Mending Fences

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Luke Shrock makes a decision to return home to Stoney Ridge after his third round at rehab. Mending Fences is about second chances, learning forgiveness, and finding out how Luke's childish actions when he was young affected the people he hurt.

The characters of Luke and Lizzy were very real to me. The trials they both were going through as recovering alcoholics seemed both real everyday situations the authors explained very well. 

I loved the Amish plain references in the book and how both characters were adjusting to Amish life. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
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I'm so happy to have another chance to return to the Stoney Ridge Amish community! Mending Fences is the first book in Fisher's new Deacon's Family series, and it could be read without knowledge of her prior series, but longtime readers will love checking back in with some beloved characters, including Amos & Fern Lapp, David & Birdie Stoltzfus, UNCLE HANK, and main character (and former hooligan) Luke Schrock.

Mending Fences is largely Luke's story. Fresh out of rehab, he returns to Stoney Ridge ... basically because he has nowhere else to go. But as he tries to make amends with the people he hurt, he begins to realize how far-reaching his thoughtless actions were.

Luke lives at Windmill Farm with Amos & Fern Lapp, as does Izzy Miller, a young woman taken in by the Lapps while she contemplates becoming Amish. A couple twists regarding Izzy's identity (that tie WAY back to some previous novels) were predictable, at least to someone who has read all the previous books set in Stoney Ridge 😉.

Mending Fences is (finally) the story of Luke's redemption and return to faith, and it's filled with Suzanne Woods Fisher's trademark humor and emotional depth. One change I would make, though, would be to make the book just one chapter longer. It ends rather abruptly, and, if the preview of the next novel is to be believed, there's a time jump between the novels that fast forwards past a few events I would've liked to see unfold. Even just an epilogue jumping ahead a year or so to fill the reader in on what comes next would've made the ending more satisfying.

Still, this was a wonderful return to Stoney Ridge, and I can't wait to see what comes next!
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Even my husband noticed how quickly I completed this story. Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher had the components of traditional Amish fiction that I love so much, but with an interesting and more contemporary twist to the story of Luke Schrock. We learn quickly that addiction had ruled Luke’s life, but he has fought a hard earned battle in and out of rehab several times. The parallel of his actual fence-mending and his more figurative amend making creates a beautiful story of redemption filled with hard truths about how addiction affects people and how even simple choices made in the young years of our lives impact those around us.

As a person who has been affected by another’s addiction I can tell you that the way Fisher unfolds the details of Luke’s life and how his choices impacted others resonates. How many times do we really know how our decision affects the life of another? We are all consumed with our own decisions and what the results might be for us, but how often do we weigh the pros and cons of a decisions impact on those around us? This is a reality we should all engage. I am grateful that Luke’s story, even aside from addiction but instead as an unruly teenager, demonstrates a ripple effect that we may never see, let alone consider.

Fisher is a masterful storyteller and the unexpected twists and turns of the stories had me voraciously finishing the story before I knew it. Seeing how she weaves together the lives of the people in the community knitting them together through the bonds of faith, family (in this case  family that came to them not by blood) and forgiveness is both encouraging and inspiring.

Izzy’s character, while we don’t know as much about her or the details of her story, makes a beautiful companion to Luke. Watching them both experience reconciliation within themselves and with others creates a beautifully woven tale and engaging story. I also really appreciated the characters David and Amos in the story, who despite their imperfect humanity, are steady and faithful leaders in the church. Seeing how the people Stoney Ridge respect David really touched my heart, and reminded me the value in appreciating those who have dedicated their lives to leading in faith and community. Watching him be a worthy and noble man makes me appreciate those in my life who are leading courageously, selflessly, and honestly.

If I’m totally honest I was a bit wary of the story at first, I’ll be honest and say it was primarily due to the fact that there was a male main character and the cover image didn’t seem consistent with what I knew of Fisher’s stories. Boy was my assumption wrong. I found those very things to be my favorite parts and the best twists. Like with all Fisher’s series I will be waiting with bated breath for the next story in this series, I am just so glad there is more!

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book, all opinions are my own.
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As her bio states, Suzanne Woods Fisher’s strength is writing “about real people living in faith-based communities”. Whether set in a Plain community or in an historical context, her characters feel like your own neighbors, friends, and family. Mending Fences is no exception. Bringing favorite characters from past books together with new, she creates a story of second chances and new beginnings. While this novel will certainly appeal to fans of Amish fiction, it will resonate with anyone looking for a heartwarming story.

