Excerpt: Bekah gulped, gathering her courage. "You said moving to Weaverly would give us all a fresh start. Right?"
Mom's lips pinched briefly, but she nodded.
"So why can't that mean a fresh start in more than just where we live? Why can't we do something else new, like wear shorts when it's hot outside? Or buy a swimsuit - it doesn't have to be a two-piece - and go swimming in the public pool like other kids? Or maybe even cut our hair instead of piling it under these scratchy caps?"
As Bekah spoke, her voice rose in both volume and speed. Bottled up questions poured out fast before Mom could interrupt and tell her to stop fussing. "We moved away from Arborville and all the people of our fellowship. We're in a brand new place where nobody knows us. Not even the Mennonites who came from Ohio really know us - just a little bit from helping carry our stuff into the house. Do we have to dress this way and . . . live in an old house to make God happy?"
Bekah ran out of words. She plunked into the nearest chair exhausted. She peered up at her mother, who stood silent and unsmiling before her. Another thought filled her mind, and she spit it out before she lost her nerve to share it. "Why is it so important that we be Mennonites? Mr. Roper isn't Mennonite anymore, and he seems okay. Wouldn't we be okay if we decided not to be Mennonites, too?" When Hope Blossoms, pg 74-75.
Back Cover: Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her three children. But her new neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have an Old Order Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life.
Yet when circumstances throw Amy and Tim together, they form a friendship that surprises them both. Will past hurts always be a barrier between them, or will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?
My Review: Amy Knackstedt wants a fresh start for her family, but is she making the right choice reaching out to her neighbor, a former Mennonite? Will it help her children or hurt them? I enjoyed Sawyer's book. Kim's characters share frustrations and fears, pain and promise that are common to all of us. I really liked the way that Sawyer's characters came to understand that belief isn't just a list of dos and don'ts but an attitude of serving and honoring God from the heart, whether you are Mennonite or not.
My Recommendation: I recommend this book to readers of Mennonite fiction, and fans of Kim Vogel Sawyer.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.