About the Book
Book: Mending Fences
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Christian fiction, Amish, Mennonite
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.
Luke Schrock is a new and improved man after a stint in rehab, though everyone in Stoney Ridge only remembers the old Luke. They might have forgiven him, but nobody trusts him. He has been allowed to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, he must make a sincere apology to each person he’s hurt. Second, he must ask each victim of mischief to describe the damage he caused.
Simple, Luke thinks. Offering apologies is easy. But discovering the lasting effects his careless actions have caused isn’t so simple. It’s gut-wrenching.
And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm, and Luke’s clumsy efforts to befriend her only insult and annoy her. Eager to impress, Luke sets out to prove himself to her by locating her mother. When he does, her identity sends shock waves through Stoney Ridge.
“A funny, heartwarming story of friendship, love, and the possibility of happily ever after.”—Amy Clipston, bestselling author of Seat by the Hearth
“Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a sweet and poignant story you won’t want put down. Definitely a must read!”—Kathleen Fuller, bestselling author of the Amish of Birch Creek series
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About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including the Nantucket Legacy, Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the author of several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor and Twitter @suzannewfisher.
Mending Fences is a unique story that takes an interesting approach at examining how the Amish live out forgiveness and reconciliation. As far as I can recollect, this is only the second story I’ve read that broaches the topic of alcoholism in the Amish community, however Luke’s trouble-making is what’s dealt with in the story more than the struggle with alcohol. Just out of rehab (for the third time), Luke is sent to live with another family in the Amish community due to his own family being away to help his uncle. Because they have another young woman living with them, Amos and Fern tell Luke that he will be sleeping in a room in the barn. While he’s not thrilled with his sleeping arrangements, he learns to live with them.
It was so refreshing to see a Bishop painted like David Stoltzfus. Although not in all cases, often in Amish Fiction the Bishops are characters to be feared and viewed more as disciplinarians than shepherds. David not only visited Luke in rehab, but he counseled him, encouraged him, and corrected him. His goal was clearly not just to punish Luke, but to see him grow as a man and follower of Christ. His hope was that Luke would not only change from his past, but learn from it. He came alongside Luke and encouraged him in his walk towards reconciling with those he’d hurt in the past and helped him process the changes in himself that came from those conversations. He was absolutely one of my favorite characters.
In the beginning of the book it says that while this is the first book in the series, many of the characters were introduced in previous books by the author. While I’ve read some of her other books, I haven’t read the ones that the other characters were present in. I didn’t have any issues reading this book as it is, but I won’t lie I wish I’d read the others first so I could have learned the pasts of some of the other characters. I really love the depth of development Suzanne puts into each of her characters, and it really makes them come to life in your mind. I just might have to go back now and read the other books they’re found in!
Another piece that I liked in this story, is that when Luke was supposed to be “mending fences” with those he’d hurt in the past by his immature actions, he was challenged to not only apologize, but ask how they’d been affected by them. I won’t spoil any responses, but it was interesting to watch him learn that while he thought a “prank” might not have been a big deal, it could actually have a huge impact on someone else in ways he didn’t consider. He grew not only through apologizing, but through understanding the damage he’d caused and seeking to make things right. The apology was just the first step.
I really enjoyed this story and will be keeping my eyes out for more releases in the series. I highly recommend to Amish fiction fans.
*I received a copy of this book through CelebrateLit and NetGalley. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
More from Suzanne
A Friend in Need
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” –Walter Winchell
Luke Schrock was nearly friendless. He returned to Stoney Ridge in Mending Fences after a stint in rehab only because his bishop, David Stoltzfus, strongly encouraged him. And everybody knows you didn’t say no to your bishop.
But nobody else in town wanted anything to do with Luke. They forgave him for the trouble he’d caused in his last downward spiral, the one that went too far. The one that even scared Luke. Forgiving him was the easy part. The Amish of Stoney Ridge were intentional forgivers. It was their trust—that’s what he would have to earn. Trust was a fragile thing. Once broken, it wasn’t easily mended.
Somehow, David was still able to look past the behavior to see the best of Luke Schrock. He didn’t stop there. He found a family who was willing to take Luke in, and he spent hours with him—at times as a mentor, at times as a father figure, but mostly as a friend.
A loyal friend can have a powerful impact. Consider those friends in the town of Capernaum, who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing—so determined to get to Him that they dragged his stretcher up onto a roof, broke through the roof tiles, and lowered him down. Can you imagine being in the crowd, listening to Jesus, as straw and tile pieces and branches and bugs started to drop down from the ceiling? A shocking display…of devoted friendship. And what a miraculous outcome for that paralyzed man!*
I won’t tell you how Luke’s story ends—only that he works hard to find ways to make amends to those he hurt, to regain trust. Especially the hard-to-earn trust of a brown-eyed beauty named Izzy.
Do you have a real friend like David Stoltzfus, who walks in when the rest of the world has walked out? Or maybe the better question, for you, for me, is to ask ourselves if we are friends to others like David Stoltzfus was to Luke Schrock. I know I want to be.
*This miracle is reported in three gospels: Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 9:1-8, Luke 5:17-26.
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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of an Amazon Kindle!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.