Cover Image: Mending Fences

Mending Fences

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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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Oh my, the places this book went. Can you imagine having to make a list of the wrong things you’ve done to people, then go apologize and ask questions so you understand the damage you did? Yikes! But that’s what Luke had to do and it was as difficult and emotional as you can imagine. However this story wasn’t heavy at all. In fact there were many moments where I was laughing, completely drawn into the story.

Author Suzanne Woods Fisher deals with the subject of alcoholism and rehab, as well as health issues in one of the main characters. She doesn’t shy away from these things, but makes it clear that God is in the middle of our messes and heartache. That there can be forgiveness, redemption, and hope.

I truly enjoyed every page of this book and highly recommend it.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
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Oh my! I need some people willing to practice some of what's shown in this book. While I love this author's books, this one had some extra impact on me at this time in my life. This book is grounded in forgiveness and has wise things embedded throughout the book. Luke has so much work to do to repair multiple relationships, but those whom he seeks to reconcile with have to be willing to trust again. This book has so much depth. I am so looking forward to the next books in this series.
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I absolutely loved this book by Suzanne. Each character is dealing with problems from their past but in the end they each learn new things about each other and the best part is forgiveness for themselves and each other. I eagerly await the next book in the series as the characters in this story have drawn me in and had me cheering for each one.
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Mending Fences was a spectacular read.  As Suzanne Woods Fischer takes readers back to Stoney Ridge, we get to see how life continues for Luke.  If readers have not read her other books, this book can still stand alone on its own, which I always enjoy.

The story shows the process of two characters, Luke and Izzy, as they travel different paths towards a new path for their lives.  As a family member of someone who struggles like these characters do, it was insightful to see more of the inner struggles.  The book also opened my eyes to have more compassion like David did.  

My favorite character was David because of his wisdom and big heart.  He always seemed to know what to say and how to offer just the right amount of support.  I also enjoyed watching the Luke’s journey towards growth and forgiveness.  The story line weaves how he learns the effect of his choices which was thought provoking. 
Although my comments seem rather heavy, the story is written with humor and light heartedness.  It makes you think while still enjoying the humor of the story line.  I began the book and had a hard time putting it down. My only disappointment was that I turned the last page of the chapter and realized it was the end!  I look forward to more from Suzanne Woods Fischer.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.
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Hardest, most gut-wrenching thing he'd even done in his life. Best thing he'd ever done in his life
My rating is 4.5 stars

When Luke played ""pranks"" on the people of his community, he gave no thought as to how his actions would affect them. After all, he didn't really mean anything by them, did he? Yet he discovered as he set about ""mending fences"", that his actions had much deeper consequences than he had imagined.

In this touching, humorous, and insightful story, Luke goes through a transformational journey as he attempts to change his life, the community's perception of him, and figure out what to do next. I really appreciated the fact that the author didn't have me loving Luke from the start. She kept a great balance of showing his faults and making him just likable enough that I wanted to keep reading to learn more about him. Don't worry, though. I did end up liking Luke a lot by the end!

I loved watching Luke become a man I could admire. His blunders as he attempted to set things right were humorous and sweet. His heart was pricked when he saw the damage he had done to others and he truly had very good intentions. . .

Luke's interactions with Betty the librarian were great! As were his attempts to keep Bob the horse in his stall at night. And who could blame him for trying? Being wakened out of a deep sleep by horse breath wouldn't be something I would be passive about either!

Izzy was taken from her mother by the State when she was very young and she had a difficult childhood, never feeling accepted and always waiting to be told that she could no longer stay. Her life had been hard and she saw some ugly things. The opportunity to stay in the Amish community was such a gift to her. Amos and Fern were so thankful for her gentle nature and the compliant way that she followed their instructions.

The contrast between Izzy and Luke was similar to the one between the Prodigal Son and his older brother. While the younger son clearly displeased the father with his wasteful and indulgent living, the older brother appeared to be righteous and yet harbored pride and resentment towards his brother. And like the elder brother, though her actions were all as the community desired, she had some heart issues that needed to be addressed. I enjoyed seeing who noticed this problem and the way it was handled.

If you have read other Amish stories, you will have noticed they are often filled them with Amish terms. I was surprised not to see that here. It gave a different feel to the story than what I expected.

Rich spiritual truths are shared in a poignant manner. In several places where I was moved almost to tears. If you like your fiction to challenge your walk with the Lord, Mending Fences will certainly fit the bill.

