Cover Image: The Divine Proverb of Streusel

The Divine Proverb of Streusel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This story kept me captivated from the very first word until the last. Sara Brunsvold is a master at character development and, more specifically, the weaving together of characters' lives and experiences. The relationships feel so incredibly real. Like her debut novel, the Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs Kip, I fell in love with the characters -= especially the "older" ones (in this case, Aunt Emma), though each of the characters - especially Nikki, Emma,, Wes, and Joyce - are complex, relatable, broken, and endearing.

Full of wisdom, hope, and grace, (and recipes!), this tale of faith, fear, and forgiveness, and the people who populate it, will stay in your mind for a long time. Highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

With her parent's divorce, her father quickly marrying again, and her mother being forced to sell the family home and move into a basement apartment, Nikki Werner is filled with bitterness. As a teacher starting Summer Break, she ditches her boyfriend, friends and all her problems, and just starts driving. She ends up at her grandmother's farm where she spent so many fun summers years ago. Grandma has passed, but Uncle Wes is there to offer support while Nikki tries to heal. Nikki offers to remodel grandma's farmhouse as a Summer project. While cleaning out, she discovers old hymnals and an old cookbook. It is filled with recipes and words of wisdom that Nikki needs to hear. She decides to cook one recipe a week and Uncle Wes encourages her to invite locals over to share in the food and fellowship. Over the course of one Summer, Uncle Wes and Aunt Emma gently guide Nikki to a place of healing and forgiveness.

I enjoyed reading The Divine Proverb of Streusel. It is a soft and gentle story of forgiveness. If anyone has experienced trauma and is struggling to accept it and forgive someone who has wronged them, perhaps this story might help them heal.

Was this review helpful?

The Divine Proverb of Streusel will be one of my top three books this year. It is Sara Brunsvold second novel, and it makes me want more of her moving stories soon.
Nikki Werner finds herself finished with her first year of teaching feeling like all that she knew and loved was failing around her. Her dad remarries after a surprise from her mother, teaching is rough and while she is hesitant about building a life with her long-time boyfriend. To take a break from everything, she starts off on an aimless car trip and ends up at her father’s family’s farm. With a summer free she stays with her Uncle Wes and helps him clean out boxes and remodel the old farmhouse. Many treasures of old are discovered while cleaning. Nikki becomes the student that summer as she gains advice from her lineage of women in the wisdom they shared on their recipes. She learns that life was not any easier for any of them.
The Divine Proverb of Streusel is a book about forgiveness, treasuring family and second chances. I will be buying a paper copy of the book to have all the recipes that it shares!
I received a complimentary copy of the book thanks to Revell Publishing and NetGalley, but all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Sara Brunsvold does not disappoint with her sophomore novel. This book takes a look at family roots and how past experiences shape current choices. The characters struggle with real issues, and there aren't any quick, easy answers. However, there are real recipes to be made. And if the author wants to write a follow-up featuring Aunt Emma, I would be delighted.

This is Christian fiction so expect prayer, church, bible verses, and discussions about faith.

Family friendly and highly recommended.

Was this review helpful?

"Do you think we should look at people in light of their actions or in light of what they have suffered?”

Answer now and then revisit this question after reading Brunsvold’s book.

Let Sara Brunsvold show you how, when accompanied with prayer, each crumble of our lives, like that of a streusel, could fall into place as Great-Grandma Lena Schoenborn’s divine proverb of streusel predicted. She’ll also prompt you to enrich your understanding of the heritage you have - in every sense of the word.

Oh. My. Goodness.

To think that I set this book down several times with no intention of finishing it …. I would have missed such a special book; one that touched my heart and caused me to refocus.

Nikki Werner’s dad walked out on the family 4 months ago, forcing her mom to pack up and leave the home where she’d raised two daughters and lived for 29 years. Nikki’s anger and bitterness bubbled over into her personal life, causing her to retreat and stew in unforgiveness. After closing up her classroom for the summer, twenty-six-year-old Nikki heads to her grandparents’ farm in Eddner, Missouri. She hopes that being at the farmhouse where her grandma’s life was shaped, would give Nikki hope that hers could be too. Once she feels the connection to the women who’d labored in the small galley kitchen before her, she begins to heal. It all begins with finding Great Grandma Lena’s German cookbook. You’ll have to read to find out if the cookbook’s wisdom can encourage Nikki to reunite with her dad.

