I have to admit that I can often grow weary of Amish fiction but I know I can count on Suzanne Woods Fisher to provide me with a solid story that will always hold my interest. “The Imposter” was no exception. My only problem is how to review it without spoilers.
Readers of Suzanne’s earlier novels set in Stoney Ridge will delight in the return to familiar places and characters but new readers will have no problem jumping right into her latest novel. As one might expect, readers get an intimate look into the lives of several featured Amish characters; however they might just learn a few surprising secrets this time. There are some rumblings among the church leadership and members with a couple of the men who want to make sweeping changes without input from others. Then of course there is the expected romance. Actually this time there are at least two of them, both of which progress naturally as the story progresses. In fact other story elements often take precedence over romance.
All-in-all, “The Imposter” is a very satisfying read with strong and likable characters and a well thought out plot that moved along at the perfect pace. Some elements of the plot were resolved nicely while others will continue on at least into the next book of the series. I cannot wait to read “the rest of the story”.
Note:Previously reviewed for Revell on October 26, 2015.
This book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a tale of love, uncertainty, and trusting God to write your story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Letters, The Calling, the Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children’s series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and connect with Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
GUEST POST FROM SUZANNE WOODS FISHER:
If you think you have a pretty clear idea of what an Amish bishop is like—stern, authoritative, patriarchal?—have another think. David Stoltzfus in The Imposter is warm, kindhearted, a reluctant farmer, and quite attractive!
Sound like an unlikely character for an Amish novel? Maybe so, but David Stoltzfus is modeled after a bishop I met, years ago. This real-life bishop might be the most intelligent, thoughtful, spiritually sensitive, and well-read man I’ve ever met. We spent a morning talking Bonhoeffer in his Spartan living room, warmed by his woodstove.
I wanted to present the character of a bishop that best represented this man I’d grown to admire. So when it was time to create a proposal for a new series, I suggested ‘The Bishop’s Family,’ starring David Stoltzfus who was loosely based on this particular bishop.
David Stoltzfus is a handsome, widowed father of six who runs a local bulk food store. His children are surprisingly nonconforming, outspoken, and fiercely protective of their clan. The real-life bishop is a farmer, happily married with four independently minded children, and looks…well, to be candid, he looks a little like Benjamin Franklin.
But here’s what they have in common: they both love to read, they love their families, and they love the work God has given them of tending a flock.
The Imposter begins as David Stoltzfus moves his family to Stoney Ridge for a fresh start, a new beginning. Things don’t start off well: his eldest daughter, Katrina, faces a crushing disappointment, his prodigal son Jesse has a bent for troublemaking, and then David realizes something fishy is going on in the little church.
A new life awaits the Stoltzfus family, but not the one they expected. Or wanted. But they are needed in Stoney Ridge, each one of them. Even Jesse. J
I hope you’ll feel as though you’ve made some new friends as you get to know David and his children. One thing I can promise: this bishop’s family will surprise you.
Once upon a time, many years ago, I could not get enough of the novels of authors such as Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. I loved those deliciously Gothic romantic mysteries with their constant sense of impending doom. I did not realize just how much I had missed reading those books until I got my hands on a copy of Sandra Byrd’s first novel in her Daughters of Hampshire series, “Mist of Midnight”. I literally devoured it and was impatient to read the next book of the series. Finally “Bride of a Distant Isle” arrived but I had to force myself to wait until I had fulfilled some other previous commitments before I could read it even though it beckoned to me every time I passed its shelf. Let me tell you, it was worth the wait!
Not only an orphan but also illegitimate, Annabel Ashton is at the mercy of her cousin who inherited the family estate. When she suddenly finds herself a virtual prisoner at Highcliffe Hall and learns that Edward has plans for her to marry a highly repulsive man, Annabel does not know where to find the help she needs. It becomes evident that there is no way to discern who she can trust – not even the man she has come to love. It was easy to get caught up in Annabel’s feeling of utter hopelessness and to hope again when she turned her situation over to the Lord. I loved learning of the people working behind the scenes on her behalf even when she felt the most abandoned.
