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The Devoted: A Novel
     

The Devoted: A Novel

4.7 39
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
 

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Fan Favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher Offers Readers Tender Romance, Humor, and Plenty of Surprises

Bright, curious, and restless, Ruthie Stoltzfus loves her family but is stuck in a sea of indecision about her future: Should she stay Amish? Or should she leave? She's done all she can to prepare to go—passed the GED, saved her money—but she can't

Overview

Fan Favorite Suzanne Woods Fisher Offers Readers Tender Romance, Humor, and Plenty of Surprises

Bright, curious, and restless, Ruthie Stoltzfus loves her family but is stuck in a sea of indecision about her future: Should she stay Amish? Or should she leave? She's done all she can to prepare to go—passed the GED, saved her money—but she can't quite set her journey into motion.

Patrick Kelly is a young man on a journey of his own. He's come to Stoney Ridge to convert to the Amish and has given himself thirty days to learn the language, drive a buggy, and adapt to "everything Plain." Time, to Patrick, is of the essence. Every moment is to be cherished, especially the hours he spends with Ruthie, his Penn Dutch tutor.

Ruthie's next-door neighbor and cunning ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is drawn to trouble like a moth to a flame. Rebellious, headstrong, defiant, Luke will do anything to win Ruthie back—anything—and Patrick Kelly is getting in his way.

Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites readers back to Stoney Ridge for a story of dreams deferred and hopes fulfilled—complete with Fisher's signature twists that never fail to leave readers delighted.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/03/2016
In this third book of the Bishop’s Family series, Fisher (The Choice) weaves several different storylines into an inspirational whole that focuses on the importance of faith, community, and making the most of one’s life. Ruthie Stolzfus is 17 years old and eager to leave the Amish community in current day Stoney Ridge, Penn., to pursue higher education. Her ex-boyfriend, Luke Schrock, is wild and fond of drinking, and causes trouble wherever he goes. When Patrick Kelly arrives in town with his Scripture-spouting bird, Nyna the mynah , he hires Ruthie to teach him Penn Dutch. Despite her initial negative impression of the clumsy newcomer, she soon begins to have feelings for him. Ruthie’s older brother, Jesse, runs a buggy repair shop, has two unfocused young apprentices, and is befuddled by the arrival of Jenny Yoder, a former classmate and rival. Dok Stolzfus is a former member of the Amish community who left to become a doctor. After taking the blame for a medical error and losing her job, she buys a local practice and sets out to serve the Amish. Meanwhile, her brother, David , the bishop of Stoney Ridge, has challenges leading the community, which seems to be placing its trust in money rather than in God. Fisher is a skillful storyteller who has crafted an engaging three-dimensional portrait of the residents of this fictional Amish community, and the novel’s lessons will resonate with all Christians. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780800723224
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/04/2016
Series:
Bishop's Family Series , #3
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
55,139
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

The Devoted

A Novel


By Suzanne Woods Fisher

Baker Publishing Group

Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Woods Fisher
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2322-4


CHAPTER 1

The bad thing about Ruthie Stoltzfus's job was that it barely paid minimum wage and she had no job security. She was only employed when someone from the Schrock family, who owned the Inn of Eagle Hill, was busy or unavailable, like now.

The good thing about her job was that it was across the road from her home. She liked to think of the now-and-then job as a hotel concierge-in-training, minus the hotel. The Schrocks referred to the position as a filler.

But as for what happened last evening ... nothing ever — ever! — could have trained her for that. She was still shaky from the shock. The guests who had checked out of the inn yesterday had trashed the little cottage. Completely trashed it! Just as she was locking up after she had worked all day long to clean it up, she saw a man stagger over to her.

"Is this a motel?"

"Not really," Ruthie said. "It's a bed-and-breakfast." And then she noticed the man had a cut on his forehead. "You're bleeding."

He lifted a hand to his head as if startled by the thought. "It's nothing. Look, I need a room for the night."

She looked back at the main house. The lights were out. It was late and they'd gone to bed. But the guest cottage was empty, and she knew Rose would appreciate the income. Still, this man seemed odd. Not in a dangerous way, but he seemed dazed, a little confused. Drunk, maybe? She should send him on his way. But then again, what would he do if she turned him away? He was miles from town. "You'll have to pay cash, up front."

He reached behind him, then patted his pants, his shirt front, alarmed. "I don't seem to have my wallet." He reached into his pockets. "I'm good for the money. If you could just trust me. Just for tonight. In the morning, I'll take care of everything. I promise." His eyes pleaded with her.

In the end, Ruthie ignored her usual overriding caution and let him stay. She walked him over to the guest cottage, showed him how to use the kerosene lights, and left him there. As she closed the cottage door behind her, she felt a hitch in her heart. Had she done the right thing? Or the wrong thing. Birdy, her father's wife, often said that the Bible warned they might entertain angels as strangers in need. Nothing about this man seemed particularly angelic, but he definitely was a stranger in need.

Ruthie crossed the road and turned around, walking backward, as she climbed the steep driveway to her family's home. The light in the little cottage was already snuffed out. The man was probably in bed. She'd made her decision. She had to trust it was the right one, even if the stranger-in-need didn't end up paying for the stay.

She slept fitfully, tossing and turning. In the morning, she woke and dressed in a flash. She left a note for Birdy and her dad on the kitchen table, that she had to get to work early and would miss breakfast. She grabbed her shawl from the wall peg and rushed down the driveway. The cottage still looked as quiet as it did last night, though she wasn't sure what she had expected to find. Burned down? Exploded? Don't be ridiculous, Ruthie, she told herself. You're letting your imagination run away with you.