Nikki’s great-grandma’s recipes were assembled to teach her 13-year-old daughter, Ann (Nikki’s grandma), the practicals of life and remind her about her German heritage. Great-grandma Lena wanted to do what every parent wants to do - share the pieces of themselves that could help their child the most. Pages from this recipe book are interspersed throughout the story giving it structure and richness.

Topics covered:

✔️Anger ✔️bitterness ✔️noble role of marriage ✔️pressures of assimilation ✔️fostering empathy ✔️hearing love in our actions ✔️forgiveness ✔️loving the unlovable✔️healing past wounds ✔️and how to move forward

Great-Grandma’s guideposts that resonated with me:

✔️“Do the next thing.”
✔️“Consider what good you can bring to a place.”
✔️“You can either look at what you don’t have and learn, or you can look at what you do have and give thanks.”
✔️“Sometimes we have to look back to discern the way forward.”

Things I absolutely loved:

❤️the pages with the recipes, German wisdom, and relating scripture from Proverbs
❤️encouragement to live out the proverb of haschee
❤️Bruised apple wisdom
❤️Why we forgive
❤️challenges of midlife
❤️second chances
❤️intergenerational story featuring familial love between an uncle and his niece
❤️Letter between Nikki and her dad titled “What you should know”
❤️Gift from her dad
❤️chapter 34 and the crumb cake recipe

One of the important lessons was about moving forward. Nikki’s mom had to step forward into a reimagined future and Nikki had to step back into the past to connect with women who’d found a way through heartache and come out refined. Nikki realized that they’d uncovered secrets to which she sought answers as well and she was relying on their revelations. There’s so much of this we can apply to our own lives.

What a power-packed story! Don’t pass on this fantastic read, Christian fiction lovers. This new-to-me author will be on my radar now.

I was gifted this copy by Revell and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

Was this review helpful?

I'm so thankful for authors and publishers still willing to put out fiction with strong faith messages woven all throughout the story. Nikki is completely unmoored after the divorce of her parents and abandonment by her father and miserable and bitter, ends up on her uncle's doorstep, looking for a place to belong and process. I loved the relationship between Nikki and her uncle, and his relationship with his aunt. So many relationships are woven together in this story, including even ancestors who have passed away; each one an opportunity to bless and learn, and each one an opportunity to push away and harm. Sometimes the characters get it right, and sometimes they don't. The author does a beautiful job setting the scene and sorting through all the layers of the different relationships. Although we wish that Nikki - and her uncle - would "wake up" a little sooner, the portrayal of the time and process it takes to come to places of understanding and forgiveness of one another is accurate.
The author doesn't miss the opportunity to be clear about what's missing in the equation and show the different ways that the love of our Father directs our choices and the steps we take.
Fans of Mrs. Kip and other thoughtful Christian women's fiction will find Divine Proverb just as well-crafted, filling an important niche on the Christian Fiction shelves.

I read an ARC provided by the publishers and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

A thought provoking contemporary story with its roots in the past. One that lingers long after finishing.
"Sometimes we have to look back to discern a way forward."
Nikki was a character in conflict with a family in upheaval. I liked how the author had her work through her stress, running away to a safe place, and reconnecting with her family's past to try to make sense of things. Loved how the small community embraced her and filled in the blanks of her grandma's story. Using the notebook of recipes to understand her family history was a lovely way to bring heritage into the story too.
"May God be your Rock the rest of your days, and butter be your joy."
Uncle Wes and Aunt Emma were my favorites. It was inspiring how they patiently encouraged Nikki and helped her forgive her dad. Forgiveness was a big theme here, especially in the light of faith. Restoring what is broken and "doing the next thing" also worked well in how to get beyond a huge hurt, and move forward.
There is a romance that develops through friendship, and another on hold, but it isn't the focus.
Readers who enjoy a character driven story with some faith elements and a hint of romance, will like this one. 4.5 stars

Was this review helpful?

This book came to me at just the right time as our family is in the midst of repeated losses. I read this book within 24 hours but it may be one of the few books that I reread as I would love to glean more of the wisdom from it.