Luck Schrock has been a secondary character in a number of Fisher’s novels, but in Mending Fences he is one of the mains. Back from another stint in rehab, Luke wants a chance to prove he is a changed man. While the Amish are quick to offer forgiveness, trust is hard to come by. And for Luke it can be painful. I loved how Luke doggedly worked through making amends for his many pranks. He learned that what seemed harmless fun cost others in meaningful ways. The other main character, Izzy Miller, is looking for a brand new start in the first safe place she has lived. She is attracted to many of the aspects of a Plain life, but her old ways of thinking get in the way of grace. Forgiveness, both giving and receiving, is a strong theme. As always, Fisher liberally sprinkles humor within the pages of Mending Fences. There are laugh out loud moments combined with poignant scenes as more than one character accepts God’s love.

There’s more to come from The Deacon’s Family series as a few story lines are left unresolved. But the wait will be a short one — book 2, Stitches in Time, is due out in just a few days!. I am looking forward to seeing just what else Fisher has in store for Luke, Izzy, and the other residents of Stoney Ridge.


Audience: adults.
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This book was a real eye opener for both the characters of Luke and Izzy and for myself because it’s the first book I have read that features an Amish character who gets treatment in a rehab facility and then returns to his community to beg forgiveness. I liked the kind hearted Lapp family who agrees to take Luke into their home while he makes amends for his foolish behavior while under the influence. Their high spirited daughter, Izzy, wants nothing to do with Luke and though she tries to avoid him he goes out of his way to be kind to her and that’s a redeeming quality in my book. Luke thinks confessing his misdeeds will be uncomfortable but soon learns that other people suffered huge consequences because of his actions and his heart breaks more with every confession he makes. This story is a good lesson for all of us. Saying I’m sorry is easy, it’s knowing that others have to live with the consequences of our careless actions that resonates and humbles our hearts. I read an early copy of this book through NetGalley and all opinions expressed in my voluntary review are completely my own.
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My Thoughts:
I love Amish Fiction and Suzanne Woods Fisher is a favorite author of mine.  This latest release was definitely one of my to be read books.  I was so excited to be granted a copy so that I could review the book.

Back story:  I’ve read all of the Stoney Ridge books.  Luke Schrock is an insecure, insensitive, addicted, monster of a boy.  And that’s just it.  He’s still a boy.  He has not made that mental progression from boy to adult.  I would say it’s because his father died young and he doesn’t have a good role model, but that’s not really the case.  You see, he does have a good role model in his life and his mother remarried.

So why is Luke Schrock such a pest?  Why does he play mean practical jokes on people?  And does he even know?

No.  Luke doesn’t really understand why he’s doing the things he’s doing.  He also doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions. . . yet.  It takes coming home to his Amish community after several rehab stints and beginning to be held accountable.  Sure he’s been forgiven, but he hasn’t been forgotten.  In fact, his acts are now larger and bigger than life.  He has quite the reputation.  

Luke is assigned to stay with a couple and help on their farm.  He can’t go home just now and truly it’s in his best interests to not be at home.  His mother is gone with her husband and he’s all alone with no family.  As he works the farm at Windmill Farm and makes changes to both the farm and himself he has many challenges to overcome.

First Luke has a list.  All the names on the list contain people he wronged with his practical jokes.  He must go to each and tell them he’s truly sorry but also ask them how his actions affected them.  What was the outcome?  He’s shocked and not prepared for this part.  Because little did he know how his seemingly harmless actions could affect others.

The woman who he threw a harmless snake in her buggy?  She hasn’t left her house since that day.  Not for church or doctors or groceries.  Fear is controlling her life.  Luke decides he’s going to help her overcome her fears and phobias.  But does he make it better or worse?

And then of course there’s the rattlesnake. No way, no how would I take that one on.  I would never agree to catch a rattlesnake. But you see Luke does.  Because he crushed one man’s rattlesnake egg.  Oh guys.  So much in this story.

