An Inspiring and Lyrical Look at an Amish Community Facing Modern Issues
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Series: The Bishop’s Family (Book 1)
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
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A heart once deceived should not be easily fooled again . . .
Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. But as her plans crumble before her eyes, she struggles to face an uncertain future. When a widow asks for help starting a new business, Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose.
What she doesn’t need is attention from Andy Miller, a farmhand who arrives at the widow’s farm just when help is most needed — and who always seems to say the right thing and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real or too good to be true? She’s been deceived once before, and she isn’t planning on experiencing it again.
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to Stoney Ridge for a tale of love, uncertainty, and trusting God to write your story.
The prologue of The Imposter imparts how David Stoltzfus came to Stoney Ridge. “Surprises,” we are told, “come in two shapes — good and bad. This one, though, felt indeterminate.” Though he knew not why, David woke in the night feeling led by God to leave the comfort of his known surroundings and enter the wilderness. After months of prayer, a letter came from Elmo Beiler, a bishop, inviting him to come and pastor with him, “Go, came the prompting.” The ‘wilderness’, it turns out, was Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania. So faithful and trusting, David packed up his family and moved to what seemed to be not a wild land, but Eden. Mere months later, Elmo, stricken with a massive heart attack, warns “Beware, David. A snake is in the garden.” And thus our story begins.
Don’t let the cover and book jacket fool you — The Imposter is not your run-of-the-mill Amish romance. The publisher synopsis suggests this release, Suzanne Woods Fisher’s first in a new series, The Bishop’s Family, is all about Katrina’s broken heart. If you go into this thinking you’ll find another sweet story of a heartsick young woman who meets her match, courts him, and finds her happily ever after, you’ll be mistaken. Fisher is telling a much more complicated tale. It’s David’s story, Katrina’s story (his daughter), and Jesse’s story (his son). Though summarizing it that way is a gross oversimplification. Fisher has combined several plot lines which will introduce you to many of the residents of Stoney Ridge. But don’t worry — she includes a helpful cast of characters at the front of the book, ensuring that a reader unfamiliar with her previous Stoney Ridge works can jump right in. I sure did!
This is a character-driven novel and you’ll love the characters — sweet earnest Katrina; wise and independent Thelma; tall and gawky, yet beautiful and bright Birdy; rebellious yet refreshingly funny Jesse; quirky but lovable Hank; steadfast and faithful David; and the rest!
Thematically, the novel explores many of life’s largest concerns, sometimes from both sides: love and loss, truth and lies, secrets, and uncertainty. Most of all, through her characters and their grappling for meaning and certainty, Suzanne Woods Fisher shows readers that it’s by trusting God that we’ll find peace and purpose.
I can’t go into more detail without venturing into spoiler territory, but I must say that in The Imposter Fisher’s Stoney Ridge vividly comes alive. In no time at all, you’ll feel at home in this community. It’s impossible to find a fitting comparison, but the vibrant strokes with which Fisher paints Stoney Ridge remind me of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Avonlea. Fleshing out both her characters and her setting, Fisher creates such verisimilitude that you’ll need to check the urge to consult maps of Lancaster County in hopes of meeting the residents of Stoney Ridge yourself.
— Dawn Teresa
5 of 5 Hearts. An Inspiring and Lyrical Look at an Amish Community Facing Modern Issues.
The Imposter is impossible to categorize. Calling it a romance ignores the mystery. Calling it a mystery doesn’t fit either. There are many elements to this tale — romance, mystery, drama, humor, and faith to name a few. Just as our lives can’t be summed up with one label, neither can this story, and that’s what makes it so appealing. The Imposter incorporates everything readers of Amish fiction love about the genre, while steeping its setting and characters in modern realism, to a richly satisfying result.