I loved this book because I felt like Grandma Ann could have been my grandma imparting so much Biblical wisdom to me. Uncle Wes was a phenomenal character as well. He knew when to speak to those around him and when to keep quiet. Aunt Emma was another person that I would love to have in my corner. Her ability to find the humor in situations and her zest for life was insatiable. Last but not least were Joyce and Nikki. Despite the hard times that both characters had they kept doing the next thing .

I loved how the author included soamy recipes and had Nikki fumbling her way through them as well. I look forward to using the wisdom before the recipe as I prepare these recipes and future recipes.

Thanks so much to netgalley and the publisher for the arc. The opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

I loved Sara Brunsvold’s first book, The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, so much that I jumped at the opportunity to read her newest book. The Divine Proverb of Streusel follows Nikki as she searches for healing after repeated losses in her personal life. If you love characters with depth, small town settings, or exploring difficult family dynamics—you’ll love this book!

Was this review helpful?

Wow! What a powerful and an emotional book that I won't soon forget.
Main theme? Forgiveness. Oh my! One of the toughest things in life to ever do and what Nikki needs to learn to finally give herself some peace at long last.
My heart really went out to her but at the same time I've come to admire her too.
This story will make you want to cry scream laugh and love. Family means everything along with keeping the faith even in the hard times. Its what makes us stronger in the end.
I really enjoyed this novel.
This author is truly magnificent in her storytelling bringing the best and sometimes worst out in her characters.
A quote I liked from the story from Tracey to Nikki;
“Sounds like you have gained quite a bit,” “More than I could have seen, which is exactly what you said would happen, you future teller.”“More like a life liver or an experience haver. We usually do find the right information when we need it most.”
Isn't this the truth? I think it's God's timing actually. He always has a plan for each one of us. We only have to find that true path at the right time.
This story is a gem. It reminds us to hold on to the ones we love while we can because you never know where or when things will happen.
I also loved this book for the yummy food. It will make you drool while reading it. It did me!
I just wanted to say again that I've really enjoyed this story! It's a very moving one to be sure. I have felt Nikki's pain, joy and the will to love again. So very good!
Some wonderful recipes through this novel too yummy! I'll have to try them!
A fantastic read and I highly recommend!
5 stars for excellent writing and for keeping me engaged.
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This is a sweet and heartwarming novel perfect for readers looking for their next "clean" read.

I love the author's focus on family, healing, and forgiveness. The inclusion of lost family recipes is an added bonus sure to delight readers.

Nikki is dealing with a lot, and we are with her along the way and cheering for her. I loved the scenes where she is cleaning up the old farmhouse. I also admired how the community began to be more involved in her life and how she made new friends over time.

The value and impact of human connections make this a memorable story.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a complimentary e-galley; all opinions in this review are 100% my own.

Was this review helpful?

Nikki Werner has just found out her father has remarried via her step-mother on social media. Just as she is trying to absorb the news her Dad has divorced her mom. This kind of rocks her world and she doesn’t know how to tell her boyfriend, Isaac who is confused by Nikki’s obvious omission. She doesn’t know if she loves Isaac or it’s just infatuation. She is angry and confused on how to react to this situation. So she goes to Eddner where her Uncle Wes lives and her father grew up.

Her uncle is welcoming, allowing her to stay for the summer while she helps out at the farm. Her father would like to see her for Father’s Day but she isn't interested in seeing him any time soon. There are some things that Nikki doesn’t know about her father that may help her to better understand who her father is and the decision he has made for better or worse.

She discovers old recipes of her grandmother and she starts making them, and in turn, learns of her German ancestry and her family that her father didn’t share with her.

I really enjoyed The Divine Proverb of Streusel and though it’s not like Sara Brunvold’s previous, The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip, it’s rich in the depth of the story and characters. She delved into the pain of divorce on adult children, and its aftermath but looked at that pain as being redeeming. Nikki learns about her grandmother whom she only saw during Christmases, and her Uncle Wes whom she didn’t know either. I really connected with this aspect of not knowing one side of your family because of the pain that one of your parents experienced with them. This was about what the value of family had and still has. It was about a daughter trying to understand her father and being able to verbalize the pain she felt because of his actions. It was also one of reconciling these hurts and receiving the healing she needed and wanted. Excellent!

My gratitude to Netgalley and Revell. All opinions expressed are mine and honest.

