Amy Knackstedt moves with her children to Weaverly, Kansas, to escape the speculation surrounding her husband's untimely death. She hopes the new location will provide a fresh start for them all. But her neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have a Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. When the children try to befriend him, he resists. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn't want any reminders of his former life. Yet Amy and Tim find their paths colliding far more than either could have foreseen. Will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?
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It has been three years since her husband died, and Amy and her children decide to make a new start in a Mennonite Community in Kansas. Tim is an orchard owner, and neighbor to Amy and her children. When Amy needs help promoting her memory quilting business she goes to him to help her set up a business website.
When Hope Blossoms is an enjoyable read with heart-warming characters and sweet moments of humor. I liked how all of the characters were well well developed and each of the children stood out and shone on their own uniqueness.
Bekah struggles with fitting in and being Mennonite while Tim is still healing from the death of his wife and son, and I felt that those characters especially grew throughout the course of the book.
The characters had great interaction with each other and I learned more about the Plain Mennonite lifestyle.
Overall this book was touching and engaging. And I felt that the relationships progressed naturally. I really liked how the characters felt real, because they had their flaws, but somehow that only made me like them more! A book that I would definitely recommend!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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
When Bethany House asked me to review Kim Vogel Sawyer's new book, "When Hope Blossoms," I got excited. Having read some of Sawyer's Amish fiction, I knew that I liked her writing style and that her plots always drew me in. This particular book is sort of like Amish fiction with a twist, the twist being that the main characters are actually not Amish at all, but are Mennonite instead. For those not familiar with Mennonite culture, they are a denomination of Anabaptist that originally descended from the same tradition that the Amish did, but branched apart at some point in history. They share many similarities, but also have some differences.
This book was a little harder for me to get into than some of the others Sawyer has written. I'm not sure why, but I had a harder time relating to the characters, and I really disliked the older daughter, even though I knew her behavior was completely logical given the circumstances in her life. That said, I did enjoy the book a great deal and am always pleased to read a good Christian book with clean morals and family values, and look forward to reading whatever Ms. Sawyer writes next.
A contemporary love story that I wouldn’t really call a romance, but a story that takes the heart of two characters and steadily draws them closer together.
I thought the setting, a small Mennonite community and one bitter young man, was an interesting take on the “bonnet” fiction sect. I enjoyed that each character brought a struggle to the plot that crafted a sweet and surprising ending.
Why don’t I call this novel a romance? Mainly because the story kept me in limbo the entire time, wondering if these two people would get together. I actually enjoyed this angle, because I wanted to see each one come together, they both have so much to overcome, primarily forgiving people in their past. You don’t have the typical boy meets girl, boy dates girl and boy loses girl equation and I enjoyed the “shake up”.
It’s different than the expected prairie romance and don’t let the cover deceive you to think as such, but within the pages I’m sure many readers are going to find a cast of characters to jerk the heartstrings and entertain the soul.
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
This book is about a Mennonite woman who has had more than her fair share of hard times. Being a very young widow has its challenges especially for a single mom of three children and one with special needs.
What I loved about this book is the openness about the difficult parts of being part of the Amish/ Mennonite community. The simple life draws me in so often. I travel to my Amish neighbors every chance I get because stepping into the slow pace reminds me to slow down my life too. I often glamorize our Amish neighbors yet they do have their issues ~as we all do.
The grass is never greener on the other side of the fence~ which the neighbor~ Mr. Roper teaches this sweet little Mennonite family.
I love this book and rate it 5 stars. The author~ Kim~ so quickly grabs your attention and holds it until the very last line. Great Book!
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.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review bloggers program. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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.
When Hope Blossoms is a book about a Mennonite woman who has suffered many tragedies in her young life. Amy’s husband was killed in a working accident, her son was injured in a farming accident, and local gossip has led her to seek a new life in a new town. She moves to an old farmhouse next to an apple orchard. Her new neighbor, Tim, is suspicious of this woman and her three children. Despite his desire to keep them at a distance, they begin to inch their way into his heart. As he helps this family, he finds himself reliving his own tragic past. His wife and son were also tragically killed in an automobile accident. Tim had left the Mennonite faith 20 years before. When Amy and her family come into his life, he finds himself remembering all he had left behind. He misses his relationship with his family, his Lord, and his Mennonite community. After all the years of seclusion and isolation, he realizes that he desires to once again be part of a family. Tim must make many decisions. Can he let himself love again? Can he reestablish his relationship with his family? Will he surrender his life back to his heavenly Father?
This is a very delightful read that inspires and encourages readers to think about the importance of forgiveness and all-out surrender to God’s plan. Thank you Bethany House Publishers for a copy of this book!