Wait.  I haven’t even mentioned Izzy.  Izzy is another person living on Windmill Farm.  She also has fought addiction and won.  But she’s not Amish yet.  She want’s to be.  Because it’s the security and routine and safety she craves.  But what about her past?  What about the woman she’s been searching for for years?  Her mother.  She’s on a quest to find her mother and Luke decides to help.  But what happens when they find her and a whole slew of other secrets?

I honestly could not put this book down.  I had a kindle copy and my kindle died in the middle!  Ugh.  Definitely not the best spot.  So now my kindle stays plugged in always when I’m not reading.  Can’t let that happen again.
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Wow what an ending, I didn't see that coming/happening in the book at all!
Mending Fences is just that fences that need mending.  Except these fences are human.  They can be our family member(s), people in our community and sometimes ourselves.
I enjoyed reading Mending Fences and can't wait for the next book in this series to be released.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review in my own words.
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This modern day tale was fun, charming, extremely well written and held my interest through its entirety. Author Fisher is an expert on the Amish and does her research well. I felt like I was in Stoney Ridge and Windmill Farm. I love her smooth style of writing. Her stories are easy to understand and imagine. There are twists, secrets, and mysteries to keep interest up, and characters are like old friends I want to sit down with and have kaffe (coffee).

My favorite thing about the book is that it is evident this is a Christian book without wondering or searching. The next is that I gleaned information I did not know. It is also a bonus to read for enjoyment and learn something. After the story I was thrilled to find a section of discussion questions. 

There is so much to love about this book, an engaging plot, a variety of believable characters, the detail given to Amish, and the life lessons it taught. Relevant lessons lessons on trusting God, redemption, starting over, and forgiveness were woven throughout this powerful novel.

Would I recommend this book? In a New York minute I would! It is perfect for a book club. It has much material to discuss. I loved it and the characters. Could not put it down to see what was going to happen, but did not want it to end. Such a conundrum for a reader.

I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.
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Fans of Fisher’s Stoney Ridge books will be delighted at this return to familiar characters and story threads introduced in previous books that now get a chance to shine. (And before anyone wonders, yes HANK LAPP IS BACK TOO.) When readers last saw Luke Schrock, his life was a mess of his own making, and most people in Stoney Ridge had given up on him. As his story picks up in this new series, the tough love that deacon Amos Lapp and bishop David Stoltzfus show to the newly-rehabbed (again) Luke is as inspiring as Luke’s own determination to change. Of course there is much laughter to be had as well, from the usual sources in Stoney Ridge and from poor Luke’s sincere but misguided attempts at redemption. Izzy’s plot line is also very compelling - and responsible for a couple of gut-punches along the way. While some threads are tied up by the end of this first book, there are others which are waiting to be fully played out and promise some emotional moments ahead.
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Suzanne Woods Fisher’s latest release is aptly named as this story is indeed about Mending Fences. Not only figuratively but literally as well. Fans of this author may remember the troubled Luke Schrock from her previous novels that follow the Amish Stoney Ridge inhabitants. Readers follow as he tries to turn over a new leaf and make amends for the pain he has caused. 
The numerous series set in Stoney Ridge, are always a heartwarming reading experience and Mending Fences is no exception. I love the community this author has created and being reunited with past characters from previous installments. 
Although some of the earlier decisions made might have been questionable, there was immense character growth throughout this novel. Not only from our main characters, but in those who were more secondary as well. The connections between different storylines, was well thought out and I enjoyed the different comparisons used in respect to Luke’s journey. 
I am very much looking forward to the next installment in this Deacon’s Family series and would highly recommend Mending Fences.
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I loved getting to know these characters! They were fun and enjoyable as they grew to know one another and figure out God's plan for their lives.
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Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a very thought-provoking, moving story about the path to healing and redemption through grace.  Luke Schrock, once a rebellious young man, in and out of rehab centers, has to come to terms about his past.  Through the generous, loving help of Deacon Lapp and Bishop Stoltzfus, Luke learns how to mend his fences. 

The author interestingly places characters from her previous books in this new series, so we’re able to follow their interactions with Luke as he matures, both mentally and spiritually. 
I found this novel to be one of the best Amish novels I’ve read in a while; the author uses Fern Lapp to offer up her hidden nuggets of wisdom woven throughout.  I can’t wait for the second novel in the Deacon’s Family series!

