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The Choice (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1)

October 22nd, 2010

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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.


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Fiction Books 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.
http://www.bookpool.org/115-the-choice-lancaster-county-secrets-book-1/

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  1. Lollipops
    October 22nd, 2010 at 21:04 | #1

    Rating

    THE CHOICE is the first book in Ms. Fisher’s Lancaster County Secrets series. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Carrie as she struggles to find herself among many sudden, shocking changes, but I think Carrie definitely came out ahead, learning to lean more and more on God as each event unfolds.

    Some of the events in the first third of the book were quite unexpected and broke my heart. But while I would have liked to not have read about some of the events that transpired, the book ultimately had a happy ending, and I was sad that it ended. I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE CHOICE and am looking forward to Ms. Fisher’s second book in the series, The Waiting, coming in October 2010.

  2. Meg
    October 23rd, 2010 at 17:21 | #2

    Rating

    I quit reading “Amish romances” years ago. Not really my absolute favorite genre. Particularly since most authors of such books seem to think the only possible resolution to any plot is for the heroine to “follow her heart” and leave the Amish church.

    The Choice is a little different. I still could live without the romance elements included. A story doesn’t need kissin’ and huggin’ to be good, really and truly. But anyway, aside from that little pet peeve of mine, I found the plot of The Choice to be both interesting and inspiring. Carrie Weaver plans to elope with a young man who is leaving their Amish community for baseball, but runs into heartbreaking and life-altering circumstances that changer her plans permanently. Carrie suffers, loves, forgives, and seeks God’s will within her tight-knit Amish community. Some people may find it hard to believe that such drama is to be found among the Plain People. However, having close friends in a couple of different Plain groups, I assure you, it’s entirely possible. They’re human like the rest of us, with all the trials and sorrows that come built in with human life and relationships. Just minus the bluetooths, texting, facebook, and SUV’s.

    Author Suzanne Woods Fisher writes as a descendant of Old Order German Baptist Brethren folk on her mother’s side, from whence her interest in Plain People came. After college, Suzanne was a freelance writer for magazines and became a contributing editor to Christian Parenting Today. Her work has been featured in Today’s Christian Woman, Marriage Partnership, Worldwide Challenge, among others. She took the plunge into books a few years ago and now she’s hooked. To learn more about Suzanne, visit her website at http://www.suzannewoodsfisher.com If you’d like to read other’s reviews of this book, you can follow the blog tour (linked). [...]

    Thanks to litFUSE publishing for providing me with this book to review!

  3. Andrea Schultz
    October 25th, 2010 at 00:20 | #3

    Rating

    For as long as I have been familiar with the Amish and their lifestyle, I have been fascinated with them. When I was a child, my family and I visited Pennsylvania and the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. I have also visited Amish country in Ohio (the Berlin area) and Shipshewana, Indiana, which is also well known for a gigantic swap meet. I have read books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction. I always considered them to be a pure and holy people.

    Suzanne Woods Fisher ([...]) has expertise in the subject of the Anabaptist culture (of which the Amish are a part). Her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

    Book One in the Lancaster County Series, `The Choice’ by Suzanne Woods Fisher, tells the story of Carrie Weaver, who lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She grew up as an Amish, but is leaning toward leaving it all to marry her boyfriend, Solomon Riehl, who is a pitcher on the Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team (a real-life team in the Atlantic League of professional baseball). However, Carrie’s father, Jacob, has reservations about Solomon, and certainly would not approve of Carrie marrying Sol and leaving the church.

    Mrs. Woods does a wonderful job of showing the calmness and peace that is evident in the lives of the Amish. She also points out the fact that they focus a great deal on rules and regulations, and don’t necessarily focus on relationship between God and man, which is what Christianity is all about (or is supposed to be). One of the other characters in the novel, Abel Miller, who grew up in an Amish community in Ohio, began to follow Christ when he spent some time in prison. He lived for a while as an Englisher (the term the Amish use for outsiders aka the rest of us!) and relocated to Carrie’s Amish community in Pennsylvania. He was judged by some (for following the Lord His own way) and encouraged and loved by others.

    Redemption is another primary theme in this book. Mattie, Carrie’s best friend, made the observation that many of her friends and family members were stuck in feelings of guilt and self-blame. People who are so filled with regret about the past, things that can’t be changed. That point resonated with me. Guilt and shame seem to be a real problem to people who grew up in a religion which focuses more on sins than on the love of God and His forgiveness. Instead, He wants to forgive our sins and keep moving forward – in His strength.

