Wednesday, September 14, 2016

3 Generations Are Loving This Amish Author

We can't wait to chat about our most recent reads with our friends, can we.  And we look forward to our next book club gathering, or the rockin' monthly link-up at Anne's place.  

But what could be better than sharing books that have captured your heart with your very own family?




Suzanne Woods Fisher's Amish writings are making the rounds through three generations here in Massachusetts these days with Mom {in her 80s}, my baby sister, Marilyn {in her 50s}, my oldest daughter, Kristin {in her 30s}, and I swapping volumes of fiction back and forth and comparing notes on who's read what.  It's just been plain fun for mother to share books with daughter who shares books with sister who shares books with granddaughter ... well you get the drift.

It's a pleasure to welcome you to our family powwow today.  None of us are particularly fond of the camera so I promised not to share pics if they'd participate.  But be sure they're lovely women, each of us relishing a relaxing page-turner at the end of a long day.




So ... grab yourself a coffee as we chat together.  As always, I've added links so you can check out specific books on Amazon {I get a few cents a book if you buy}.  None of my dear sparkling conversationalists have read the others' responses, and I've taken the liberty of throwing in my two cents here and there in blue print.




Here goes ...

#1.  The four of us have been talking about Suzanne Woods Fisher and her books!  Who of you found her in the first place ... and how'd you hear?

Mom:  A year ago I ordered a book by David Jeremiah from Christian Book Distributors and in ordering I noticed a 3-books-in-1 volume about Amish life by Fisher and the price was either $2.99 or $3.99.  There was also a book The Heart of the Amish which was talking about forgiveness for $2.99.  My ears picked up and I ordered them both.

Marilyn:  I found one of her books in our local library around a year ago, read it and loved it, but then couldn't remember the author's name!  I was at Mom's right before vacation a few months ago and told her I was looking for something to read while I was away.  I took both her books.

Kristin:  I've been looking for some good, clean reading and my mom mentioned that my grandma had been reading a series by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  I absolutely LOVE her writing!  

#2.  There are a number of authors out there who write Amish fiction.  What makes Fisher's work unique?

Mom:  She's not the typical writer of this type of book and I found she was writing very positively about their beliefs and how their spirituality worked out in their daily lives.  She didn't talk negatively about their lifestyles.

Marilyn:  I have read many Amish / Mennonite / Quaker books over the years.  I have enjoyed most of them and they have been quick reads.  Sort of a Christian Little House on a Prairie - easy to read, life was simple then, no technology, family oriented.  As soon as I started reading Fisher's books, they were different.  Her descriptions are so detailed, you feel as if you are in the kitchen with her characters or out in the fields, smelling the fresh meadows, fruit trees, cow manure {gross, Marilyn!}.  

She also doesn't fantasize that this choice of lifestyle is easy.  The kids moan and complain about not wanting to do their chores.  Washing clothes by hand takes all day and the sisters try to get out of doing their part of the work.  It is realistic - I can relate to it {sounds like us growing up, huh?}.  

Their faith comes across real.  They question God when they don't understand why things happen.  Teenagers have real emotions like jealousy, insecurity, not feeling pretty enough, nervous around boys or girls.  In one story, the main character was chosen as a minister and he was reluctant to do it because of the demands on his time and family.

Kristin:  I've only read one Amish fiction book before this and I just couldn't get into it.  Suzanne's writing is light reading and entertaining.

#3  Your favorite book so far ... and why.

Mom:  I love The Inn at Eagle Hill series ... I felt like I was living right in the inn and was sitting at their table.  Fascinating.

Marilyn:  Don't know the name - ex-boyfriend supposedly killed in the war, but his death ends up being wrongly identified.  Meanwhile, his brother's wife dies and the ex-girlfriend falls in love with the brother and becomes a teacher / mentor to the children {is this a tad confusing or is it just me?}.

Kristin:  I've read 3 of her books, and the one that really got me was when a very dramatic and unforeseen event happened.  I just sat there and cried!  SPOILER ALERT  SPOILER ALERT  {I don't want to give it away, but it was when Menno died and gave his heart to his dad.}

#4  We've got three generations talking here.  What is it about Fisher's work that seems to resonate no matter what the reader's age?