Rose was already in the kitchen at the main house of Eagle Hill as Ruthie walked right in. She looked up at Ruthie in surprise. "You're here early."

"There's a guest in the cottage," she said. "Late last night, as I was heading home — a man came and asked for a place to stay."

Rose straightened up. She looked out in the driveway. "Where's his car?"

"He didn't have one."

Rose got that look on her face, the one that seemed as if she knew this story wasn't going to end well.

"I might have made a mistake, Rose. He seemed to be in some kind of trouble."

"Did he threaten you?"

"No. Nothing like that. He was very polite." She explained the whole story.

Rose went to the window to peer at the cottage. "It's early. Let's wait another hour or so, then I'll take him some coffee."

"Are you mad at me?"

Rose swiveled around. "No. Not at all. Please don't worry, even if the man doesn't pay for the night. You were put in a tough spot and made a decision that felt right to you." She turned back to peer out the window, looking at the cottage, crossing her arms against her chest. "But maybe I'll have Galen take him the coffee."

An hour later, that's just what she did. Galen King, Rose's husband, a no-nonsense kind of man, took a pot of coffee over to the man in the cottage. Not two minutes later, he returned with the untouched coffee tray.

"Is he all right?" Ruthie asked. "Should I call for a doctor?"

Galen set the tray down and slumped into a chair at the kitchen table. "Not a doctor. He definitely doesn't need a doctor." He swallowed. "He needs ... the county coroner."

And that's why Ruthie couldn't stop shaking. The coroner arrived, and after he saw the cut on the man's forehead, his bleeding knuckles, and discovered there was no identification to be found, he called the Stoney Ridge Police Department. They dispatched their only two cars, sirens blaring, which alerted all kinds of townspeople to come out and see what on earth had happened at the Inn of Eagle Hill. A reporter from the Stoney Ridge Times said this was the biggest story to hit the town in two years, since someone had blown up Amish farmers' mailboxes with cherry bombs.

"Perhaps there's a link," the reporter said, sniffing for any clue he could find to flesh out his story. Hard news, in Stoney Ridge, was as scarce as hens' teeth.

"No link at all," Luke Schrock said with certainty. Rose's son, Luke, was Ruthie's on-again, off-again boyfriend, depending on how much patience she had for him. Lately, it was off-again. Luke seemed almost amused by the activity that was quickly filling up the front yard of his family's property.

Ruthie found Luke's attitude to be callous and would have told him so, but the reporter kept pestering her with questions. When the reporter overheard one policeman tell the other that Ruthie was the only one who had seen and spoken to the man, he cornered her. "What kind of weapon was used to murder him?"

"Murder? Who said anything about a murder?" How awful. What horrible chain of events had Ruthie set into motion last night?

"It's obvious," the reporter said. "The bedroom window was open. The man was found on the floor. It's a cut-and-dry case, elementary crime solving. Someone came in through the open window, killed him, and left through the front door. And now" — the reporter muttered to himself, taking down notes — "we've got ourselves a John Doe, right here in sleepy Stoney Ridge."

The policemen were unrolling yellow crime-scene caution tape over the front door of the guest cottage. Ruthie knew one of the officers, Matt Lehman. He was talking to Rose, so she started toward them, hearing him tell Rose to call tonight's inn guests to explain that their reservation had to be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances. Then he turned to Ruthie and told her, twice, that she wasn't to talk to anyone about what she'd seen or done until she'd been questioned.

"Right," Ruthie said. "So don't say anything about the blood."

Suddenly the Stoney Ridge Times reporter was by her side again. "What blood?"

"The man's forehead was bloody."

Matt Lehman scowled at the reporter, led Ruthie to the backseat of his police car, and told her to sit there, say nothing, do nothing.

Luke Schrock watched Matt lead Ruthie to the car. "Don't say anything without a lawyer present, Ruthie! You have rights!"

Matt turned to Luke with a sigh. He was well acquainted with him. "She's not being arrested."

"Oh," Luke said. He waved a hand in the air. "Well, then, carry on."

Ruthie sat in the police car, arms tightly folded against her chest. Murder. She had let an injured man into the cottage, a criminal, probably, only to have him brutally killed in his sleep.

What did I do? she thought miserably.

A little later, Matt Lehman and the other policeman walked over to the police car to question Ruthie about everything she could remember from last night. It was surprising how many details her mind had taken in and filed away without realizing it. The stranger was surprised when she pointed out there was blood dripping down his forehead. He had seemed dazed and confused. Even still, he was very polite, very appreciative.

"Why didn't you ask for the man's name?" Matt said. "Why didn't you ask him for any information?"

For that, she had no answer. It was a set of circumstances that had flustered her, made her feel as if she just wanted to get the man settled in so she could go home. The main house was dark, she was alone, the man seemed like he needed to rest. Looking back, she realized how many mistakes she had made. But the stranger hadn't seemed dangerous.

"Who might have broken into the cottage to murder him?" she asked Matt, and he looked at her strangely.

"What makes you think he was killed?"

"The reporter said so. He called it a homicide."

"Aw, no," Matt said, turning to the other officer. "He's gonna get everyone twitchy."

The officer frowned. "They'll all be hearing things go thump in the night."

"But ... was the man murdered?"

The two police officers exchanged a look. "We aren't sure of anything," Matt said. "Not until we get the coroner's report."

"What about the open window?"

"The innkeeper said there'd been a group in there the other night who trashed the place."

"That was true, but I was the one who cleaned up the cottage yesterday and I didn't notice an open window."

"Ruthie," Matt said. "Are you positive? Absolutely positive?"

