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Posted October 25, 2012
A moving story
Amy Knackstedt is looking for a new start in Weaverly, Kansas after losing her husband in a grain elevator accident. She hopes to leave the questions behind as to the reason for his death, the insurance has paid her and she wants to move on with her three children. With the help of her community they helped her to find a house and get her moved, now she won't have to face the questioning looks, whispers and turned heads when she walks down the street.
When Tim Roper, a former Mennonite, left home as a young man, his father told him never to return. Tim moved to Weaverly for a new start, which he got. He eventually bought an apple orchard, married Julia and they had a son. One day everything changed for him, after the loss of his wife and son, he started playing the 'what-if', game. Then when a new Mennonite group moved to town, he hated his life even more, he wanted nothing to do with them because of his old memories.
Tim discovered his new neighbors when Porter and Adri were found in his orchard. Porter had climbed one of the apple trees and little Adri was picking the blossoms. After Porter fell out of the tree, Tim took the kids home and informed Amy to keep her children off of his property. Not only did he not want kids living next door to him and invading his memories, they were also Mennonite. Then the dreams started and he didn't know what to do.
Shortly after getting settled the men of her new community came to Amy and asked if they could have their Sunday meetings in her house until they could find another place large enough to meet. Amy agrees but when Tim hears their singing for the services and the friendly mingling afterwards, he gets more irritated than ever.
This is a story about dealing with the loss of loved ones and trying to move on. The stories they have will pull at your heartstrings. Kim does a great job of keeping you interested and wanting more. It was hard to put this book down. Have you ever lost a spouse and/or child, how did you deal with it?
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
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Posted December 24, 2013
When I picked up this book, I was expecting to read about Mennonites as I understood them--ones who were not that different from me. I was always of the opinion that the Mennonites were more "normal" than the Amish. But I quickly learned how wrong I was. There is such a thing called "Old Order Mennonites," and this book prompted my doing some searching on my own, and I discovered that the Amish and Mennonites came from the same source, and I felt like this book pushed me to learn more about these fabulous groups of people!
Lest you think that this is just an informational book, you are wrong. I knew that I had read one other book by Kim Vogel Sawyer, but I couldn't remember which one it was. And then I discovered it was one I didn't like--"Song of My Heart." That was a sappy romance that was very forgettable for me. This book is nothing like that! This book has depth, love, romance, humor (I love it when books make me laugh out loud), and real spiritual lessons. I was incredibly inspired as I read this book!
The characters in the book are 3-dimensional, and I found myself connecting with the story on several levels. I think that Tim, the male interest in the story, helped me understand another man in my life. I am always amazed when God uses fiction books to speak to me, but why not? After all, God can use everything, and I am pleased to say that God spoke to me through Kim Vogel Sawyer. While I would never want to be a Mennonite, I am already to go visit a community. They sound like such wonderful people, and they believe in truly taking care of each other. I never felt that the rules they had to follow ever came across as legalism. My hat goes off to people like this, and I can recommend this easy-to-read, feel-good, clean Christian romance to everyone!
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
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Posted October 8, 2014
"When Hope Blossoms" by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a book that I first read shortly after it came out, but couldn't for the longest time remember the title or the author of the book for the longest time, even though I remembered the story-line and have been wanting to re-read it. Then not too long ago, I came across the book at my library and I knew that I found the book and couldn't settle down to read it that very night. I will never forget the name and author again.
I love the book the second time around as much as I did the first time around. The whole reflecting of ones life, forgiveness, and loving of your neighbor is something that just touched my spirit. Maybe with my desire the last few weeks for this book, I am being told something which I will need to think and pray about.
Even the second time around I found myself laughing, crying and fearful in different scenes, even knowing how it was all going to end. That says a lot I think about how well a book is written, when you can feel those things even after the second reading.
Amy Knackstedt is a woman who is searching for a completely fresh start for her and her three kids after loosing her husband. She is strong in her faith and thankful for everything even after all the trials in her life, and she has enough of those that is for sure. Amy is also a gentle spirit that can't be broken, but she had her weak moments like everyone.
Tim Roper is a man who is on the run from his past, a man who is also hurting in a big way. Tim has been hiding for so long, that now too many things are hitting him all at once, what is going to happen to him and his future.
There is so much that happens in this book without being too crammed full. It kept moving steadily throughout with one question always there in the background but never quite sure exactly what the question is, and not entirely sure it was answered since I couldn't figure it out in the first place, but I didn't feel cheated when the book ended. Not sure if that makes sense but that is how I felt after reading the book.
Truly the self reflecting that happens in the book is something that maybe we don't all experience to this level but we go through it at some level which made the one or ones doing the self reflecting that much more endearing to me. Oh who am I kidding all of the characters are endearing. They were written in such a way that I could picture how each one looks, their mannerisms and even a little of the way they speak.
The acts of the Mennonite fellowship and Amy along with her family show what is truly means what loving thy neighbor means. Even when hurtful words were spoken towards them or their helping hands slapped, they kept reaching out to their fellow neighbors.
This is a well written emotionally charged romance book, that I would recommend to anyone.
Posted September 4, 2014
Being able to start over in a new community and trying to raise her three children must be very hard. I give her the credit to find a way to keep them together while keeping her faith.
I believe that we are put into peoples lives at times when they are needed.
Posted August 23, 2014
Posted November 13, 2012
Well, I just love Kim Vogel Sawyer! I have read several books by her and have several others in "the waiting". I always get excited when she has a new book coming out. If you like nice sweet easy to read stories that have a nice Christian background - I highly recommend this author.
This story is nothing earth shaking, it is not "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" writing but it is a very nice, simple, and very entertaining read!
I always love the characters Kim puts in her books. They are always people you can relate to. Kim has a way of inviting you in and making you feel like a part of the family in her books. I loved Amy in this story! She was a wonderful, sad but strong, mid-aged woman struggling to keep her family together on her own after the death of her husband. Surprisingly - I also loved Bekah, the oldest daughter (a teen). Bekah had a struggling of her own - with her faith. She wasn't sure she wanted to stay with the Mennonites. She had a longing to "be like other teens".
Amy meets her neighbor who has ghosts in his closet as well. I liked his character too! They end up having more in common then they first think.
This is one of my favorite lines -
"Remember what Grandpa always said? God provides food for the robin, but God doesn't throw the worm in the nest - the robin has to dig it up himself."
I love the little modern twists in this book too. Even though Amy is Mennonite she would like to set up a website to advertise her quilting business so she can make enough money on her own to support her family. It is really cute when her neighbor teaches her to use the computer.
Posted September 21, 2012
Tim Roper thought he had left his Mennonite background far behind when he left home as a young man. Twenty years later, he was unhappy to learn that his new neighbors were Mennonites. He had no idea just how much he had in common with his new neighbor. Amy's life had been fraught with loss and sadness just as his had been, but instead of turning away from God, she had learned to trust Him. Would Tim still continue to hide behind the walls he had built, or would he open his heart to love?
For some reason, the popular theme in Christian fiction right now is to write about the more unusual religious groups. The Amish have been popular for the last few years and now the Mennonites are being given their turn in the spotlight. Fortunately for me, I find these groups to be very interesting. Ms. Sawyer has portrayed the Mennonites very nicely; she shows their differences from the outside world while avoiding stereotypes. Although both of the main characters had been through horrendous tragedies in their lives, the author has not made this a tear-jerker. The characters feel real, pulling the reader in and causing her to feel empathy toward them. I hope that Ms. Sawyer will continue to write in this vein; if so, I will happily read more of her work.
Posted September 20, 2012
I was swept away as I began When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I entered the world of young Old Order Mennonite widow Amy Knackstedt, trying to raise three young children on her own. The family settles down in a new town, hoping to get over the pain and loss of the husband and father.
Tim Roper, their nearest neighbor, doesn't want any reminders of the faith that he left many years ago. Nor does he want to be attached to anyone after the loss of his wife and son, but the neighbor children have found a way of sneaking into his heart. Will he be able to find a way to come to grips with his past, or forever remain alone?
This book moved me to tears and laughter. Kim has a unique way of weaving words that touch the hearts of her readers. I highly recommend reading this book.
This book was provided free for review by Bethany House Publishers.
Posted September 13, 2012
Amy Knackstedt and her children hoped that Weaverly Kansas would be a new start for them. Moving away from their home in Arborville Kansas, she was hoping to help ease the hurt of the loss of her husband. At home in Arborville there were memories of Gabe everywhere and she was hoping a new town would make that easier for them all. Her neighbor Tim Roper was not happy to learn that his new neighbors were Old Order Mennonites, the faith that he had left behind when he left home. Also her children, just brought back the memories of his son, who died along with his wife in a horrible car accident.
Amy's oldest daughter is struggling with her faith, and makes a way to spend more time around Tim, knowing that he had left the faith, wondering if she could learn more from him. Her questions she asks her mom seems to only be answered with Scripture references and she wants what she feels are real answers, instead of just finding out what the Bible says about her doubts.
This story is intriguing, I enjoyed it very much. The story line was very interesting and you were drawn into the story, feeling the sorrow they all experienced as they dealt with their losses. You also feel the hope of a new start, as Amy learns new skills to promote her business. Definitely a book to recommend to a friend! 347 pages US $14.99 4 stars
This book was provided for review purposes by Bethany House, no payment was received for this review.
Posted September 10, 2012
Amy has moved to Weaverly Kansas to start fresh. Her husband had been killed in a accident a few years earlier and there are questions about it really being an accident or suicide. She hopes that a new town will help her and her three kids to heal and move on. They soon meet Tim who owns a orchard right next door. Tim used to be a Mennonite as well and is not happy to see Mennonites moving into his area. He soon finds himself spending time with Amy and her kids and it opens old wounds and just maybe will start him on the road of healing from his losses. Will Amy and Tim find love as they take the road of healing?
This book was okay. This is the 2nd book I have read from this author and maybe her books are just not for me. She is a good writer, I am just not loving her books.
What I liked: I really liked Amy’s kids and her oldest Bekah was having some spiritual issues with being Mennonite. Parker and Adrianna made me smile. Also I was glad to see Tim work through his grief over the loss of his wife and child as well as face his past with his parents.
What I did not like: Now I don’t want to bash this book but at the same time I want to be truthful. I found both Amy and Tim kind of boring. Its not that I did not like the characters its just they where kind of flat. Amy was sweet but at the same time by the end of the book I really did not feel like I knew her any better then the beginning and she had not real spunk. Tim did have to deal with more issues and came across as better developed but again the storyline seemed to drag on at times. Also the romance so so. The spark was very dim and the ending was sweet but I felt like the characters really did not interact enough to get to that point they did at the end.
Over all this was a so so book and honestly I would not tell someone to read it. Maybe to some it would be a good book and maybe I have gotten to used to female characters who come across independent and spunky. The story was well written and the ending made me smile but I was very glad to be done with this book and move on. Every person had a few authors who you just can’t get into their books and this might be one for me. Read other reviews and decide for yourself.
Posted September 7, 2012
What a great read, took less than a day and I couldn't put it down. Such a warm, sweet read, filled with faith.
When Amy Knackstedt moves with her children to Weaverly, Kansas to find a new beginning. Three years ago her husband had had an accident at a Grain Mill, and the pain of loosing him, and living with the memories in her small town. She purchased a new, well older home, with some land that other Mennonites who also moved from Ohio...are going to farm.
What she doesn't know is that next door is a man fighting his demons. His wife and son had died in a motor vehicle accident 5 years ago. He is still healing, and being a former Mennonite does not relish the idea of having a family living next door.
Love how the children worm their way...without realizing it into Tim Roper's life. Will he begin to heal, or are the memories of his lost family going to be his demise? Will Amy find the peace she has wanted, and be able to begin a new life for her children.