Mom:  Their day to day life is just like ours with its frustrations and joys, their concerns for each other and wanting to be able to help.

Marilyn:  There is something in each story that everyone can relate to.  Making your home into a bed & breakfast due to financial struggles, the loss of a spouse, a child with a stuttering problem, the crops that get ruined by a storm, moving to a new town and having to find new friends.

Kristin:  There are characters of all ages, she covers so many different topics, she touches on many stages of life.

#5  Anything else you want to add?

Mom:  In each book, she weaves in a delightful addition.  I learned about bee-keeping and making honey, falconry, basket weaving, the sky at night, natural remedies, baking.  I have not read any Amish books in a long time but when I did, each one seemed just like the previous one ... until I read this author.

Marilyn:  I'm in the middle of The Heart of the Amish, short stories about forgiveness in everyday life.  That is what allows them to forgive the major things we hear about like after the murder of the children in the schoolhouse a few years ago and the community ministered to the widow of the killer.  It takes a lifetime of living at peace to be able to do that with God's help.  

This can be used as a devotional book - there is a lot to learn.  She calls the first part of the book "Everyday Friction" - all those small annoyances that we need to forgive.

Kristin:  As long as you like this genre, it's fabulous!  I like how Fisher integrates Christian principles throughout the book without being preachy.  SPOILER ALERT  SPOILER ALERT  When she talked about Menno's dad accepting Menno's heart, she wove in how it was similar to our relationship in Christ. 






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chatting about books with

32 comments:

  1. We have quite a few of her books here in our library at school. Two of our girls are really into Amish fiction, and one of them got to go back east (to Missouri, I believe), and visit an Amish community. She was thrilled. It made me chuckle at the irony of a Native American being fascinated with the Amish way of life ;).

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    1. There is a fascination with the unfamiliar, isn't there! And yes, these are great books for our teens. If my two oldest granddaughters weren't athletes / artists / mathematicians, I'd be sending these books their way ... and then would change the title of the post to 4 generations!

      So good to see you again, Anita!

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  2. Loved this, Linda! I don't really have anyone to share books with - my reading is attuned to stories of survival against grim odds, for the reason you know. It keeps me motivated.

    But I loved the repartee, and what's WRONG with the smell of cow manure, anyway? Our house is on open rangeland, and my Christmas story, "Angela", is inspired by my friendship with a cow who helped me up when I slipped on ice and hurt my back. She saw I was in distress, and offered me a horn to get turned to the point where she could use her snoot to get me to my feet...and then she walked me back to the house.

    Cow manure? The scent of heaven, the scent of love.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/09/your-dying-spouse-206-pneumonia.html

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    1. 'Cow manure. The scent of heaven, the scent of love.'

      I guess I should have checked in with you before hitting the publish button, pal! You sure provided me with a much catchier eye-grabbing title.

      Cow manure. And 'repartee.'

      What a post this is turning out to be!

      ;-}

      {P.S. ... don't let that pneumonia get you down, ok?!}

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    2. It's a lovely post, Linda. The heart you have for Christ shows through in everything you write. There are times that your words have pulled me back from the abyss of despair.

      You make a difference. A big difference.

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    3. And that, my friend, is the power of doing community together, even if the souls that connect are a lifetime away.

      Glad you're well enough to be traveling around online. That's always a good thing, isn't it ...

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  3. What a fun idea to interview your family about Suzanne Woods Fisher! I've read her books - except the one about Menno. I'm going to have to check it out. Our ladies at the church where I work are big Amish fiction fans.

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    1. Hi Jerralea! I look forward to hearing what you think of that Stoney Ridge Seasons series ... I'm on the last book right now and it's been a sweet journey.

      ;-}

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  4. Like the picture of the books in the antique quilt! Very homey! I like the survival in the wild against grim odds, books also - like Andrew mentioned. Nothing like a good blizzard to increase your prayer life!

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    1. And do you love Tim's tool box that I found in the corner of the basement and confiscated to be my very own?!