"No. I guess not." She wasn't positive of anything anymore.

"Can you think of anything else? Anything at all?"

She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to make herself remember. Her cousin Gabby should have been the one here last night but had moved to Kentucky with her new husband, Dane. With Gabby's unique attention to detail, she could've given the policemen a blow-by-blow detailed report.

Her eyes popped open. "He had no wallet." Something else tickled her memory. "When he reached for his wallet, he pulled out a ticket stub. It was to a Lancaster Barnstormer baseball game." She recognized the logo because her brother Jesse often slipped off to go to home games. She was rather pleased with herself. Such recall!

The officers were not as pleased. In fact, they seemed rather disappointed as they closed their notepads.

Matt handed her a card. "If anything else comes to mind, give me a call." A stain of pink started up the sides of his cheeks. "Or you could have your aunt track me down."

"My aunt?" Her aunts lived in Ohio.

His cheeks went redder still. "The doctor."

Oh! That aunt. "You know Dok? How?"

"I've bumped into her a few times at the hospital." His face was now streaked with red blotches.

Oh. Oh! Matt Lehman was sweet on her aunt! How curious.

As soon as the policemen finished with their questions, Ruthie walked over to the porch of the farmhouse, where Rose King stood waiting for her.

"Are you all right?" Rose asked.

"I suppose so." Ruthie looked at the cottage, at the ribbons of yellow caution tape covering the door. "I'm so sorry. I should never have let that man stay here last night."

Rose put an arm around her shoulders. "You did what you thought was best. Innkeeping is all about dealing with strangers. I'm not sure what I would've done if I'd been in your shoes."

"But look at what it's turned Eagle Hill into. A human zoo."

Rose's gaze swept over the driveway to the cottage. A police car, a handful of horses and buggies, dozens of scooters, clumps of Amish men and women standing together, all curious onlookers. "Well, no doubt it'll all blow over soon."

Ruthie hoped so, but something deep inside her felt this was just the beginning.


* * *

It was a beautiful July day. Life had its twists and turns, but right now, it was smooth sailing. David Stoltzfus had never felt more content, more optimistic about the future.

He felt light as air.

He gave the horse's reins a shake to back up the buggy, eager to return home.

Home. What a beautiful word.

Home to Birdy. His wife.

His wife. It still amazed him, to wake up each day beside this woman, whom he dearly loved and grew more attached to each day. It was a different kind of love he had for Birdy than for Anna, his first wife and the mother of his children. Different, but in a way, it was more precious. He knew how fleeting life could be, how quickly things could change.

Yes, David thought, he had much to be thankful for: his calling to be bishop, his health, his friends, his family, and now his wife. Life had certainly thrown him some curves, and doubtless there would be further tests, trials, and tribulations. But just for now, on this beautiful summer day, it was to be enjoyed in all its fullness and with all its wonders.

He thought back to this morning, to holding his beautiful little newborn grandson in the crook of his arms. The baby was mewling away when Katrina passed the bundle to David and his crying stopped immediately. He opened his dark blue eyes and peered at him, as if he knew he already had a place deep in his heart.

A grandchild. His second. A boy! His first.

For a long while, he studied this little baby who stared back at him. He lay still, silent, his fists closed tight, his wispy hair fine as silk. David kissed the baby's forehead. He was sure no baby on earth held a candle to how beautiful his little grandchildren were at birth, not even his own six children. He watched the baby's pulsing scalp, counted his tiny toes and fingers. So miniature, so perfect. A miracle.

Too soon, Thelma Beiler, a beloved elderly woman with whom Katrina and her family lived at Moss Hill, insisted he relinquish the baby and return him to his mother. As he placed the baby in Katrina's arms, Thelma gently scolded him like a mother hen, practically shooing him out of the house. "You've got bishop work to tend to." And she was right. He had a full schedule and then some ahead of him.

As David watched Katrina rest the baby against her shoulder, a wellspring of emotion emerged within him, a memory so powerful and vivid that it made his eyes sting and he had to turn away. She reminded him so much of Anna. Maybe that's why people enthused about becoming grandparents: it brought up so many poignant memories, long buried.

The horse nodded her big head, making the harness jingle, snapping his attention to the present. A police car, lights flashing, siren screeching, was flying down the road past Moss Hill's turnoff. How odd. It was rare to see a police car over in this part of Stoney Ridge — it was made up almost entirely of Amish farms. And then his thoughts drifted to Luke Schrock and, perhaps unfairly, he automatically assumed the police visit had something to do with Luke. What might the boy have done now? Luke wasn't a boy, David thought to himself. Nor was he a man. He was stuck somewhere in between.

As he flicked the reins, clucking to the horse, Thistle, to turn left from the driveway onto the road, his mind traveled from Luke's frequent brushes with the law to the farms he passed, all belonging to church members of Stoney Ridge, and settled on the church that bound them together. Two years ago, the little church had weathered a great wound and survived. More than survived. It was thriving. The baptism class this last spring was the largest one in years. No families had moved away for over two years. In fact, the church's population had increased with new families moving in.

He stopped the horse for a moment to watch the pump-jacks atop Moss Hill, bobbing their heads up and down as they pulled oil from deep inside the earth. Those oil pumps — they were a blessing to this community. It astonished him, and humbled him too, to think the oil had been there, all this time, waiting to be discovered. More Amish families had leased their land after having it surveyed for oil traps. Those oil leases had given Stoney Ridge a fresh wind. The church was able to pay off substantial bills, to build a reserve for future emergencies, and to offer aid to other churches.