Thank you, Richard Spillman, for this very moving story that has me longing even more for the time I will be face to face with my Savior evermore!

The Awakened will appeal to wimpier readers like me who still like action and some drama. It will also appeal to those who like a fast-paced, inspirational thriller with a hint of the paranormal added in.

Read with a Preview at

I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
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This is an insightful look at the road to redemption!

I’m talking about redemption in the eyes of man not God. The characters are incredibly well developed. Luke has caused a lot of people a lot of heartache and very deep wounds. They are just as varied as the characters themselves. 

I was completely captivated by the journey that Luke had to go on to bring healing to himself and others. He is helped along the way by two very wise and Godly men. I love the fact that everything is done with an attitude of prayer and seeking God. We can all learn an awful lot about this from this wonderful book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All of the opinions expressed are my own.

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
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This was one of my favorite Amish fiction books I have read lately.  This had a lot of twists and turns.  Both Luke and Izzy had a lot of growing up to do.  This shows that anyone can get addicted to many things and must work things out to get better.  I loved how different this book was.  I am so looking forward to the next book in the series.  I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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Another masterpiece from the master storyteller, Suzanne Woods Fisher!! This author is a true wordsmith who never disappoints!!! I was captivated from the first page of the book to the last!! Of course, this is no surprise , as this is the case with every book this author creates!! This novel will not allow itself to be put down, at least that was my excuse, when I read long into the night! 

This book is the first in Suzanne's new series, "The Deacon's Family". I loved revisiting Stoney Ridge and my many friends who I have met in some previous stories. New characters appear and draw the reader immediately into their lives. An Amish "Bad Boy" is a an example of the unique problems that this author addresses with understanding and grace. Who would ever dream of a young man from the Plain People having a problem with addiction. We tend to think of this peaceful community being exempt from problems of the world. The reality is that they are no different from you and I!! The problems and aftereffects of addiction, abandonment, dealing with a troubled past filled with grief are described in such depth that the reader feels the pain and confusion alongside the characters. The theme of dealing with these by learning to trust in God's love and forgiving  and healing power is present throughout . How does one learn to trust , self and others??  Can a relationship develop between two hurting people both attempting to recover from such a painful past??  

The book is not without humor. Just when you need a moment to process the serious challenges, the author uses her talent to"touch your funny bone". And it is done is a way unique to Suzanne!! 

The plot moves rapidly with unexpected twists and turns at every corner. I must admit that I was glued to my chair. I could NOT put this book down. 

My favorite quote from the book says it all, "Every saint has a past and every sinner has  a future." What a deep thought! And, how true it is!! God works in the lives of every single person!! We, as humans, often reject His plans! What  a mistake that is!

This is definitely a five star book!! Now, comes the anticipation and wait for the next in this fabulous series!!

Suzanne, can you write a bit faster, please?????
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I love a fictional trip to the little community of Stoney Ridge. I've been reading about these characters from the beginning and always look forward to seeing what they have been up to since my last trip. When you read long series like this there are always characters that you wonder whatever happened to them. Luke Schrock is one of those people.

We first encountered Luke in The Inn at Eagle Hill series. His story continued with The Bishop's Family series. He was a mess and last we heard he was off to rehab. Well he seems to finally be finished after the third shot at it. But will he be different?

Amos and Fern Lapp have been known to take in troubled kids that need a bit of guidance. With great reluctance they agree to give Luke a place to stay in exchange for help on the farm. 

There's a new girl in town and her name's Izzy. She's a mystery to all of us but it was a joy to see her story unfold. Her character has so many layers. Just when you think you know all there is to know about her something else is revealed.

I don't think that I've ever read a book by Suzanne Woods Fisher that I didn't like. But I am going to say that this book has got to be my favorite so far. There are some things that are revealed at the end of the story that tie several previous events from previous novels together. And guess what . . . I didn't even realize that they were loose ends when I was reading those stories! You would think that after all of these books/series set in the same place with mostly the same people would become monotonous. But you would be wrong. I find them just as fascinating as I did with the first book. 

This is the beginning of a new series but it is also the continuation of a previous set of series. You can of course read this book without having read the previous books, but you would sorely miss out on some very good fiction. I say treat yourself and start at the beginning!

I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
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There has to be another book in this series.  I just read the last page and said "what" ?
I can't believe I have to wait to find out Izzy and Luke's future.  

