Monday, February 25, 2019

Review: Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Heidi Reads... Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 5 stars / It was amazing


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.

Amos and Fern Lapp allow Luke to live at Windmill Farm under two conditions. First, Luke must make a sincere apology to each person he's hurt--a four-page, single-spaced list. 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 . . . that isn't so simple. It's gut-wrenching.

And his list keeps growing. Izzy Miller, beautiful and frustratingly aloof, also boards at Windmill Farm. Luke's clumsy efforts to befriend Izzy 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.

My Review

I love this author's books for the deep themes she deftly explores. Normally I want romance to be the focus of a book, but the author did such a fabulous job showing the redemption journey of Luke and how he changes. I love the balance of subtle nudges and more attention-getting epiphanies that contribute to the opening of his eyes, the development of his conscience, and compassion for others. It was so thought-provoking and I appreciated that it was not an instant or overnight change, but a more realistic shift over many experiences and talks with mentors. He learns from the wisdom and examples of several people in the community- David Stoltzfus, the bishop, Amos, Fern and Izzy who he lives with at Windmill Farm, Teddy Zook and Annie Smucker who he works so hard to make amends with. Even though the story begins with Luke full of flaws and a flawed perspective, he wasn't completely unlikeable, and it helped that David had faith in him. I was really rooting for him and it was gratifying to see him get in touch with his emotions, comprehend the consequences of thoughtless choices, and experience the sweetness of forgiveness. There is some romance with his challenging friendship with Izzy, and I'm hoping we will see more of them in the next book!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

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