    It is interesting that when I first learned about the Amish, and was so intrigued and placed them as a culture on a pedestal, I was in a similar place in my walk with the Lord. I did not necessarily know Him; I was following the rules that were imposed by the church in which I was raised. Now I see that, for many of the Amish, they are following traditions, not the Good Shepherd. I pray that they will come to know Him, and that they will see, as Abel did, that God is Love, not tradition and rules, and that He wants to establish a personal relationship with each one of them. I pray that this book will find its ways into their hands.

    I loved this book, and look forward to reading the next books in the Lancaster County Secret series, as well as doubling back, and reading the Suzanne Woods Fisher titles I’ve missed!

    This book was generously provided to me for review purposes by the author, Suzanne Woods Fisher.

    Reviewed by Andrea Schultz – Ponderings by Andrea – [...]

  4. B. Slaughter
    October 25th, 2010 at 14:16 | #4

    Rating

    I love Amish books. If I was someone that believed in past lives then I would definitely say I must have been Amish in some past life. But I don’t so I can’t. But I think I could easily become Amish. As long as I find a group of Amish that believe that we can have assurance in our salvation through Jesus.

    There isn’t an Amish book out there that I won’t read and I have found very few that weren’t really good. This one is no exception. The Choice is the first book in the Lancaster County Secrets by Suzanne Woods Fisher.

    The Choice follows along the same lines most Amish books do. The classic story between a young Amish boy and girl. Carrie’s one true love, Solomon, has dreams to leave the Amish world and play baseball. She even agrees to go with him. Just as a baseball scout discovers Soloman and signs him up tragedy strikes Carrie’s family. She can’t leave her family behind. Soloman desides this is a once in a lifetime chance and leaves for stardom and leaves Carrie behind.

    After not hearing from Soloman, Carrie decides to go on with her life and marry a man, Daniel, that her father had tried setting her up with before. It is a marriage built on convience, for both parties, not love. Just as they do start having feelings for one another Soloman comes back into the picture and tragedy strikes again. This time Carrie is a widow. Soloman tries picking up the pieces with Carrie but she just can’t leave with him so he is gone again.

    Not long after Daniel’s death a cousin shows up. Abel comes to claim his family’s land, where Carrie and her younger brother are living. There are lots of twists and turns and more love triangles.

    This is a gripping story. One that will keep you interested from the beginning. I loved this book. If you love Amish books or just classic love stories then you will love this too.

    Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

    *A copy of this book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker PublishingGroup, for review.*

  5. A. Pichea
    October 26th, 2010 at 17:53 | #5

    Rating

    A few months back I read and enjoyed the non-fiction book “Amish Peace”. This book is the first in a new series, Lancaster County Secrets, by the same author. Moving from non-fiction to fiction, Suzanne Woods Fisher tackles the daily life and struggles of the Amish people in Lancaster County (PA).

    The book starts off with a twist, followed by another twist, followed by yet another twist. It seems Carrie Weaver can’t catch a break. Death, tragedy, and disaster seem to follow her wherever she goes. Yet, she holds firm to her faith and her people – the faith and family of the Amish pull her through.

    A page-turner, this book moves quickly, drawing the reader into Carrie’s life. Fisher has made the transition from non-fiction to fiction flawlessly.

  6. L. Slawson
    October 27th, 2010 at 14:51 | #6

    Rating

    This is the first in Suzanne’s new series, Lancaster County Secrets. There are so many Amish fiction books out there and they all seem the same, but they are always enjoyable to read. Carrie is in love with Sol and they are planning to run off together, leaving behind their families and community. Why? Because Sol has just started playing baseball with the Lancaster Barnstormers. After the sudden death of her father, all that changes. She can’t leave her brother and community, so Sol leaves without her, breaking her heart. She decides to marry Daniel to get away from her controlling step mother. Just when they start to get close, he is killed in an accident by a teenage girl driving too fast. She is then left with the responsibility of taking care of her little brother, grandmother (in law) and the farm all by herself. She has no idea how she will manage. Sol still wants to be with her but she hasn’t forgiven him for leaving her behind. Then comes along Daniels’ cousin, who has just been paroled from prison for causing the deaths of several people by a fuel accident. There are plenty of twists and turns in this book. You will find people you want to hate and then find out they are human and have a soft side after all. Everything isn’t always as it seems and Carrie finds herself and true love along the way.