I enjoyed reading of Luke's growth and his journey of asking for forgiveness.  It clearly was not easy.  We might not have a list of people to ask for forgiveness.  But is there one person?  What would you say?  How would it make you feel if your apology was rejected?  Or if you were actually forgiven?

Suzanne Woods Fisher is one of the authors that I eagerly look forward to reading.  She has a special talent to take me on a journey of discovery.  This Book was about Izzy and Luke and what they discovered about themselves and others.

I received this free from Celebrate Lit to review.
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"Mending Fences" is the most recent book from Suzanne Woods Fisher and it is the first book The Deacon's Family series.  I have enjoyed all of Suzanne's Amish novels and this one is no exception!  It is a unique story line that immediately drew me in as Luke is returning home a changed man and needs to make amends.  Luke has had to deal with struggles and he feels like the hard part is over; however asking for forgiveness and proving he is a changed man is going to be harder than he first anticipated.  Izzy is living the life she has always dreamed of, she has a home and a place to fit in and she has a flair for the work she is doing; however one thing is lacking, her mother.  Luke is shocked to meet up with Lizzy once again and is determined that if and once he can find Izzy's mother his list will be complete.  However, will it?  And we all know there are consequences to every action...
 I loved this return to Stoney Ridge and reading more about some of the characters from the previous series as well as meeting so many new ones.  This is a great start to this new series and I cannot wait to see where the characters' stories go and who else we get to meet!
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"Mending Fences" is about Luke Shrock, & Izzy Miller in Stoney Brook post-rehab. I liked that the Rehab Center was run by Amish & Christian individuals. God has been slowly drawing Izzy into a relationship, in the year since her rehab. I feel that Susanne Woods Fischer sensitively shaped Izzy's character & storyline. 
     I liked that Luke came to see how truly destructive his former behavior had been, to his Stoney Brook neighbors. But God used Luke's perseverance too.
    I'm so glad SWF created these very believable characters, & this unique story. I'm eagerly awaiting Book 2 in this Series. I Highly Recommend this Wonderful Novel from a Master Storyteller! I was able to read this book through NetGalley.
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Luke Schrock is fresh out of rehab for the first, second, make that third time. Fern and Amos have agreed that he may live at Windmill Farm. In the barn, to his dismay. Well, Fern convinced Amos to agree. Everyone remembers the 'old' Luke who pulled many a prank on many persons. Luke is going through the AA twelve steps and has to apologize to each person he hurt and ask how his prank had affected that person. Difficult task for someone who is not humble, at all. Luke is surprised, as well as humbled, and shamed by the damage some of his pranks caused. Arrogant, good looking, mischief maker, Luke Schrock. Everyone remembers him by his pranks and earning the community's trust is a big job for Luke.
Luke was quite surprise to see Izzy at the farm and to learn that she lived there, for she had previously been at the rehab Luke was in. Izzy is not impressed by Luke's charms. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him, which comes as a surprise to Luke.
Izzy finally has a place to call home and isn't about to do anything to jeopardize it. She loves Amos and Fern and their farm. She is dressing Amish and loves the quiet, peaceful life. Izzy is so easy to empathize with and love. Oh my soul!
I loved Fern Lapps' phrases with words of wisdom. She was such a lovable character!
I do so look forward to the next book in this series!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Amos and David are amazing people who are willing to help those less fortunate. Fern acts like a mother to all the kids who they try to help. The way Luke and Izzy are helped by these people is truly wonderful and inspiring. Luke’s adventures with Bob the buggy horse will have you laughing. You will feel God working throughout this wonderful book. I had the honor to review this book for the author for a honest review. I would give this book a higher rating than a five star review if I could.
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Mending Fences
The Deacon's Family #1
By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Luke Schrock is back home in Stoney Ridge and life there has gone on while he was in rehab. His past has made a definite impact on those who had to live through his pranks and jokes. And as part of his continued healing, he has been encouraged to mend fences with those he hurt over the years.

But mending these fences is more than offering an apology and receiving the expected forgiveness the Amish are known for. No, Luke is supposed to ask just how his careless and cruel antics have impacted each person's life. And with Luke's history, it is a long list to work through.

