The first book in the Zimmerman Restoration Trilogy, Sawyer writes the story of Susanne Zimmerman, a woman rejected by her mother who then sets out to build her own life for her and her daughter. Becoming pregnant at the age of seventeen, Suzy's mother sends her away with the promise that Suzy can return after she delivers and gives the baby to her cousin. But when Suzy doesn't return, her mother weaves a story of her "missionary daughter." Meanwhile Susanne, as she prefers to be called, builds a new life as nurse and secretly raises her daughter. Called home unexpectedly to care for her injured mother, Susanne walks a fine line between her family and the shame of being an unwed mother. Things intensify when her old beau is called upon to remodel the family home. Can Susanne keep the situation from boiling over before she can leave? Or will her family ties always be strained?
This is the first Sawyer book I've ever read. I was hesitant to try a new author, but the story quickly drew me in and I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. While this is an Amish/Mennonite book, the themes are very universal. It wasn't long before I forgot about the religion of the characters and was heavily invested in their internal struggles. Throughout this book, we're faced with questions of family, loyalty, forgiveness, and fear. Most of all this is a book about relationships: who we will fight for, who we will fight with, and how hard will we work to save a relationship.
This was one of the best Amish fiction books I've read in awhile. The author weaves a story that takes more twists and turns than you would think imaginable. Just when I thought I had this one figured out, the author would twist the story again. This book is definitely worth a read and I'm anxious the read the next in the trilogy.
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.