Monday, January 17, 2011

The Search

The Search
Suzanne Woods Fisher
ISBN: 978-0800733872
January, 2011/298 pages/$14.99

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a talented author whose books I eagerly anticipate, and The Search may be her best yet. Bess Riehl and Lainey O'Toole arrive in Stoney Ridge just two weeks apart and though Bess's Amish background and Lainey's English upbringing seem very different, they have more in common than they realize. Twenty-five-year-old Lainey only intended to make a quick stop in this town from her past, but when her little car died and a tailor-made job fell into her lap, she ends up staying longer than anticipated. Bess, 15, is spending the summer with her Mammi (grandmother), ostensibly to help her recover from surgery, although the real reason comes to light before too many days have passed. I quickly fell in love with both Lainey and Bess, and even grew to love Bertha, Bess's Mammi, whose no-nonsense demeanor hides a heart that loves deeply, as well as the other characters--well, most of them! Suzanne Woods Fisher has seamlessly woven the various elements of this story together--faith, family dynamics, love, grief, secrets, compassion, forgiveness, community, and more--and the result is a stellar novel that absolutely kept me glued to the pages. The emotions were palpable without being sappy, and there were several unexpected turns within the story. This is simultaneously a deeply satisfying read and one that ended before I was ready to say good-bye.

Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many.

Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple awards). With help from an agent, she now has numerous books under contract with Revell. Also look for Suzanne's Amish non-fiction, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, as well as Amish Proverbs, and coming in Spring of 2011, look for Amish Values for Your Family. The Choice and The Waiting are the two previous books in the Lancaster County Secrets Collection.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at:

Suzanne Woods Fisher's latest installment of the Lancaster County Secrets, The Search,  is just out and to celebrate Suzanne is hosting The Search iPad Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive an iPad Prize Package worth over $500 and includes:
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form/s, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on February 3rd at Suzanne's Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party. (Did you know The Search takes place on a rose farm?)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter
Facebook Party:
Join Suzanne for the Everything is Coming Up Roses Facebook Party on February 3rd! She’ll be announcing the winner of the The Search iPad Giveaway, hosting a book club discussion of The Search, giving away copies of all three books and HEAPS of other readerly prizes! Including roses delivered to your door for three months for you AND a friend! Be sure to join us on Thursday, February 3rd at 5:00 PM PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST & 8 EST) at Suzanne’s Author Page.

Click here to see a list of those participating in this blog tour.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell and Litfuse Publicity Group as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this 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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April said...

This sounds so good and the more I read about it, the more I want to read the book!!

quilly said...

I loved this book! As I said in my own review, I read it twice! Once when it first arrived in my mailbox, and then again in its scheduled review time slot.

I also reviewed, "The Waiting" and these two books were so good I had to order "The Choice". I have just finished reading it.

I truly like that while all of these books are part of the same series, enjoying them doesn't necessarily require reading them in order.

Beth said...

And here is yet another book to add to my must read list. Thanks, Linda for reviewing all these books. I won't run out of things I want/need to read and have a list to point others to when asked!

Suzanne said...

Hi Linda! LOVED your review! I can't tell you how much I appreciate your comments and insights! Thanks for being such a support and encouragement in this book gig!, me, Austin, coffee.
Warmly, Suzanne

Cathy said...

A great review, Linda, I hope you don't mind my sharing it on Facebook. Suzanne is my friend on there.