This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Book Review - "The Choice" by Suzanne Woods Fisher

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

This is the first Amish book I have finished reading from the beginning to the end. I tried an Amish novel a few years ago, but couldn't get passed chapter one. Therefore, my finishing it should say a lot about this novel. It grabbed my attention--the way it was written, the intriguing story plot, and the engaging characters. One of the things that surprised me about this book was the fact that it contained an element of suspense to a murder mystery. There was one plot twist I didn't see coming and I love it when a novel does that.

The heroine is Carrie Weaver, a grieving woman with a broken heart who is determined to care for her hemophiliac brother even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. The hero is released from prison, not a typical Amish hero either. There are a few criticisms on the number of deaths that took place in the first half of the book and Emma's decision at the end of the book, Carrie's step-sister. I think it is these unique circumstances that appealed to me as a reader. It's what kept me from laying this book down as I have other Amish fiction.

Deaths happen in real life, sometimes too many at once. Been there, experienced that. It changes you. It forces decisions--sometimes decisions we don't want to make. Carrie reacted no differently than she should have. I applaud her character. Also, I disagree with the reviewer who said Emma's decision wasn't realistic. Who are we to determine what is realistic in a person's life, especially a character of fiction? People we would never expect to marry certain individuals--do marry those we least expect. How many times have young couples chosen to go against their parents and their whole family to be with the one they love? It happens all the time. My parents did it. My mother didn't see her family for six years because of it--and it was completely out of my mother's character as she was always the responsible, level-headed one. Someone who believes Emma's decision is unrealistic--isn't being realistic.

The romance progresses at a steady pace. It's realistic and appropriate. I was invested in the characters and wanted to see them win. You see the characters struggle with their idea of faith--traditionalism versus a freedom available in Christ. The hero became a born again Christian while in prison, but he grew up Amish. He brings fresh ideas about faith to Carrie's life. If you enjoy Amish fiction with an element of suspense, I would encourage you to read The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It's a great book!

One thing I would like to say is this--even though I'm a fellow author, I do not know Suzanne Woods Fisher. We have never met nor conversed by email or on writing loops--that I can recall. I downloaded this novel on my Kindle and decided I wanted to give Amish fiction another try.

The Back Cover
With a vibrant, fresh style Suzanne Woods Fisher brings readers into the world of a young Amish woman torn between following the man she loves--or joining the community of faith that sustains her, even as she questions some of the decisions of her elders. Her choice begins a torrent of change for her and her family, including a marriage of convenience to silent Daniel Miller. Both bring broken hearts into their arrangement--and secrets that have been held too long. Filled with gentle romance, The Choice opens the world of the Amish--their strong communities, their simple life, and their willingness to put each other first. Combined with Fisher's exceptional gift for character development, this novel, the first in a series, is a welcome reminder that it is never too late to find your way back to God.


The Choice on Amazon

5 comments:

Hi Jennifer!

Thank you very much for your thoughtful review of "The Choice."

I really appreciate the points you drew out--Emma's decision, as well as how death changes a person.

Will look forward to reading your work! Warmly, Suzanne

For a while I was on an Amish kick, but then I got a few that were complete duds. There seems to be some good ones out there, but I'm so tentative these days.

Suzanne, You are very welcome! Congratulations on all the contracted novels coming out.

Suzanne, You are very welcome! Congratulations on all the contracted novels coming out.

MJ, It can be disappointing when you read a few great ones and then they don't seem to measure up after that. I think that is why reading a variety is most helpful.

If we read the same subgenre straight in a row, we are bound to get weary of it and some won't live up to the same expectation. Yet, if we read other stuff and take a break, then come back to that genre, it may hold up just as well as the others. Just a few random thoughts I'm sharing.