  7. Anonymous
    October 29th, 2010 at 22:15 | #7

    Rating

    I’m a guy, and guys probably aren’t supposed to read Amish romance books – but oh well. If I did what everyone else thought I should do, or not do, I’d never have any fun. I have read a few in my lifetime. One of my favorite vacation spots, second only to The Outer Banks, is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, so I do enjoy books that take place there, such as this one.

    I haven’t read a lot of Amish books of this type, but I do think it is one of the best I have read. Move aside, Beverly Lewis, you have some new competition!

    There is a lot of Amish beliefs/traditions in the book, but through one of the characters, there is also shown grace, and a side of God the Amish don’t normally see – and I am afraid some of us non-Amish never see – the God of love and grace. The book is a good story – very likable characters, and it has its low places and high, sad and happy – but among the great story is the message that we can know we are going to Heaven, and God does love us and want a relationship with us – not just a far off worship of fear.

    This is Suzanne Woods Fisher’s first novel, and I would say she hit one out of the ballpark with this one.

  8. Emereld2
    October 30th, 2010 at 11:54 | #8

    Rating

    It is too bad that Fisher resorted to several heavy-handed plot devices, because she had an interesting premise for her story.

    Carrie certainly was not a stereotypical Amish woman, nor was her stepmother, Esther. Having the hemophilia angle was an interesting twist, and it was well used.

    We didn’t get to know some of the important characters nearly well enough, and I agree with the reviewers who have complained about “four deaths in less than one hundred pages”. It was almost enough for me to not even finish the book, but I gritted my teeth and plowed onward.

    I had to repeatedly suspend disbelief, and that shouldn’t be necessary when reading Christian fiction. Abel made a backwards conversion – it would have been more believable for him to end up a Mennonite – and Emma’s choice was beyond unbelievable.

    I am going to withhold any type of recommendation until the second book of the series is released. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Fisher trusts herself and her characters enough to let the story unfold with just a little bit of guidance. She creates interesting characters that we want to get to know and watch grow. Unfortunately, The Choice fell short.

  9. C. Janes
    October 31st, 2010 at 17:20 | #9

    Rating

    This was a great new Amish story from a talented new author. Because there are so many Amish stories out right now that are so similar, I was really impressed that this one shared some different facets of the Amish world. One facet was the family business that centered around an apple orchard, and the difficulties that go along with the changing seasons. Next was the addition of the minor league baseball that, along with many other English activities, is frowned upon by the Amish community. Those two things may seem ordinary, but they really just made the story a little bit more interesting.

    The only complaint I have about the book would be the first 100 or so pages just had way too much going on in them. Had I been in Carrie’s shoes after dealing with 3 deaths, a marriage, and losing someone close that I loved, I think I would’ve suffered a mental breakdown. There’s only so much that people can endure in real life, and it was just a little depressing seeing all these emotional events happening in rapid succession in a fictitious story. After those first 100 pages, though, the book actually started to get good, and it felt like the author had actually figured out the direction she wanted the story to go.

    Suzanne Woods Fisher is a great storyteller, and is someone to be on the lookout for in the future for more Amish fiction. I am anxious to read the next book in the series, and read more about the characters from Lancaster County that have been shared so far.

  10. Trisha Turner
    November 1st, 2010 at 15:49 | #10

    Rating

    I can’t even begin to say enough good things about this book. This is the first of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books that I’ve ever read and I can definitely say that it won’t be the last. The Choice is set in an Amish community in Lancaster County, PA. The characters each add their own uniqueness to the stories that Suzanne unfolds for the reader. I found that I became Carrie as I read the book and so I laughed and cried right along with her. The emotions that the characters felt were well portrayed and any reader, whether they’ve gone through similar circumstances or not, can relate to what each character must be feeling at any given time.

    This book was easy to read, and hard to put down. It has two parallel running story lines which break the book up a bit so that you don’t become bored with what any one set of characters is doing. In one story you are following Carrie’s life and in the parallel story you are following the life of Solomon. What two different lives they are and yet there is still a common connection of love between Carrie and Solomon.

    Another great advantage to reading this book is to learn a bit more about the Amish lifestyle. There are a number of things that Suzanne writes about in this book that are new concepts to me. If you aren’t overly familiar with the Amish ways, then you’d probably enjoy this book just for its educational value. I definitely recommend this book.

