woods Fisher, who specializes in writing about the Amish. I love her for her writing, but I also love her for the person that she is in the virtual world! I have never met her, but I hope to do so one day! Then my suspicions about her being a beautiful person will be confirmed!

‘The Haven’ is book 2 in her ‘Stoney Ridge Seasons’ series.

Here is the synopsis of this novel:

          Spring brings new life, young love. And second chances            to Stoney Ridge.
On a warm spring day, Sadie Lapp returns home to her quiet, unassertive life in Stoney Ridge after spending the winter in Ohio.
Gideon Smucker, an awkward schoolteacher has been in love with Sadie since childhood and eagerly awaits her return. But does Sadie feel the same about him?
Will Stolz, a charming and impetuous college student, has been banished for a semester and sent to babysit endangered peregrine falcons nesting at the Lapp farm. He’d rather be anywhere else…unless he befriends Sadie.
As the hopes and ambitions of these three young people converge, life in Stoney Ridge may never be the same.
Once again, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher intrigues and delights with a story that explores the bonds of friendship, family, and true love in this captivating series.

Here is the biography of this wonderful author (who is also a beautiful lady!):

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, The Keeper, A Lancaster County Christmas. The Lesson is coming out on January 2, 2013. Suzanne has also written nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and  Amish Values for Your Family. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp; the first one is Life with Lily (The Adventures of Lily Lapp). Suzanne is the host of internet radio show Amish Wisdom and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such. She lives in California.

All of my favorite elements of a Suzanne Woods Fisher novel – amazing character descriptions, the wonder of God’s creation, etc… - are all here in ‘The Haven.’ Here is an example from her pen/computer:

He [Gideon] overhead someone describe him once as a young man without deep feelings. He did feel deeply, he knew he did. But what he felt was so confusing and required so much work to figure out, and then even more to get it to the surface and express it, that it was easier to keep quiet and concentrate on writing, something he could see. He imagined all kinds of sweet things he wanted to tell her [Sadie]; how there were times in church when a beam from the sun caught her hair and glinted and he thought she looked like an angel. How much he loved those pronounced dimples in her cheeks. And those freckles that covered her nose and cheeks. He knew she hated them and tried to get rid of them with lemon juice, but he wished she wouldn’t because he liked them. And her laugh… it was like the sound of wind chimes. He sorely missed Sadie, as much today as when she left four months ago. (pp. 20-21)

I loved the description of the first meeting between Sadie and Will:

Standing this close to the intern, Sadie saw that he had blue eyes. Really blue eyes, framed by thick brown lashes and strong straight brows darker than his hair, blonde hair that swept into his eyes. He was sunburnt and needed a shave, but he was quite nice looking, sort of rugged. He was wearing jeans, dirty at the knees, and a plain white T-shirt under his short-sleeved khaki shirt. He tipped his cowboy hat to them, smiled, and went on his way. He had the kind of smile that could have melted a glacier. (p. 42)

This passage gives us an insightful view into the psyche of Sadie, when she describes Gideon and imagines how a life together with him would look like:

….It wasn’t right to compare Will to Gideon. Comparing a Plain man to an Amish man was like comparing apples to oranges, deserts to oceans, elephants to lions. But everything felt so serious with Gid. So awkward. But then, she was awkward too. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe they were too much alike. In her mind flashed a vision: she and Gid at a table, surrounded by awkward children. An entire awkward family. She shook her head to clear it of that image. Since when had she ever given serious thought to marrying Gideon Smucker? No! Never! But maybe someday. (p. 166)   

One of the neat elements of Sadie’s character is her ability to heal using natural remedies. I am a big advocate of God’s treatments versus men’s. I picked up a lot of good tips along the way; here’s one:

As the baby slept, Sadie went into the kitchen to blend some herbs into a remedy that could be brewed as a kind of tea. It was a mixture to break up colds that Deborah had taught her to make: ground ginger and cayenne pepper. A pinch of that, added to a mug of hot water, apple cider vinegar, and honey, sipped throughout the day, could shorten a cold’s duration. Sadie sneezed twice as she stirred the mixture. Just sniffing it, she thought, could clear the sinuses. An added benefit to the remedy! (p. 170)

I definitely plan on trying that the next time a cold comes on!

God is always at the forefront in Suzanne’s novels. There are several examples of how God’s ways are the best ways (i.e., forgiveness, Romans 8:28, etc…). Here is Sadie sharing the truth of God’s healing powers with Will:

Only God is the true healer. That was the phrase Sadie often said, especially when people came to her for remedies, which they were doing more and more. Hardly a day went by when someone wasn’t seeking her out for help. Will worried they were taking advantage of her because she didn’t charge them, but she said it brought her pleasure to help others. And then she would always say, “After all, only God is the true healer.” (p. 217)

As always, I was charmed and enchanted by this Suzanne Woods Fisher novel! Every one of her characters is so engaging. She does a wonderful job of fleshing out the characters and making them real in her readers’ minds. I would love to meet all of them – if they only were real, and not a figment of Suzanne’s wonderful imagination! I greatly look forward to what happens to Sadie, Gideon, Will and Mary Kate, among others, in book three of the series! ‘The Lesson,’ which focuses on Mary Kate Lapp, is coming out on January 2, 2013. Hurry, January!!

This book was published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I am happy to be participating in the blog tour from the LitFuse Publicity Group.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Hi Andrea! How do I even begin to say thank you for such a lovely, thoughtful review of "Haven?" You took such care--pulling out pieces from the story that illustrated a character. I hope we do meet someday! I always look forward to your reviews and your wall posts. Blessings to you, Andrea. Warmly, Suzanne

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