Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Book Details
Title: When Mercy Rains
Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer
2014, Waterbrook Press
ISBN:  978-0307731319
Genre: Christian Amish Fiction
Series: The Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy Book 1

Book Summary
She left, heavily weighted with secrets. But God reveals all things, in His timing. And He redeems them.
Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.

Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a strict faith community and a family that may not have forgiven her. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.

Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again and to have the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret – one that changes everything.

Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy – and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?

My Review
What a great book! I’ve read a lot of Amish fiction over the years and many times they start to feel similar, but this book is a touching book of loss and redemption, shame and forgiveness, loss and restoration. 

Set in a modern day Old Order Mennonite community, this book didn’t really touch on many of the traditions or customs of this particular community. I’m so used to reading about Old Order Amish that I had to remind myself that these were Mennonite, not Amish. I’m still unsure about the use of some of their modern conveniences in the Old Order, but I chose to not dwell on it too much because I liked the story so much.

This book is told from the POV of Suzanne, Paul, Alexa and Abigail, Suzanne’s mother. When the story begins Suzanne and Alexa are living in Indiana and are fairly content with their lives as-is. When Suzanne gets the call to go back to Kansas she only accepts because Alexa really wants to meet her extended family.

When they reach Kansas, Alexa is in for quite a surprise when her mother not only receives a cool welcome, but an embittered grandmother and a family that seems to be unraveling at the seams. Alex had built up this family, the farm and their lifestyle in her mind so much that she is a bit shocked with what they find when they actually arrive. What happened to this family to make them all so angry and bitter?

This story has a few twists that I didn’t see coming. Suzanne is holding on to a lot of secrets that she tries her best to hold on to, without outright lying which causes many wrong assumptions to be made. Abigail struggles with the return of her daughter who she forced to leave in shame so many years ago. With Suzanne’s return also come the feelings of self-loathing for how Abigail treated her daughter before she forced her to leave.

Can the truth and forgiveness heal hurts that happened 20 years ago? Or will dredging up the past only cause new hurts to those who are involved – then and now?

This book weaves an incredible story of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. While also showcasing the real consequences of our sins and how they can have a ripple effect to everyone and everything around us for years to come.   I really enjoyed this story and how real the author made the situation feel real and not contrived. There are actually some loose ends that were not completely tied up at the end of the book and I’ll be looking forward to the next installment of the series.

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Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for my honest review by Blogging for Books. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

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