Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog! You may not think you know me, but I have a feeling we are very much alike. I am the woman in the long skirt and bulky sweater sitting cross-legged on the library carpet reading the hardback vintage classics one can only find on the bottom shelf, back row. You will also find me searching through the online catalogs of publishing companies and chatting with authors on forums. I love the smell of fresh paper in a new book, and the smell of dust on a vintage classic. I love the classics, Christian fiction, short story collections, and those unique finds that keep me up until the early hours of morning when I finally fall asleep with the book still open on my chest. I am, however, a careful reader. I notice missing details, glaring plot flaws, and characters who suddenly have drastic personality changes halfway through the novel and I do not hesitate to discuss these issues in my reviews. I am honest and believe I am fair so please don't take my criticism personally and don't hesitate to contact me about your next book. I also enjoy a good, long chat with other readers and often learn from these experiences. Comments are always welcome. You will find more about me in the right hand column and more about what I look for in books in the left. I hope you enjoy your time here! --Darla Sue

Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Review: The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Julia Lapp is a determined young woman who knows what she wants in life, including marriage to her handsome childhood friend, Paul Fisher, but every time the bee keeper comes to town and talks to the young men in the community, Paul and his friends postpone their wedding plans.

Roman Troyer, the bee keeper, has lived a life of freedom over the past few years, selling bees to the farmers in the springtime and traveling to exciting places during the winter season. He has a reputation for influencing other young men to pursue their dreams, dreams that do not include wives, children, and a life as a farmer.

Roman knows the young women in this Amish community refer to him as "Roamin' Roman," and he's also aware of Julia Lapp's frustrations over her postponed wedding. His apologies to Julia somehow lead him to an agreement to assist the Lapp family while Julia's father regains his strength, and his presence in their home creates an emotionally confusing situation for Julia, Roman, and Paul.

The Lapp Family

When I first picked up this book, I assumed I would read about a young couple falling in love. I did not expect to fall in love with this family, but they are so charming, compassionate, and dedicated to God and to each other, that one cannot help but love each one of them.

The true beauty of this book is its descriptive details of each member of the Lapp family, as well as those who influence their story. Suzanne Woods Fisher dedicates as much love and care to her characters as her heroine, Julia Lapp, places in the stitches of her quilts, creating a work of art that will surely appeal to many generations.

The Keeper is the story of a family, a family that doesn't hesitate to show their dedication and love for each other. It is an inspiring approach to contemporary romance with compassionate family interaction. It is the story of the precocious little sister, M.K., who tries to do right, but somehow always ends up in trouble, and middle sister Sadie, who struggles with her self-esteem as she gradually recognizes that God has granted her the gift of healing. It is the story of Menno, the compassionate brother who cares for the little creatures on the farm.

It is also the story of Amos, a single father fighting the illness that is ravaging his body, worried about the fate of his four young children, but willing to place his trust in God, and the story of Fern who mysteriously and miraculously arrives at the Lapp farm when she is most desperately needed and in spite of her meddling, irritating ways, becomes an absolutely essential member of the household.
It is refreshing to read a book where God's love is an integral part of the plot and not dropped in as an afterthought. God's influence on the Lapp family is as obvious to the reader as their love for each other, which creates a deeply touching story. When I finished reading The Keeper, I realized I wanted more. I wanted to sit at the table and listen to Roman teach M.K. about bees. I wanted to watch Julia patiently stitching her quilts. I wanted to help pick the fruit from the trees in the orchard, tend the garden, play with the puppy in the barn. Most of all, I did not want this book to end!

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Reading the stories of Suzanne Woods Fisher, it is easy to understand the current popularity of Amish fiction, of a lifestyle filled with love and compassion, a world we all long for. Fisher knows this world well. Her interest in writing about the Amish way of life was inspired by her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Her grandfather was also the publisher of Christianity Today magazine.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has a gift for storytelling, and it shows in The Keeper, but this is not her first book of Amish fiction. She currently has 18 books of fiction and nonfiction in print, including The Waiting, a finalist for the 2011 Christy Award; The Choice, a finalist for the 2011 Carol Award; Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life, both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year in 2010 and 2011 respectively. She also hosts a weekly radio program called Amish Wisdom and is a columnist for the Christian Post.

  • Fisher, Suzanne Woods. The Keeper. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Grand Rapids, Michigan: 2012. ISBN-10: 0800719875, ISBN-13: 978-0800719876
  • Fisher, Suzanne Woods. Official Website.
I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group. However, I was not asked or required to write a positive review. The opinions I express are my own and in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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