I received an ARC from Baker Publishing Group through NetGalley and was under no obligation to write a positive review.
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Oh my soul what a powerfully moving book.

It has been a few months since I have read a book that totally took me off guard and blew my socks off. This book definitely did that. I am not even sure where to start with this book review.

In today’s world addiction is so prevalent. Almost every family has dealt with it through a spouse, child or other close family members. The effects tear families and communities apart. I deal with it more than I would like in the classroom. Nothing is more heartbreaking than a precious 5-year old kindergartener coming up to you and saying my mommy had to have NARCAN last night. Thankfully I have never had a personal addiction problem and I will be the first to tell you that I do not understand it. Fisher did an excellent job in showing addiction from the person with the addiction. I appreciated it that she also made sure to make that person accountable. 

I also love the lesson of you never know how your (bad) actions can affect another and the rest of their life. You may think you are pulling a harmless prank but in reality, you could be taking something very important from that person. Something I need to strive towards is forgiveness. That is a downfall of mine. I don't forgive easily not do I forget. 

Towards the end is a shocking revelation that will floor you. I actually had to stop reading to process it. No, I am not giving you any hints as I want you to experience the shock I did.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
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Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher is an incredible book and I hardly know how to do it justice. Amish fiction fans will be thrilled with this story, but I’ve always said that Fisher’s books have an appeal that reaches far beyond the Amish fiction audience, and that is certainly true with Mending Fences. The reason is simply that her novels are relationship/character driven and filled with complexity. Readers can connect with people just like them – flawed characters who struggle with the same things we do, and who inspire as they grow in their faith and maturity. The heartwarming and sometimes bittersweet Mending Fences entertains, often makes me smile, and challenges what we think about grace, forgiveness and trust. A “best of the best” book for me!

My reading self is nowhere more at home than in Fisher’s stories set in Lancaster. I first met the memorable Luke as a precocious child in The Letters and knew that he would have a fantastic story someday. Well, that day has arrived with this first book in The Deacon’s Family series. Luke, haunted by the guilt of his past, is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, and the cover art brings out the essence of his nature. And what a strong ensemble cast is found in David, Amos and Fern – people who lived their faith by their wisdom, insight into what could be, and willingness to extend the grace of second chances.

For the longest time, Izzy has a strong defensive wall around her – but oh, how I loved her! When it came to God, she refused to trust that which she didn’t understand, and I could see some of my own reactions in her. And she was so good for Luke because she made him earn her respect.

Some of my favorite parts are the gentle words of wisdom that Amos shares at just the right time. One example is this conversation between Amos and Luke…

“How can I stick around when no one is willing to trust me?”
“Well, Luke, the way I see it, if you don’t stick around, you’ll never find out the answer to that question... And it seems like a pretty important thing to figure out.”

There are a few tear-shedding moments in this story, both of joy and sadness. Mending Fences reflects life and faith in a realistic way, giving much to reflect on personally. If there’s someone around you who needs a second chance, grace, someone who has eyes to see beyond a person’s guilt, then this story just might help you see them through God’s eyes.

Again, I really can’t say enough about this story. While I’ve loved all that I’ve read by Suzanne Woods Fisher, there’s something special and unique about Luke’s story. Mending Fences begs to be read slowly, savoring each word.

Very highly recommended. 

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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A powerful tale of past pain and seeking forgiveness, this story delves into the cause and effect of actions, and the truths uncovered will surprise the readers. Can a former alcoholic return to his Amish roots and rejoin his community? Will others truly accept him back or will there always be an element of distrust and fear? When Luke Schrock realizes how profoundly his actions have affected the lives of others, will he continue to change for the better or give up? And what about Izzy, who has found a haven among the Amish and escaped her troubled youth? Can she find complete healing and learn to trust a man? Could Luke’s friendship make a difference if she allows it to? This novel amazed me. The author wove a rich and compelling story with so many threads tied together to make a thought-provoking yet satisfying read. I highly recommend it. Even if you haven’t visited these characters in any of her other books, the strong drama in Mending Fences can be appreciated on its own. I received a copy from Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
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I am super excited that Suzanne has released a new series. I have been a huge fan of hers since I made the switch to Christian Fiction. I have loved EVERY single one of her books. Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher is book one in her The Deacon’s Family series. While the series is new - we do see some familar characters if you have read any number of her books. The theme of healing and redemption was one that I needed to hear as I read this book. Y'all. This book brought tears to my eyes. Suzanne has made broken people the center of this story. We are all beautifully broken - but through HIM we can be restored. I cannot wait until the next book!

