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March 2011

Genre City Review: The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Search by Suzanne Woods FisherTitle: The Search (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 3)
Author:  Suzanne Woods Fisher
Publisher: Revell
Genre: Amish Fiction
Date: January 2011
ISBN: 978-0800733872
Reviewed by: Lisa J. Lickel


This story led me to examine the depth of my faith and my ability to forgive.

God orchestrates marvelous coincidences. When Lainey O’Toole’s car breaks down in front of a bakery needing help in Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania, on her way to culinary school, she can only laugh and make the best of the situation. She’s hired immediately by Mrs. Stroot and settles in for the summer. Lainey’s visit to Stoney Ridge isn’t just a coincidence, however. Stoney Ridge is her childhood home and Lainey wants to confess a long-held secret to her former neighbor, Bertha Riehl, before starting a new life in New York.

Meanwhile, Jacob Riehl, who left Lancaster County for Ohio after the tragic loss of his wife, answers his mother’s summons to send his daughter Bess to visit for the summer. Bess is a typical teenager who would rather sleep late and lag at chores—not how readers imagine a young Amish girl would act. Bess has a lot of growing up to do. When the worlds of Bess and her quirky rose-growing, word-twisting, and hard-loving grandmother Bertha collide, everyone comes out a winner. Bertha Riehl is one of my favorite fictional characters; her plot to entice her son Jacob home is just a delight.

The Search is a story of coming home and finding faith. It’s a story of truths found and told—and some best left untold.  Ultimately, Fisher’s wonderful addition to her Lancaster County Secrets series is a revelation of grace. This story led me to examine the depth of my faith and my ability to forgive.

Fisher’s characters are appealing and charming without being altruistic. Their feelings, failures, and actions are realistic. I enjoyed this journey back to the 1960s more than the second book in the series. While it’s not hard to guess the secret, the story feels less contrived than The Waiting. Readers who enjoy Amish fiction will find The Search a fine example of the genre.

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