The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s newest book, The Return, centers around the Amish in Beacon Hollow, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1763 and is inspired by real events.

Betsy Zook and her little brother Johnny are captured by Indians and forced to march on a long, arduous journey, only to be separated at the end.

Ms. Fisher draws you into the story and doesn’t let you go. Even after the story is over, you relive the events.

I greatly enjoyed this story. The extensive research was very evident, and the story heart-rending and spellbinding. However, there were a few scenes (due to PTSD) that were deeply disturbing. Nonetheless, they were authentic to the circumstances. This is not your typical Amish tale. Intrigue, heartache, betrayal and revenge factor into the account along with redemption, forgiveness, love and hope.

The Return is book three of the Amish Beginnings by Suzanne Woods Fisher. However, I have not read the other two books, and I seriously doubt I would love Betsy or enjoy the book more had I read the other two stories first.

If you are looking for a fascinating story of early America with Amish as the protagonists, you need look no further.

I received this book from LibraryThing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

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Monday’s Mention

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When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you’ll discover how to

slow down
safeguard family time
raise children who stand strong in their faith
prioritize what’s truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy–without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a gem with Amish Values for Your Family. The book is divided into four sections:

Section One:   Children Are Loved but Not Adored

Section Two:   Great Expectations

Section Three: Daily Bread

Section Four:   Letting Go

Plus an Introduction and Epilogue. Each section has 9 or 10 short stories that begin with an Amish Proverb, followed by a true story illustrating the chosen value, a section called, Road Map: Getting There From Here, and ending with an anecdote entitled, In their own words.

The format makes it easy to read a story or multiple stories quickly or like a devotional you take time to savor. Even though the book can be read quite quickly, you will want to slow down and absorb all the truths presented.

The stories are sure to stir your heart and leave you wanting to adapt and implement many of the values illustrated into your own life and that of your family’s also. As Suzanne says, “. . . there is much we can learn from these gentle people about raising our families well: to help prioritize what’s truly important, to simplify decision making, to slow down as a family, to safeguard time together, and when age-appropriate, to let go.”

A sweet and endearing look at the Amish with practical lessons we can all learn from, Amish Values for Your Family will remain a book you will not easily forget and are sure to refer to over and over.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Choice

February 10, 2012

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s first book in the Lancaster County Secrets, The Choice, is a very enjoyable read.

The story centers around Carrie Weaver, an Amish girl, who through a series of unforeseen circumstances is unable to marry her true love, Sol Riehl. She settles instead for a marriage of convenience to Daniel Miller.

Carrie’s marriage to Daniel is short-lived, however, when he’s killed by an Englisher in an accident involving his buggy and a car. Carrie pulls her life together and carries on amidst numerous difficulties and hardships, comforted by her faith in God and best friend, Mattie Zook.  

The Choice does not follow the normal formulaic story of most Amish books.  Multiple plots and storylines keep you on your toes wondering what’s going to happen next.

A masterful blending of heartache, forgiveness and real life, The Choice leaves you eagerly anticipating the rest of the series and wanting to know more about everyone’s lives.

This is one of many books on my Kindle. I will be reviewing others in days to come.