I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program. All thoughts are my own
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Mending Fences is the start of a new series back in Stoney Ridge. I liked seeing the familiar names and places and getting Luke Schrock’s story. Luke was the bad boy, mischief maker, the one that made everyone groan when he came around. He was a bully; he played tricks on people for his own enjoyment and never thought about the consequences. Luke is now back in Stoney Ridge at Bishop David’s request to make amends, to seek forgiveness.
Luke has just come from rehab and he is wanting to do something more with his life. As he takes his counselor’s and the Bishop’s advice he begins to grow from the boy he once was into the man he needs to be.
It is not easy for Luke to not only seek forgiveness but to ask how his actions have adversly affected each person.  As he finds out the depth that his tricks have affected people he is saddened, grieved, and at times blessed and humbled. It was a humorous read and yet filled with bittersweet moments when Luke tries to make restitution.
Luke is not the only troubled soul staying with Amos and Fern, Izzy is an Englisher that has been in and out of foster care her whole childhood and is seeking a place to belong. And she has found that with the Amish, yet she still aches for her long lost mother. 
Amos and Fern were great parental figures and l liked how they dealt with both Luke and Izzy, very protective, patient, and stern when need be.
This was a really good story that shows forgiveness in a different light with lots of life lessons to be applied. Luke was a fun character and I liked watching him grow. This book is just the beginning of a series that promises to be a good one and I look forward to seeing how the author ties up all the loose ends.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
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I cannot wait until the next book in the series to see what happens next. It does continue in the next book so when you buy this book you will want to keep it. This is the first in the series. Luke goes back to his home town after getting out of rehab. He has such good intentions to make amends but at times it backfires on him. You just never know what to expect. He meets Lizzy there who hasn’t been out of rehab very long herself. A really inspiring book. I really loved Luke, he tried so hard. So much more besides Luke’s story though. Lizzy brings so much to the story also. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit. I was not required to write a positive review. This is my own opinion.
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Deana Dick's review Mar 14, 2019  ·  edit
it was amazing

Wow! That's the first thought I had after finishing this book. The book starts a new series for the author and I already can tell it will be a best seller. I was talking with another author and we both agreed that this is the authors' best book yet. It filled my soul with hope and sprinkled my cheeks with tears. I had a hard time deciding who my favorite character was because two of them I easily related to. 

Luke has come home after a period in rehab. He has worked very hard to change but he knows he has a long road ahead of him. I related to him because I have stumbled and made a mess of my life. I turned away from God and did some pretty awful things to people. Luke is not exactly welcomed home but after reading the story I finally have a better understanding of some of the Amish ways. They are quick to forgive but trusting is something you have to work on. I loved that the Bishop believed in Luke and helped him on his journey. Luke has a list of people he has hurt and will have to go to them and make amends. I loved how the author shows readers the consequences of a person's bad decisions and how devastating it could be to someone. We become so selfish at times that we forget that our actions could affect someone else in a negative way. 

Izzy has had a difficult childhood and still carries the pain of not being wanted by her mother. The feeling of abandonment is strong in her life and she has never felt wanted. I think I related to her because I know that feeling of not being wanted by your parents. They didn't abandon me physically but definitely emotionally. Izzy's desire to find her mother was a roller coaster ride at times. I would wonder if she found out where her mother was, would it heal her wounds or hurt her more. It is hard for Izzy to have a relationship with anyone, but her relationship with God was one I worried about the most. 

The author has written a book that deals with forgiveness, acceptance, making amends and finding your way back to God. The journey is hard for these two characters but along the way they have a chance to change their lives and experience unconditional love.

"You're a pearl of great price to God."

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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What a great start to a new series! I liked how the characters are reappearing from other novels by Susanne.  Many of the "pranks" that are mentioned appear in the Bishop's Family series, so it may be beneficial to the reader to pick up that series first, but not necessary.

With the help of the Bishop, Luke was able to make a list of those he wronged and make amends. It was truly nice to see Luke grow and change from his past. 

I look forward to reading the rest of the series!
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