    Available now at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

  11. Jamie Driggers
    November 3rd, 2010 at 22:08 | #11

    Rating

    OK, I’m not going to start this by saying “I love Amish” novels, and I’m growing tired of saying “Not your traditional Amish novel,” even though their both true-ish. Ish, because, well, I’ve run into an Amish novel or two that I decidedly did not like, much less love and because I decided “traditional” and “Amish novel” no longer belong as a phrase. They were traditional when only Beverly Lewis wrote them. Or when I only knew about Beverly Lewis Amish novels. (Back when I fell in love with Amish novels…and when I lived among the Mennonites.) Now that I live closer to the “English” (Christian English, of course) world and have met Cindy Woodsmall and Suzanne Woods Fisher (figuratively, of course), I don’t think there can be a “traditional” Amish novel.

    I’m OK with that.

    I found this to be another book I couldn’t put down. Loved it. Body count was a bit high (I think it was five. FIVE dead people which seems extreme for a non-suspense novel…that I guess was a bit suspenseful now that I think of it. Mysterious, at least. But I don’t think it was billed as suspense or mystery. The back cover says Fiction–Contemporary.) Nonetheless, it was a very good read, especially if you dig Amish novels (traditional or not). It left me rather hungry for my Mennonite hometown (that is decidedly not Amish, but is peaceful).

  12. LifeVerse
    November 5th, 2010 at 11:54 | #12

    Rating

    In the story, we read about prayer caps, baptism, evening meals, prayer life and marriage from the Amish perspective. A few times, the characters speak in the Amish language, and the author translates this into English for the reader. The setting includes homes without electricity, carriages and horses, and a barn raising in contrast to the modern hospital, automobiles and even celebrities. As you read the story, Carrie matures from a young women involved in forbidden love, into a mature woman leading her family through difficult decisions and challenges. Non-Amish characters in the story are referred to as “the English.” They bring technology into this setting, as the Amish characters face the English characters and reveal their personal strengths and weaknesses. The book is enjoyable to read.

  13. Crystal Fulcher
    November 6th, 2010 at 02:04 | #13

    Rating

    This is a wonderful book. From the moment I picked it up I was drawn in and when I would put it down the next time I picked it up I was swept up again. So much is going on in this book, yet it’s not overwhelming. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and look forward to seeing them again in future books of this series. I especially enjoyed Carrie. I felt I was right there with her going through the decisions she had to make. Ms. Fisher does a wonderful job in getting into the mind of a young Amish woman and to the mind of the collective community. There is so much I didn’t know about the Amish religion and community and I feel I come away from this book having learned something. I think we can all learn something from the way the Amish put others first. They take care of their own and it is wonderful to witness.

    Carrie struggles some with her faith in the book, but truly she understands that God knows all and will take care of her. So much goes wrong in her life, yet she stands with God, only struggling with what she should do with her life. It’s a beautiful story of giving up your life to God who does know what will happen and how He will take care of you.

    I also enjoyed the love story in this – it is so simple and beautiful to witness. Not only the romantic love but the community love and how differences are put aside in the end to find the love. Ms. Fisher has written a very engaging story that is full of love, mystery, and characters that will make you feel at home and make you never want to leave the quite Amish town in Pennsylvania. Thankfully we get to return in October when the second book in the series, The Waiting, is released.

  14. Karen Jones
    November 6th, 2010 at 05:55 | #14

    Rating

    As one who loves books but gets easily bored I must say I couldn’t put The Choice down. Just when I thought it was becoming predictable there were good twists that kept me going. Ms. Fisher has a great way of using phrases to add color such as “(s)he decided this must be what it felt like to tuck an octopus into bed. An arm or two kept popping out.” This book also gives you some insight into the Amish community, an added bonus!

  15. readaholic
    November 6th, 2010 at 07:42 | #15

    Rating

    sooo Good!

    lol I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I would. I’ve never read Amish fiction before, but Suzanne Woods Fisher made me fall in love with it! This incredible book just had my heart thumping and my eyes watering! So engaging, I couldn’t put it down!

    The story is basically this girl falls in love with a boy, but he decides to leave the group while he is on his rumspringa (their time when they get to experience the outside world if they want to before comitting to the church) and she ends up marrying someone else… it goes through love, forgiveness and about the choices we make that it’s never too late to find ourselves with God… I even cried, and it takes a lot of me to cry in a book!

    Whether your Amish or not this book has a lot to offer, the characters show depth and the emotions run raw in this book. I loved how much turmoil the main character when through and yet she learnt from it. So often we wonder why we go through things and we learn about forgiveness and God’s real grace through it all.

    It was sort of ironic that one of the books I just finished, Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris started off with the discussion of rumspringa, so the bit I had been learning about the Amish fit in nicely to this book and gave it more flavor for me.

    If I could give a story 6 cherries I would! She’ll be on my top author’s list!

    ** review copy provided

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