Layer upon layer, the author has built a novel filled with so many twists and surprises that I became totally immersed in the story. Her descriptions of the house, its surroundings, and characters added to the perfect background atmosphere for the plot. One scene in particular was pure genius but I’ll leave other readers to guess which one. You just have to read it yourself.
I loved, loved, loved this book and once again am impatient for the next installment. I believe most readers will feel the same if they give it a chance.
A copy of this book was provided for review by the author.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
An unforgettable romance set in Victorian England, Bride of A Distant Isle is the engrossing story of Annabel Ashton, who fights to save her family home and her mother’s honor while trying to figure out if the man she loves wants her—or just wants to use her to achieve his own ambitions.
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.
Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum, she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house gets packed for sale, it begins to reveal disquieting secrets. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.
She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell’Acqua. But does he have Annabel’s best interests at heart?
And then, a final, most ominous barrier to both her inheritance and her existence appears: a situation neither she nor anyone else could have expected. Will Annabel regain her life and property—and trust her heart—before it’s too late?
Sandra Byrd has published four dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including her two historical series with Howard Books. For nearly two decades, Sandra has shared her secrets with the many writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington area.
To most people, Evelyn Brandt lives an enviable life. Married to a senator, she has a fabulous home, clothing, jewels, and moves among the elite. Although thankful for what she has, Evelyn feels out-of-place in her own life. Her husband has molded her into the wife he thinks his position requires with no thought of her desires. When it all comes crashing down on her, Evelyn realizes that even her husband was not the man she thought he was and perhaps had never been.
Although “Change of Heart” is primarily Evelyn’s (Evie’s) story, it is also Trevor Whitley’s story. It doesn’t take the reader long to figure out that Evie has always been the love of his life but because he believed his best friend was a better choice for her, he stepped back and avoided the new couple as much as possible. When he learned Evie’s devastating news, he couldn’t help but come to her rescue and stand by her side as more and more shocking facts come to light. But will the secrets of the past catch up to him and prevent another chance at love?
“Change of Heart” is an emotionally charged story that reaches into the depth of its characters’ hearts. Its many ups and downs kept me wondering how anything could ever work out for either Evelyn or Trevor. An excellent story of love, forgiveness, and redemption, this novel is one to warm the reader’s heart. I strongly recommend it and “Paper Hearts”, the first book of the series. I look forward to the next installment and hope I will not have to wait too long for it.
This book was provided for review by The Tyndale Blog Network.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions—for which he has little regret.
As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best…
Courtney Walsh is the author of Paper Hearts and the Sweethaven series. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, was a New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller and a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. In addition, she has written two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives with her husband and three children in Illinois, where she is also an artist, theater director, and playwright. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com.
“The Calling” is a powerful sequel to Rachelle Dekker’s debut novel “The Choosing”. This futuristic story is told this time from Remko’s viewpoint and takes place approximately two years after the end of the first book. Leadership of The Authority has changed and public executions have become more frequent as a means to discourage rebellion among the citizens. Remko has become the acknowledged leader of the rebellion but the freedom he gained has not turned out exactly as expected.
“The Calling” is a dynamic story with a fast-paced plot and constantly developing characters. Plenty of danger and suspense, loyalty and betrayal, and more than one surprise kept me turning the pages late into the night. Themes within the story were thought provoking and led me to question the direction our own society might be heading. I thought the author handled the character development well, especially Remko’s anger born of fear as well as his eventual realization of the importance of his faith in himself and in God’s plan for his life.
Thus far I have enjoyed both books in the series and look forward to the next installment.
This book was provided for review by The Tyndale Blog Network.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Remko Brant had never been so sure of anything as escaping the Authority City with Carrington Hale. But bravado comes easy when you have nothing to lose. Now a husband, father, and the tactical leader of the Seers, Remko has never had so much at risk.