The role of bishop still felt new and a little uncomfortable to David, as if he were wearing a coat that was much too big for him. The previous bishop, Freeman Glick, a tall and broad man, had a powerful presence. Even his long beard, gray and flourishing, conferred considerable authority.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Woods Fisher. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Imposter, The Quieting, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

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The Devoted: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Sweet romance with enough action to keep me turning the pages . Although it's part of an interesting series,it is fine as a stand alone novel. As always I enjoyed Susanne Woods Fisher's writing.
Bookworm_Debbie 7 months ago
An incredibly thought provoking Amish novel! I really love the depth of the characters in this book. They are so real that I felt like I could meet them in person if I just visited Lancaster County. The emotional problems that many of them are dealing with are things that many people face. I really like the connection between Ruthie Stoltzfus and her Aunt Ruth “Dok”. The similar paths and relationship questions are great. I found it very interesting that Dok was the first one of the adults that was able to speak wisdom into Ruthie’s life. David Stoltzfus is a wonderful God fearing man. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the time he spent searching the word of God and reasoning out the instructions for life inside it. He is truly a shepherd for the church in Stoney Ridge. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion. Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above 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 and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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.*
Becky5 7 months ago
Oh, wow! I am rereading parts of this book,The Devoted, by Suzanne Woods Fisher, to complete my review. It still leaves me with the same sense of awe and wonder I had the first time. I'm ready to read it all over again, already. Now there's a good book! What makes for such a good book? Several things. Fisher presents us with an unusual bishop,David Stoltzfus,compared to the ones we usually see. David is thoughtful, not dogmatic or legalistic for their own sake. He wants to understand each situation separately. David's son,Jesse,has his appearances, although the book focuses more on Ruth, David's sister, and Ruthie,his daughter. These characters are all well-drawn and rounded. So many people to follow with their relationships and feelings. Yet, Fisher ties them all together for a tremendously well-woven, warm Amish quilt feeling. When the book ends, you feel like you have been under that warm Amish quilt and don't want to come out, because you're way too comfortable and happy. Suzanne Woods Fisher just was added to my list of favorite Amish authors. I received this book as a complimentary copy, but will not hesitate to buy any others. All opinions presented here are solely my own.
BrittanyMc 8 months ago
I enjoyed The Devoted, which is the third installment of The Bishop’s Family series. I think it could be enjoyed even if the other books haven’t been read. However, each book in the series has recurring characters so it is fun to have read them all. I really liked Patrick and what he brought to the story. Ruthie and Dok’s storylines were great too! There was a lot going on in this book. I liked catching up with these characters who I knew from the previous stories. There was certainly a humorous thread running through parts of the book, especially when the reader was able to see things through Jesse’s eyes and all he has to handle with his unruly apprentices and the return of a girl from his past. The Devoted touches on some serious issues, has some light threads of romance, and is full of interesting characters. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
KrisAnderson_TAR 9 months ago
The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher is the third book in The Bishop’s Family series. Ruthie Stoltzfus is seventeen years old and living in Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania. Ruthie knows she wants something more. She even took the GED without anyone knowing. She is inspired by her aunt, Dr. Ruth Stoltzfus. Ruthie just needs to figure out exactly what she wants. Patrick Kelly has come from Canada and is determined to become Amish. He wants to totally immerse himself in the culture and has given himself thirty days to learn everything he needs to know to become a good Amish person. He has hired Ruthie to teach him Penn Dutch. Ruthie enjoys spending time with Patrick. He is different from Luke Schrock, her ex-boyfriend. Luke does not like seeing Ruthie with someone else. But Luke is not ready to settle down. He has too much fun drinking and getting into trouble (which is why he is an ex-boyfriend). Dr. Ruth is having some problems of her own. Thanks to her boyfriend, Ed Gingerich she is now out of job. Dr. Ruth now has the chance to take over Dr. Max Finegold’s practice in Stoney Ridge. Dr. Ruth ran away from this town when she was younger. Is she ready to come back? Will the Amish community accept Dr. Ruth as their new doctor? Life is never dull for the citizens of Stoney Ridge. The Devoted was an enjoyable book to read. It is a heartwarming novel with enjoyable characters, nice setting, and good messages. The Devoted cannot be read alone. In order to understand the characters and their dynamics, you need to read the other novels in the series (otherwise, you will be confused). The novel is well-written and has a sweet ending. The Devoted deals with alcolhism, teenage growing pains, illness, love, faith and much more. Scripture verses are sprinkled throughout the novel to help reinforce the messages (sometimes it is a little preachy). I give The Devoted 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). If you enjoy Amish novels, I recommend The Bishop’s Family series. I look forward to reading more books by Suzanne Woods Fisher in the future.
Debragg 9 months ago
"The Devoted" is another great book by author Suzanne Woods Fisher. Whenever I really want to read a nice story I grab one of her novels. "The Devoted' is a story of love and hope. Ruthie Stoltzfus has done all she can to start out on her own. She has just met Patrick Kelly and she will never be the same. Patrick wants to be Amish. After thirty days he will decide what he is going to do. Ruthie is going to be his helper. But, her past boyfriend Luke Schrock wants to get Ruthie back. Can he stop Patrick from maybe taking her away? I give this book a 5/5. I was given this book by Revell Publishing Company and all opinions are mine.
Kathae 10 months ago