Was this review helpful?

I adored this story. Family, food, and forgiveness is the perfect combination for a pleasant, fulfilling read. Brunsvold has a way of dipping into the heart of the characters and creating a deep connection between the characters and the reader. Adult daughter, Nikki, is navigating her way through her parent's divorce. With the help of an uncle she barely knows and a recipe book filled with wisdom and deliciousness, she discovers hope and forgiveness in ways she never thought she would. I loved all the characters, but I enjoyed the role Joyce plays in this beautifully written story the most. I received a free copy with no expectations. Opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Have you read The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and grab this book because you will love it. If your answer is no--well, make sure you read it as soon as you can. Because The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip ranks in my top 5 best books ever read--I have been early awaiting this newest novel by Sara Brunsvold.

The Divine Proverb of Streusel captured me from the moment I read the title. It had everything I love in a novel--deep and real characters, faith lessons, and emotional moments where you forget you are just the reader of the story. Did I mention LOTS of recipes??! My mouth was watering as I read each new additional. And the message that accompanies each recipe in the story are worth almost more than the story itself. As someone who loves to cook and uses it as my love language to my family, I really connected with those recipe proverbs. In fact, after starting the book, I've cooked more in two days than I usually do in a month!

This book is an exploration on how we are supposed to handle situations when we've been DEEPLY hurt by someone who has no regrets and no apologies. How do we forgive someone who has done something that seems (or is) unforgiveable? When they want to just move on yet we are drowning in our emotional ocean? when they want a relationship, yet we are angry. When they are trying to pretend nothing happened, yet our world exploded.

This is what gets explored in this novel and it's done so so well. I fell in love with Aunt Emma. <3

I really really loved this quote by her:

***But Chris has made his bed. He'll need to sleep init awhile yet. Hard as it is, we need to let him. The good news is God's not afraid of an attitude. That divine whack will come in due course--to all the skulls that need it.***

So. Much Yes. I could fill this review with passages I highlighted...because so many spoke to me. And I actually did reflection after this book because I saw areas I myself need to work on. This book is 100% a faith journey and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting a meaty Christian Fiction.

5 Stars.

* I received this as an ARC from the publishers and NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are 100% my own.

Was this review helpful?

This is a heartfelt story that includes faith, family, broken hearts, healing, forgiveness, love, home and the discovery of long-forgotten family recipes!
I found this to be a captivating story from the very beginning. Adult Nikki feels like a little girl again, crying on the inside for the return of her dad. He left her mother and his two daughters, 4 months earlier, and she just received from Hannah, her older sister, a picture of a post on social media of their dad with a woman neither of them had ever met, who is his new wife. Nikki’s relationship with her long-time boyfriend, Isaac is on shaky ground, and she is worried about her mother who has to sell their family home and move in with Hannah’s family, living in their basement.
The last day of school is near so Nikki, a teacher, asks for a personal day, gets in her car, and starts driving through downtown Kansas City, Missouri, leaving her small apartment behind. Soon she finds herself on the interstate driving through suburbs, following the interstate for hours, only stopping once for gas and a snack. That night she ends up at her uncle’s farm in another small corner of Missouri. Although he has a newer house on the property, the original family farmhouse is still there, empty. Nikki does not know the brother of her dad well, having only spent Christmas day at the family farm as a child, and after her Grandma Ann passed, they did not go back anymore, not even on Christmas.
Nikki ends up staying all summer, moving into the old farmhouse. She becomes part of the community, as well as the church family where her uncle attends. She helps him clean up and update the old farmhouse to prepare it to be a rental. An old book that had once belonged to her great grandmother full of handwritten German recipes, along with scriptures from Proverbs turns up and is an immediate treasure. As she is learning to cook by following the recipes and receiving help from Joyce, a woman who had grown up with her dad and uncle she also learns many things family members who came before her. With each new recipe they prepare, local people from the community are invited to share in the meal. Nikki learns that a serving of the delicious German streusel, along with a big dose of faith can heal wounds of the past and change lives.
This is a delightful, heartfelt story, with many references to scripture and the value of friendship and reaching out to others, as well as the healing forgiveness and second chances. The characters in this beautiful story are loveable and hard to forget.
I received a compliment copy of this book. All opinions and remarks are my own.

Was this review helpful?