With trust at an all-time low, Luke has been offered a bed at Windmill Farm in exchange for helping Amos Lapp with a variety of chores. Another young person in need has been taken in by Fern and Amos and to Luke's surprise, Izzy Miller is immune to his charms. Worse Izzy seems to despise him and his ways. Izzy is making a new life for herself and she's known enough guys like Luke to not get caught in his trap of charm.

Mending Fences is the first book in The Deacon's Family series and it promises to be the first offering in some potentially momentous changes in Stoney Ridge. There is an unexpected link to the past which is tied to painful events is several character's lives. And most importantly we are shown the potential of what Luke's life might become. Those who have visited Stoney Ridge in the past will enjoy another visit with some old friends.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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In my opinion this is a wonderful story about having an opportunity to go back and fix many things that one has done wrong. Luke King has caused great harm in the Amish community he grew up in. Bishop David Stolzfus and others give him a true gift to make amends while it is their belief to forgive, he has a larger responsibility to learn of how he marked the lives of those he tormented.
It's a real journey for Luke to attend to the stipulations given to him as he works for the Deacon, Amos, and his wife Fran on their farm. He also encounters a hurting soul in Izzy who wants nothing to do with him. She works hard but does not truly share of her inner being with anyone.
Both characters grow and change during their struggles while they are nurtured by the community. This book by Suzanne Woods Fisher has another of her heart touching strong plots that I look forward to. There is a great cast of characters here too. Amos is one of my personal favorites. There are moments of sweet humor along with reminders of the power of God's love.
This book makes me want the next story in the series now. Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for this most enjoyable read.
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Mending Fences is the first novel in The Deacon’s Family series.  While it is the first book in a new series, it is based on characters and setting from The Inn at Eagle Hill, Stoney Ridge Seasons and The Bishop’s Family series.  Personally, I found it helpful to have read The Inn at Eagle Hill series prior to picking up Mending Fences.  I thought Mending Fences was well-written with good flow and steady pacing.  It contains developed characters and a lovely setting (I especially liked Windmill Farm).  I was drawn into the story right away and wanted to keep reading to see how Luke would fare with his “mending fences” list he received from Bishop Stoltzfus.  Luke never realized that his pranks (as he called them) had a harmful outcome, but he soon learns that his actions had devastating consequences for some people.  While Luke is outgoing and charming, Izzy is withdrawn and thoughtful.  She is wary of Luke thanks to her upbringing in the foster care system and her time on the streets.  Izzy came to Windmill Farm and reveled in the peace of the farm.  Izzy enjoys the Plain lifestyle and wants to remain with the them.  Luke and Izzy both have obstacles to overcome and growing up to do.  With the help of Amos, Fern, David and God, they just might succeed (I do not want to spoil it for you).  Suzanne Woods Fisher created wonderful characters.  You cannot help but wanting to know more about them.  Fern is a caring and compassionate woman who has faith that Luke will change.  Amos is a hardworking farmer who wants to protect Izzy.  It took them a long time to earn her trust and Amos does not want Luke messing up the progress Izzy has made.  Amos is wary of Luke and not sure if he has the ability to change his ways.  Bishop David Stoltzfus has endless patience and remains calm during trying times.  There is humor in the story thanks to Bob, Amos’ buggy horse and a peanut butter loving racoon.  It was interesting how certain events and people can touch so many lives. Two of my favorite phrases in the book is “love is not finite” and “God is love”.  I thought Mending Fences was a thoughtful, heartwarming and inspirational story.  I am eager to read the next installment in The Deacon’s Family series.
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I love this author's books for the deep themes she deftly explores. Normally I want romance to be the focus of a book, but the author did such a fabulous job showing the redemption journey of Luke and how he changes. I love the balance of subtle nudges and more attention-getting epiphanies that contribute to the opening of his eyes, the development of his conscience, and compassion for others. It was so thought-provoking and I appreciated that it was not an instant or overnight change, but a more realistic shift over many experiences and talks with mentors. He learns from the wisdom and examples of several people in the community- David Stoltzfus, the bishop, Amos, Fern and Izzy who he lives with at Windmill Farm, Teddy Zook and Annie Smucker who he works so hard to make amends with. Even though the story begins with Luke full of flaws and a flawed perspective, he wasn't completely unlikeable, and it helped that David had faith in him. I was really rooting for him and it was gratifying to see him get in touch with his emotions, comprehend the consequences of thoughtless choices, and experience the sweetness of forgiveness. There is some romance with his challenging friendship with Izzy, and I'm hoping we will see more of them in the next book!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
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