My esteem for Suzanne Woods Fisher grows with each book of hers that I read, and The Devoted gives testimony to her excellence as a writer. The residents of Stoney Ridge truly feel like old friends, and it was a joy to meet with them again. The characters have such depth, and for a simple story set in a small town, there was a lot going on. Prayers were answered, miracles happened, babies were born, and saints departed. My favorite character was David, through whose perspective much of the story takes place. As the church's bishop, and the head of his household, he had much wisdom to impart, developed through years of study and prayer. He was very in tune with God and kept a loving watch on the members of his congregation. And getting into his head as he prepared for his sermons: Profound. This book was so uplifting. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiction, both men and women. I love that the "Amish" part of these Amish fiction novels does not impede the flow of the story. I was provided a free copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. All opinions are my own.
Britney_Adams 10 months ago
The Devoted is a wonderful story! In this third and final installment of The Bishop’s Family series, Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the quaint community of Stoney Ridge with Ruthie Stoltzfus contemplating her life and her love interests. Revisiting beloved characters, as well as introducing new ones, this heartwarming tale is rife with drama and emotion and brimming with words of wisdom. One of my favorite quotes- “Every single spoke is needed to keep the buggy balanced. Each one matters.” Although The Devoted continues story lines that began in earlier books, it can easily be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. However, fans of Amish fiction won’t want to miss a single story! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
tickmenot 10 months ago
Is The Grass Any Greener On The Other Side? Do you ever daydream about being part of the Amish people, enjoying their close community and strong family ties? That is how Patrick Kelly feels, and he has come to Stoney Ridge to live among them for thirty days. While there, he wants to learn their language and how to drive a buggy, and be ready to convert at the end of his stay. Ruthie Stoltzfus thinks Patrick is just one more outsider that wants to try-out the Amish lifestyle, who--like all the others--will quickly run away when he experiences how hard life is without modern conveniences. She believes being Amish is a life of drudgery and hard work, and can't understand why anyone would willingly want to join them. Seventeen-year- old Ruthie wants to do something significant with her life, and does not think that could happen as a Plain person. During Patrick's time in Stoney Ridge, he finds things aren't quite as perfect as he thought Amish living would be. At the same time, Ruthie finds that Amish life looks a lot different when viewing it through Patrick's eyes. Will the slightly built Patrick find Amish life is too hard for him, and leave before the thirty days are up? Will Ruthie allow her trouble making suitor to drag her down with his poor choices? Will Ruthie and Patrick ever become friends, maybe even more than friends? This story will draw you in right away. The scripture quoting bird, Nyna the Mynah, is hilarious, so are the apprentices at the buggy shop, and Jesse's tongue-tied fate every time a certain girl is around. Serious subjects such as an unexplained death, alcohol abuse, and the heartache of a young man suffering from a fatal disease are also included in this tale. There is even the interesting problem of too much prosperity causing the Amish to be less generous than when they lived in want. The kindly local Bishop, who is Ruthie's Dad, shepherds them through it all with lots of prayer, as well as, turning to the Bible for inspiration. I have read many Amish books, and really enjoy the genre, but The Devoted is by far one of my favorites. You will have a smile on your face when you finish this heart-warming tale. Although this is book three in The Bishop's Family series, this installment stands on its own. But I bet you will want to read the others, because this one is really that good! This is a five-plus star book that I highly recommend. Whether you enjoy Amish themed stories, or just well-written fiction, you will be very happy with this book. Revell Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Devoted, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
JustCommonly 10 months ago
Some authors have a way of giving readers quite the impact without realizing it until the very last page, just like The Devoted, book 3 of The Bishop's Family by Suzanne Woods Fisher. You know it's good throughout the pages, but how good, you might not have grasp it until the end, when a satisfied sigh escapes. Let's go through this. The characters. We have it all, those who make you laugh like Jesse Stolzfus, Hank Lapp, Patrick Kelly, Birdy, and Jenny, and those that annoys you like lost boy, Luke. There's David Stolzfus, the bishop who simply put is genuinely kind and full of wisdom. He's one of my favorites of this series in Stoney Ridge, but combined with Birdy (my favorite character), their profound insight and goodness permeates throughout the book. To me, they highlight this series, though it's not technically focused on them. The message as a whole, about time, God's time, your time and patience in waiting for God's plan for you - well done. I love that this story isn't about just one couple, but about the community as a whole and several individuals in and related to the community. As you already know I love David and Birdy. Jesse, Hank and Jenny are quite hilarious in their own ways. Hank - you will laugh, at least chuckle whenever he makes an appearance. Ruthy, Luke and Patrick's story, ahhh. I like it. It's slow, but not slow as it the pace is bad. It's a like a slow burn, allowing the emotions and development to take its turn . I like Ruthie's uncertainty and Patrick's "wise-beyond his years" type of intelligence. Luke, a lost child that turns to his wild ways to fill the hole inside of him, and he's not perfect. He's trouble, yet you can't help but be drawn to him and what will happen. I even like Freeman Glick, the "antagonist" of past books in the series. Suzanne writes with a level of sophistication that you read and feel in her books. The Devoted is no different. Ruthie's simple questions about God, our roles, His plans, all are reminders to us. With prudence and sincerity, we join in on the journey our friends in Stoney Ridge takes in love, life, and the cultural issues that is affected by the influx of the Englisch life. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.
ARS8 10 months ago
I have really enjoyed Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Bishop’s Family series, and I think this third in the series tops them all. From the very shocking beginning incident to the delightful ending, what a powerful book full of so many deep, pressing issues and so many truths to be learned and reminded about ourselves. I really liked so many things about this book: the sense of community, contentment versus discontent, the effects of depression and alcohol, trusting the gift more than the giver, and so much more. I found myself at times catching my breath due to some of the outcomes and other times giggling at the subtle underlying humor. Author Fisher certainly has a way with her words that keeps me riveted in her stories, especially this particular family and town. This is a story of individuals, a family, and a town, told through multiple viewpoints so that we are given a complete picture of how each individual is important and leaves their mark on the community. There are a couple of romances to root for and some surprising outcomes. The title, The Devoted, has so much more meaning as you read this story and come to the satisfactory ending. These characters will stay with me for quite a while. I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all reviews expressed are my own.