      I suppose you're singing Andrew's praises because he loved your reference to the fragrance of cow manure ...

      ;-}

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  5. I have never heard of this author or read any Amish fiction but I love when books can appeal to people in different generations. This was a great idea for a post, to share your different family members' thoughts on the books.

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    1. Hi Lesley! Do you have some Scottish family saga books you'd recommend? My dad was from Scotland and I know the family would love to get their hands on that kind of genre ...

      ;-}

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    2. I don't think I've read any Scottish family saga books, but I've heard people recommend Christine Marion Fraser's books so they might be worth a look.

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    3. Cool! I'm writing down her name even as we speak. Thanks!

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  6. This is so cool, Linda. Three generations reading the same books. :) I love Amish fiction. I have read some of Suzanne's books, but this series doesn't sound familiar. I looked up her site and found there are more I haven't read. The nonfiction about forgiveness that your mom mentions sounds interesting as well. Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh I'm glad you found some you haven't scooped up yet, Trudy! She has a few more coming out in the next few months ... and I'm happy that our public library keeps them coming.

      Let me know what you think after you read another one, ok?

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  7. Awesome post, Linda! I look forward to checking out some of her books just from reading the dialogue that you and your family have shared. Thank you and GOD bless you, Beautiful! :-)

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    1. Welcome back, Tai! It's so good to have you here ...

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  8. Nice! I think I'm gonna have to add this to my growing list of books to read.

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    1. I know, I know ... that list just keeps on growing, doesn't it!

      ;-}

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  9. Hi Linda, I had to read 3 or 4 articles leading up to this post😅
    I miss my session with you last year. What a life! Schedules, running errands,and generally trying to get a post up at least once. But I'm fine right now. Over the course of nearly two years I have learnt something from you! And it's most important that I enjoy writing but not under unnecessary pressure to meet up with crazy demands. Yes sometimes it is information overload with so many "how to dos".
    I'm not sure I have read Amish fiction recently. Right now I'm into management books.
    Hugs and blessings to you and your family

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    1. Gosh, you are busy, friend! I hope you'll find your writing to be a soothing island in the midst of all the demands swirling 'round.

      And maybe you'll be able to sneak in a bit of light reading in between those heavy management books!

      ;-}

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  10. I love how you have the various generations perspectives on a book! And what a blessing to have the girls in your family share the love of reading too. I am checking out these books for my book club now!

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    1. Do tell what you guys are reading at book club, Lynn! I've been missing the one I left behind last year ...

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  11. Intriguing manner of reviewing a book. I miss my book club too, so enjoyed your discussion. I will check the author out--I read so many books at times Amazon has to remind you==HEY, YOU ALREADY BOUGHT THIS BOOK!
    Blessings, Friends

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  12. Hi Linda! I go through a tear on reading, and then don't pick one up for months. This summer I read quite a few books, and it was so fun. To lose yourself in the story, it's a lovely experience isn't it?
    How fun that you can share your love of reading with your family. (Great pic of the empty seats! I think my sisters would react the same way, not wanting to be published on a blog site.) Thank you for sharing your conversations :)
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. I'm with you, Ceil ... sometimes nothing will do except to lose yourself in someone else's story.

      Maybe it's there that we get recalibrated somehow ...

      So glad you're back! Still!

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  13. Your post is SO creative. I love, love, love the interview style you presented this week. What a joy! Keep up the great work, Linda...and I seriously have 3,587 books on my reading list now. There are not enough hours in the day for all these wonderful reads. I may have to push this one up on the list;)

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  14. I've always been intrigued by the Mennonites and Amish folks. I wonder how their inner lives and relationships play out, so Suzanne's books sound like they would satisfy my curiosity and more, Linda. I love that you and your mom, sister and daughter are in a book club of sorts together. What a great idea! And it's great that you are now in a location where this can happen, right? God is good!

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    1. Well, we're not as close distance-wise as I would like ... and there's still a daughter that's way down in Maryland that I wish was closer, much closer.

      The older we get, the more we treasure family. That's one thing I've found ...

      Thinking of your family tonight, friend ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda