Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kim Vogel Sawyer's Bygones ~ Reviewed

By Kim Vogel Sawyer
Published by Barbour Books, April 2007
ISBN 1597894044

After being shunned by her parents for marrying a man outside the Mennonite community, widow Marie Koeppler left her childhood home and never looked back. It was too painful. Now, nearly twenty-five years later, she's stunned to see her former beau walk through the doors of the truck stop where she waitresses. He bring unexpected news.

Marie's aunt has died, and to everyone's surprise, she's left her house, belongings and café to Beth, Marie's daughter. To receive her inheritance, Beth must come and live within the Mennonite community for a period of no less than three months. She determines to live there so she can pay her mother back for all the sacrifices Marie made for her growing up.

Marie returns with Beth to help her adapt to the Mennonite lifestyle and finds more than her list beau waiting fro her, It isn't long before she finds herself wanting to remain. Beth, however, finds herself living under a shadow of suspicion when homes are broken into and antiques stolen. Loyal to her daughter, yet missing the simplistic lifestyle, Marie is once again faced with a heart-wrenching decision.

Romance is not my first choice in books, but if Kim Vogel Sawyer's name is attached, I'll grab it, knowing I'll get a good read. In her second novel Bygones, and the first of a trilogy, Sawyer doesn't disappoint. Reading more like women's fiction, it's a story of hope and restoration. It's a story of a strong relationship between mother and daughter. I saw my own relationship with my mother reflected there.

The conflict between Marie and Henry is believable—their reluctance evokes empathy. The spiritual thread in this book is excellent. Marie's return to her roots is well executed and a natural outgrowth of the character, never feeling contrived. Without spoiling the story, I'll just say Sawyer winds the spiritual message through her stories with the skill of a master-weaver. The best part of reading this book is this author turned off my inner editor. Novel Reviews gives Bygones a high recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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