Anonymous 10 months ago
The Devoted is book three in The Bishop’s Family series. This book focuses on seventeen-year-old Ruthie Stoltzfus. Ruthie is being pulled in so many directions. Should she remain within the familiar surroundings of the Amish Community of Stoney Ridge, or should she pursue higher education outside of the community? Should she continue her relationship with handsome Luke Schrock in spite of his poor life choices which hurt so many around him, or should she pursue a relationship with Patrick Kelly, a guest at a local inn who is considering converting to the Amish? While it is wonderful to have choices, making them can be difficult and life altering. Patrick’s appearance has had an impact on Ruthie’s father, David Stoltzfus, the Bishop, as well. As Patrick contrasts what he had anticipated Amish life would be like with the reality of Amish life in Stoney Ridge, David is forced to face some realities as well. How has the last three years of prosperity made possible by the discovery of oil on land owned by Amish families impacted their community? Has the community’s faith become misplaced? Have their priorities been altered? If so, what is the correct course of action? The questions with which David struggles should be questions each and every Christian should ask themselves, whether living in prosperity or not. Visiting Stoney Ridge again is like going home, finding out about new relationships, interacting with eccentric uncles, trying to please stern-faced aunts, oohing and aaahing over how the children have grown, and mourning those that are no longer there. Suzanne Woods Fisher allows us to see inside the Amish world, and helps us discover that we really aren’t so different, our challenges are often their challenges as well. Suzanne Woods Fisher shows a deep understanding of the Amish, and her love for these people shines through in her writing, while always remaining realistic, not romanticizing the Amish community. Her writing brings out a variety of strong emotions; sometimes gluing me to the story, unable to put the book down; other times causing me to put the book down and step aside for a moment. I would highly recommend this book to Amish fiction fans, and also to those who love to study human nature. Thank you to Revell Publishers and the Christian Blog Alliance for providing me with The Devoted in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.
Virginiaw 10 months ago
Ruthie must decide whether she wants to remain with the Amish or leave and get more education. During this time she is trying to decide whether she wants to remain Luke Schrock's girlfriend. He is doing many things she does not like but she thinks she still is in love with him. Then in comes Patrick who wants to become Amish and is a gentleman. This book makes you laugh and cry. I love the characters. I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion.
SeasonsofGrace 10 months ago
I think this is the last book in the series... Sigh... This was such an enjoyable series to read. I loved every book. Each book could stand alone, but I would recommend that you read each book as they all kind of go together. This book is mainly about one of David's daughter's Ruthie and her restlessness. She isn't happy being Amish, but she really doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. Until... Enter Patrick, a young man with limited time on his hands and a deep seated desire to become Amish. At first she isn't very fond of him, but the annoyance soon turns to intrigue, as she feels a compelling calmness about him. It seems he truly knows how to enjoy life. Without realizing it, he is teaching Ruthie to live "in the moment" and appreciate all the simple things in life. So much so... that even Amish life... might not be so bad after-all. But tragedy strikes as Luke, Ruthie's ex-boyfriend, jumps in and things get out of control. This may be my favorite book yet in the series . One of the things I love about these books is that they don't seem to me like your typical Amish. There is a lot going on in this book. David, the Bishop, feels as though something just isn't right in his community. After some difficult times, the community has become prosperous, wealthy even. And although it seems like things are looking up, David is concerned about the undertones - the feeling that something is missing. But he can't quite pin point the problem or how to solve it. I like the fact that Suzanne doesn't make it all about rules and regulations. She makes it about relationship with God and raises some awesome thought provoking ideas for the reader. I am truly impressed and was myself convicted various times throughout the read. I would highly recommend this series. I am really hoping Suzanne will write a few more - there are still characters to work with. This book was provided to me free by Celebrate Lit. I was not required to review it positively, and all opinions are my own.
jacksonmomLV 10 months ago
I was so excited to read this final book in The Bishop's Family series that I accidentally ordered it TWICE! But not to worry - once again, author Suzanne Woods Fisher weaves together another fascinating story from Stoney Ridge to assure us that God does indeed have a loving plan for each of His children. It was so nice to 'meet' new friends, as well as see loose ends tied up for several old favorites. My favorite quote from this book (and there were many contenders) was Patrick's answer to Ruthie's question about courage: "There was a point when I had to decide whether my fears or my hopes should matter most." Would I be that honest and brave if I were facing a serious illness that could shorten my life? But in reality, each of us IS terminal, and Fisher reminds us to spend our days pursuing what really matters according to the Giver of every perfect gift. Or in the words of Officer Matt to Dok, "It's a funny thing about time. There always seems to be enough of it for the things that really matter." Ohh, that's the uncomfortable part...looking at our days and seeing what our true priority has been as measured by our use of time. Have we served God or mammon? Fisher examines how prosperity has changed the Amish church in Stoney Ridge, and not always for the better. I really enjoyed seeing the growth in Bishop David as he and his new wife Birdie navigate several church and family struggles. Throughout this book, David mulls on Biblical texts as he decides how to lead his flock. Central to this story is Ruthie, David's daughter, who is looking for purpose and direction in her life. It was beautiful to see how she learned from others' mistakes and came to see what/who she truly valued in life. This is a satisfying read, especially if you are familiar with the first two books in the series. I saved it to enjoy on a trip to Ohio's Holmes county, but trust me, wherever you read it, you will be instantly transported to Amish country. I only wish it weren't the last volume in The Bishop's Family series.