God has his hand in all of their lives, and I could just feel him there. Be ready for some sweet and loving times, and some heartbreak. Kim Vogel Sawyer has gifted us again with her magic with words...Thank You!
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted August 30, 2012
Typically, I try to keep my opinion on "Chick Lit" to myself. I'm a fan of reading, reading of all sorts, but discernment must be used on occasion. When a publisher contacts me about books available to review, I'll be drawn toward the theological, the biblical studies, the suspense or drama novel and the occasional historical fiction. When it comes to "Christian historical romance" novels, I'll defer to my lovely wife, Ann. However, it's when Ann is asked to do the review that I almost always regret my request in the first place. It's an agonizing process for her.
So, this time, when Bethany House Publishers contacted me, I said I'd review whatever they had available. Along comes Kim Vogel Sawyer's latest work, When Hope Blossoms. First thought? "Oh boy, here we go again." Therefore, I bit the bullet and read it myself. And I was quite pleased.
There are things about Christian romance novels that I find bothersome, but I'll leave that for another post. What I found most attractive about Sawyer's book was the emphasis upon hope and prayer. I've read a fair number of Christian fictional novels and so few stress the relationship with God necessary through Jesus Christ or the constant need for repentance and communion through prayer. Sawyer is doing this frequently throughout her book.
It is this reviewer's opinion that this works well as a point of emphasis because of the setting within a small Mennonite group. Not having read about this group before, I did not know why the women needed to wear the bonnets they do. It's for the purpose of providing a head covering when in prayer; and since they are to pray without ceasing, they wear them whenever they're awake. While I may not agree with the way they get their interpretation of that portion of Scripture (1 Corinthians 11, by the way), I certainly want to honor the way they are reminded to pray without ceasing…and Amy, the key character, does.
This is not to say she doesn't display the human tendencies we all have––loss of patience, jumping to conclusions on occasion with her children, frustration, and more. It's just that when she does, there does not appear to be a long moment in passing that she doesn't call to mind her heavenly Father's presence, goodness and grace, which brings her to a prayerful state of humility and repentance.
Tim (Rupp) Roper is another quite believable character. The anguish of sole for him, his losses and wanderings, truly bring about a tension throughout the story.
I think that many will enjoy this book, and so, I commend it to you.
Posted August 23, 2012
I received a copy of WHEN HOPE BLOSSOMS by Kim Vogel Sawyer, from
Bethany House. I had never read a book with a Mennonite protagonist
before, so I was excited to learn about the religion and culture. From
chapter two onward, I was hook. Sadly, chapter one was a little slow,
so I beg you to at least read a few chapters in before making an opinion
about the book. By the time I was halfway through, I couldn’t stop, and
read late into the night. Amy, a young Mennonite widow, moves to a
new town with her three children. Her son, Parker, suffered a head
trauma that left him with a disability. The neighbor, Tim, left the
Mennonite faith because of his strict upbringing. At first, he resents
the Mennonites, but slowly becomes attached to Amy’s children (which I
found a little odd. Throughout the book, I got a sense of their strong
relationship, but now how he was with Amy until the very end. Their
romance seemed sudden and unprepared, but didn’t make me like the book
any less). Little by little, he reopens his heart to the Mennonite
faith. The story was very touching as it showed his progress. I
would have liked to see more growth from Amy and the children, but the
story really focused on Tim. His character is three-dimensional and
realistic. I learned a lot about the Mennonites and hope to find more
books about them.
Posted July 31, 2012
Posted July 27, 2012
Posted July 26, 2012
After reading 'Fields of Grace' which I enjoyed thoroughly, I bought this book because I wanted to read something else by the author and was not disappointed. Beautiful story of a man returning to his heritage and hope in finding a family again after losing one. Never lost interest in reading this book and highly recommend to anyone. If you have not read any of her books, do not hesitate to buy this book, you will not be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 30, 2013
No text was provided for this review.