As he and his team execute increasingly dangerous rescue missions inside the city, they face growing peril from a new enemy. Recently appointed Authority President Damien Gold claims to be guiding a city shaken by rebellion into a peaceful, harmonious future. But appearances can be deceiving. In order to achieve his dangerous ambitions, Gold knows he must do more than catch the rebels—he must destroy the hope their message represents . . . from the inside out.
With dissension in his own camp—and the CityWatch soldiers closing in—Remko feels control slipping through his fingers. To protect those he loves, he must conquer his fears and defeat Gold . . . before one of them becomes his undoing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. The Choosing is her critically acclaimed debut novel. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full – time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.
Q & A WITH RACHELLE:
In the book you talk a lot about surrendering to fear. What does this look like and how does this help us to not be afraid?
I think sometimes the natural reaction to fear is to hide from it, or try and push it away. It’s the idea that if we can’t see it then it must not be there, but we all know that unless dealt with the unseen things often come back to bite us. The only way to face fear is to walk through it; surrendering to Father God and letting Him reminder us of our true identity. Only then do we really see that the light within us is always greater than the fear we face.
Carrington struggles with the pain that comes from watching Remko miss the Truth that was so clear to her. What encouragement would you give to others that have loved ones who do not yet share their faith?
Everyone needs to take the journey. For some, truth comes more easily, and others have to struggle to see it. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you love miss the truth right in
front of them, but don’t forget that the Father is still God, and He holds them in His hand. So love those that struggle restlessly and trust that the Father is ever – present, even in the darkness.
The theme of identity from The Choosing continues in The Calling. Carrington reminds herself, “When you know who you truly are, you realize there is no war left to fight at all.” How does this statement apply to our Christian faith?
For me this is simply a reminder that God is still God. Regardless of my circumstance or how I view the world, the Father is constant and hasn’t changed. He has already won the fight, already conquered death, already set me free. It’s only when I forget who He calls me and who He is that I feel the need to fight against life instead of surrendering to Him and letting Him be God.
Playing the Part by Jen Turano is a 352 page book in the Christian historical fiction genre. It is published by Bethany House Publishers and was released on March 1, 2016. To purchase your own copy, click here
I always look forward to reading Jen Turano’s latest book and was thrilled to have a chance to review “Playing the Part”. I just hope I can do this wonderful book justice!
The third book in Turano’s A Class of Their Own series, “Playing the Part” features popular actress Lucetta Plum who finds herself forced to flee New York because of a man determined to make her his own – with or without marriage vows. Disguised and under cover of night, Lucetta and her dear friend Abigail Hart travel to the estate of Abigail’s grandson Bram. That my friend is where the adventure and hilarity really begins!
As Turano’s true fans know from the previous books in this series, Lucetta is just a bit eccentric. Well she has met her match in Bram who has to be at least equally unconventional. From his gothic and somewhat spooky mansion to strange and unexplained happenings within its walls and grounds, Lucetta is uncertain what to think about Bram. Honestly, the man is just too secretive to trust. There is absolutely no way she can fall for Abigail’s matchmaking efforts!
I loved the characters of Lucetta and Bram and it was fun to touch base with characters from the previous books in this series. I also loved the somewhat dark and mysterious story combined with frequent humorous scenes. Jen is uniquely talented in the way she manages to insert humor into a perfectly serious scene and makes it perfectly natural. Dialogue was often witty and I laughed often. Then of course there was the romance. It sometimes took a few detours along the way but the ending was perfectly satisfying.
Once again, I have to say that “Playing the Part” may be my favorite book by Jen yet! Of course I say that every time but my only explanation is that each one gets better and better. If you are not familiar with Jen Turano’s books, you have missed something special. Do yourself a favor and pick up “Playing the Part” or any of her other novels asap.
A digital copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucinda’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson’s estate to hide out.
Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.
Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can’t ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it’ll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author ofThe Ladies of Distinction series, and A Classof Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, will release in the spring of 2016, followed by a new four-book series, The Wallflowers. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by Susan Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. Her books may be found in most fine bookstores, or follow the Baker House Publishing link to find additional places to purchase her work.