lolly-pops 10 months ago
First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, THE DEVOTED is a wunderbaar gut story. I absolutely loved Patrick, and while there was absolutely nothing heart-pounding about the romances in the story, there were some sigh worthy moments. Ruthie is much more opinionated than the average Amish girl, and she is thinking about leaving the Amish. She is sort of dating wild child, Luke Schrock, but he is TROUBLE and seriously she can do so much better. Likewise, her aunt Ruth, a doctor could do better than the conceited specialist she's dating. And Jesse. He did a lot of growing up in this story. There was a LOT to keep up with in this story. Lots of romances, lots of drama, lots of other things going on behind the scenes. And if the readers hadn't read the first two books in the series (The Imposter and The Quieting) they wouldn't have a clue what is happening in this story. In fact, it'd also be helpful to read the books in the two previous series (The Keeper, The Haven, The Lesson, The Letters, The Calling, The Revealing) as there are a lot of intermingling of stories. THE DEVOTED was engaging, but it was easy to put down and walk away from. It took me a long time to read it as a result. I wasn't immersed in story. It seemed rather--tired. As if the characters needed a rest. And some of them did!
MaureenST 10 months ago
The Devoted is the third book in The Bishop’s Family series, and we get caught up in the lives of the Stoltzfus family. Lives have moved on, and now David is married to Birdie, so glad, and there are going to be new additions to the family with Katrina and Andy. Jessie is still pining for Min, and we hope he will move on, and lastly we have Ruthie still giving Luke second chances. Some very horrendous acts are committed here, and you will really be shocked by some of them, I know I was. There is also a new fellow in town, and he of course, is keeping a secret, Patrick Kelly, he desires to become Amish in one month, huh? You will soon be wrapped up in this book and page-turning to find out the answers to all of the questions that you are going to have. The end of this book will answer a lot of questions, but I could go on forever with this dear family, sad to have a series end. Pick this one up and you won’t be disappointed, I recommend that you read the other equally great books, but this one can be read alone. I received this book through the Publisher Revell’s Blogger Tour, and was not required to give a positive review.
MeezCarrie 10 months ago
I adore Stoney Ridge and its characters. (I even liked Freeman Glick in this one. *gasp*) Like Hank Lapp who SHOUTS NEARLY EVERY HAREBRAINED IDEA HE HAS and subsequently keeps me giggling in nearly every scene he’s in. Ok… not nearly every. Just every. And when he shares a scene with Jesse? The giggles increase to full-blown laughter. Those two are quite a pair. In The Devoted, their discussion on why a girl would “show up in a new town, for no apparent reason”, had me highly entertained. (“WAIT! WHO’S THE GIRL?”) Or like David Stoltzfus, one of my favorite fictional ministers and dads ever – Amish or otherwise. His quiet wisdom is often profound, yet his genuine warmth and affection keep him approachable and easily liked. He possesses a more dry humor than his son Jesse, but it’s no less endearing. In The Devoted, we are treated to plenty of Hank Lapp and David Stoltzfus, something that makes me smile with bookish delight. But we also get to spend more time with Ruthie… and Stoney Ridge’s black sheep Luke Schrock … and a new face in the mix – Patrick Kelly. If your first thought was “Patrick Kelly is not an Amish name” you would be right. He’s Canadian Catholic, to be precise, but he wants to be Amish – and he’s learning through immersion. It’s through Patrick’s eyes – and then David’s – that Fisher reminds me why she is one of my favorite authors of Amish fiction (because I’m actually pretty selective in this genre). Her characters are not part of some perfect Amish utopia. They are lifelike and honest and likable… and flawed. It makes them human. It makes them like me. Bottom Line: Be prepared to laugh and smile a lot in The Devoted, but also be prepared to blink away a few tears. Because while there is much warmth and heart and love captured in these pages, there is also sadness and sin and regret. The emotion rings true and authentic, and you will find yourself holding your breath as you turn the pages – waiting for outcomes and decisions and results. The characters really do feel like friends, and I so hope we continue to check in with them. And even though this is the third in the series, it can absolutely be read as a stand alone. Just don’t miss the other books because they are fantastic too! (I received a complimentary copy of this book.)
DKStevens119 10 months ago
I do enjoy Amish stories and this is one that shows the ups and downs of Amish life to be not so different than the English life. We see how Ruthie is wanting to take a journey to the English side and continue her education while Patrick just wants to go from the English side to the Amish way of life. There are heartaches, a young man suffering alcohol dependency, defiance and a struggle for the Bishop to just get the community back on the right track. Suzanne brings the life of Stoney Ridge up close and personal.. I have enjoyed every book in this series and would recommend this one if you like Amish stories of life, love, family and faith.. I was gifted a copy to read and review with my honest opinion...
Mar-J 11 months ago
The Devoted is an Amazing Story I was reeled into the story from the first paragraph and did not want to stop reading until I finished this astonishing story. The Devoted, book three in The Bishop’s Family series, was filled with true to life characters that were struggling with their life, heritage, faith, and multiple occasions where they were tested to see where their faith, devotion, and love stood with God and their community. It was so nice to catch up with the Stoltzfus family to see what was transpiring in their lives. Wow, some of the members had made tremendous strives toward maturity while others were conflicted with life. I loved the special scenes with the Bishop David Stoltzfus and Birdie interwoven in this story and the depth of their love, compassion, and desire to see the best in each community member. I appreciate the strengths and views of Bishop David Stoltzfus that Suzanne had him to be in The Devoted, as well as in The Imposter and The Quieting. David perception of life was “being helpful was an act of grace. Tangible evidence of the loving, kind character of God.” (page 45) David realized his daughter Ruthie was struggling about her future and if she was going to