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Monday, October 24, 2016

The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher - A Book Review

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     The Devoted is book three in The Bishop’s Family series. This book focuses on seventeen-year-old Ruthie Stoltzfus. Ruthie is being pulled in so many directions. Should she remain within the familiar surroundings of the Amish Community of Stoney Ridge, or should she pursue higher education outside of the community? Should she continue her relationship with handsome Luke Schrock in spite of his poor life choices which hurt so many around him, or should she pursue a relationship with Patrick Kelly, a guest at a local inn who is considering converting to the Amish? While it is wonderful to have choices, making them can be difficult and life altering.

     Patrick’s appearance has had an impact on Ruthie’s father, David Stoltzfus, the Bishop, as well. As Patrick contrasts what he had anticipated Amish life would be like with the reality of Amish life in Stoney Ridge, David is forced to face some realities as well. How has the last three years of prosperity made possible by the discovery of oil on land owned by Amish families impacted their community? Has the community’s faith become misplaced? Have their priorities been altered?  If so, what is the correct course of action? The questions with which David struggles should be questions each and every Christian should ask themselves, whether living in prosperity or not.

      Visiting Stoney Ridge again is like going home, finding out about new relationships, interacting with eccentric uncles, trying to please stern-faced aunts, oohing and aaahing over how the children have grown, and mourning those that are no longer there. Suzanne Woods Fisher allows us to see inside the Amish world, and helps us discover that we really aren’t so different, our challenges are often their challenges as well.

     Suzanne Woods Fisher shows a deep understanding of the Amish, and her love for these people shines through in her writing, while always remaining realistic, not romanticizing the Amish community. Her writing brings out a variety of strong emotions; sometimes gluing me to the story, unable to put the book down; other times causing me to put the book down and step aside for a moment. I would highly recommend this book to Amish fiction fans, and also to those who love to study human nature. Thank you to Revell Publishers and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing me with The Devoted in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.  

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