remain Amish or follow his sister Ruth into the English world. His sister Ruth was called Dok and had left the Amish to become a medical doctor. I enjoyed having Dok as one of the secondary characters in The Devoted. The thought of the Bishop that is expressed on the last page is a lesson readers should all take away from this delightful story. Luke Schrock continued causing conflicts that were unanticipated with serious consequences, which only made Ruthie more intolerant of him. When one of Luke’s shenanigans resulted in Patrick Kelly being injured there were some tense moments with uncertainty of what was going to happen. There were moments of tears, cheering a determined doctor on, to moments of laughter. Will Patrick be able to meet his goal of being immersed in the Amish ways or will his view of the Amish change because of Luke’s behavior? How will Luke react when Bishop David meets with him after learning about Luke’s insensitivity to Patrick and others in the community? The Devoted is filled with multiple scriptures, Biblical stories and life lessons of living a devoted and pure life before God. Fisher has realistic characters with every day difficulties that are not sugar coated but presented with grace and pose that cause you to connect with the different characters. I would love to see another series by Suzanne Woods Fisher with these same characters, to see what, how and where they are in life after discovering God is faithful when they stay true to Him. I received a complimentary copy of The Devoted from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review but have shared my honest opinion.
Baranski1987 11 months ago
The Devoted is book three in The Bishop's Family series by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Back to Stoney Ridge we go! I love getting to go back to visit and catch up with characters that I know and love and get to know new ones. Suzanne knows how to capture your heart when she writes a story. The Devoted is a book that is full of faith, love, hope, heartache and pain. There is so much happening in this story you will have a hard time putting down this book. Be sure to order your copy of The Devoted by Suzanne Woods Fisher today. 4.5 stars! I received a complimentary copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion.
MelissaF 11 months ago
This book open with a scene that will draw you in. And I was. I was very excited to read more and see what would happen with these characters. Suzanne does a great job of bringing this environment to life and introducing many characters. If you have read this series I supposed you won’t be introduced to them, you will already know them. But I hadn’t read any of the books before. And there might be my problem. I didn’t really know the characters and there were so many that I felt what was promised on the back didn’t show itself soon enough. I began to wonder if Patrick was really a main character or not, or if he was just a secondary character. Even by page seventy I was wondering these things. His role in the book didn’t seem too important. So much more focused seemed to be on the other characters and I felt a bit let down because I didn’t feel the back cover promised me what I had hoped. This isn’t a bad book at all, as I said I was drawn in immediately, but I did find it very easy to put down and walk away. I think, for me, there was just too much going on that some things got lost along the way. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.
poochiepepper 11 months ago
Another thought provoking book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. She really makes you think about every day things. One of the problems with the Community this times seems to be the more financial security there is as with the oil, the less charity or helpfulness the Amish community partakes in. And that happens. I personally know of an instance at a church school where some of the wealthier or busier parents didn't want to help with a concession stand at the sports events. So they paid for others to take their place. The church school board made a new rule of each and every parent participation. No exceptions. I can't wait for the next book!!!
Anonymous 11 months ago
The Devoted is book three of The Bishop's Family series, but it definitely could be a stand-alone book if one has not had the pleasure of reading the first two books. In The Devoted, we return to Stoney Ridge and the Stoltzfus family. David, patriarch of the family, also serves as the district Bishop. The community is doing well financially as oil rights have been established on many resident's land. However, David realizes that the new found financial wealth has effected many of the community in a negative way. The book follows David as he assist his flock in reflecting on how they have have strayed. The book also focuses on Ruthie, David's 2nd daughter. Ruthie is debating on her Amish lifestyle or embarking into the English world like her aunt and namesake, Dok. As Ruthie advances through the book, she has to understand that she may not be looking at the right way to follow her dream of making a difference in the world. We also read of Ruthie's decision to follow her heart after her long-time love, Luke who is facing his own set of problems, or Amish-want-to-be, Patrick who shows up to immerse himself in the Amish lifestyle to determine if he wants to convert. I loved how the book focused on how easy it is to let the world influence and interfere with our relationship with God. It also allows us to see how easy it is to be blinded to others hurts when we are so focused on our own selves. Suzanne Woods Fisher brings us another great book full of love, betrayal, mystery, and faith. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves Amish fiction and to those who don't. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher for my honest review with no compensation. This review is my honest opinion of the above mentioned book.
joyful334209 11 months ago
This is a charming Amish story. It isn't even that really it is as if the author invites you into the family of the Stoltzfus's. You are just one more sibling, you honestly feel like you are involved in their lives and you are invested into their feelings and their problems. You honestly feel genuine happiness, tears, laughter, being a little upset etc. This is one amazing story. This is about Ruthie, who is Amish, who got her G.E.D. and is contemplating joining the English world, but along comes Patrick who is thinking of joining the Amish world and Ruthie is his Amish tutor for the 30 days that he is trying it out. Ruthie starts to see Amish life through his eyes it opens hers and she's not the only one. The Bishop (her father) starts to see things that he has forgotten and overlooked. Ruthie wants to spread her wings and fly but can she do that where she is? does Patrick like the Amish world or is it a little too rigorous for him? does Ruthie and Patrick get together or does Ruthie's ex get in the way? does Ruthie end up in the Amish world or the English? does Patrick end up in the Amish world or the English? I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review