This is my first Amish Christian book and i really loved the story. I like how the time it takes place and how simple life was back then. Very unique and imaginable read. Great romance and how others help one another.
My Take: I read a lot of Amish Fiction . I am excited to see author starting to focus on other Christian sects like Mennonites. This book takes a look at what the Mennonites believe and what is different from the rest of the population. This story has elements that will tug at your heart strings. It will have you routing both of the main characters on as they each deal with the grief in their lives in their own unique ways. I liked the relationship that Amy has with her children and how she has to deal with the budding teenage rebellion that her oldest daughter is starting to have about why they can't go to the public swimming pool for example. I think that Amy handles herself very well considering she is a widow. I know how difficult it is raising children with a spouse to help, I really admire those parents that do it on their own. I received a review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I would recommend this book if you like Amish fiction but what just a slight change of paces.
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.
I always enjoy kicking back with a cup of coffee and reading a Kim Vogel Sawyer book, knowing I will get an old-fashioned read and a happy ending, but with a twist of realism that I can either relate to or that will make me think in a new, hopeful direction. I suppose that WHEN HOPE BLOSSOMS might at first seem like an expected story in the Mennonite category, but it only takes a few pages to see that Kim doesn't want to give readers just any categorical romance in the Amish and Mennonite genre. With themes of grief, widowhood, special needs children, and families trying to forge the best life they know how and sometimes failing, this book is a tender testament to Kim's faith. An inspiring book that will bring hope to anyone who struggles with God's plan for their life.
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.
Once again, Kim Vogel Sawyer has written a book filled with characters that captured my imagination and a piece of my heart. Both Amy and Tim have suffered tragic losses in their lives, yet Amy found strength in her faith and Tim wandered a bit from his. To watch her steadfast determination to accept whatever comes her way, work to provide for her family by using her talents, and to trust in the Lord is surely a symbol of hope to other women. Tim was also an encouragement to others who have built a wall to keep people and God at an emotional distance. As the children begin to melt his icy heart, it is a joy to watch him slowing begin to return to a renewed zest for life, love, and faith. His life was broken and damaged, but restoration was available as soon as he reached out for it.
The children in the story were also a delight. Sweet, loveable Adri loved and accepted everyone with open arms and heart and expected the same in return. Parker was very trusting and innocent, and longed to be able to spend time with Tim and to be his friend. Beckah was going through a time of wanting to know more about the world around her: rebellious, yet respectful--not yet an adult, but with more responsibilities and most girls her age.
The other characters in the book were all people you would want as your neighbors. Some may have seemed to have more of a gruff exterior, but we get to know and love them all as we see the many layers that make them the people they are. Maybe some of the story is filled with people who seem to good to be true or events that seem to resolve themselves too perfectly...but it happens sometimes. No matter what, this was a delightful read that kept my interest and filled me with joy and hope. I really liked it!
I would have given it a 4.5 had the option been available.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
This is one of the first contemporary fiction books I've read about an Old Order Mennonite family, and I noticed lots of similarities and also some differences from the Old Order Amish fiction books I've read. Kim's stories are usually fast reads, and I find myself rooting for her characters. The three children in the story, Bekah, Adri, and Parker, all stole my heart for various reasons. Bekah is trying hard to find her place among her people, Parker just wants to be loved despite his disability, and Adri has no internal censor, cute as she is. Amy fights to make a new life for her family, far away from the rumors surrounding the accidental death of her husband, and Tim doesn't want any reminders of his own losses, especially any Old Order Mennonite reminders. I wondered at times how on Earth Amy and Tim would manage to overcome the odds against them, but that's part of what makes a great romance story!
Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for my review copy.
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.
This book was absolutely wonderful! I love Amish books but this one was a story about a Mennonite family and another man who had walked away from his Mennonite faith. It is a story about faith, restoration, and shows the importance of forgiveness, and helping others. Amy lost her husband in an accident (that was later questioned), and she moved her and her three children to Kansas. Other Mennonite families from another order out of Ohio moved to the area as well. Amy's next door neighbor just happens to be a man that walked away from his Mennonite faith, and had lost his wife and son in a car accident. Amy and her children work their way into Tim's life...and the kindness shown by the other Mennonites that moved into the area and through the prayers that Amy and her children pray for him, they help Tim to finally make things right with his Mennonite Father and Mother. He comes back to his faith and also finds a family to begin his life again with. Excellent story and inspirational without a doubt. It really demonstrates the love of Jesus and the importance of forgiveness and helping others!
Mennonite widow Amy Knackstedt and her three children have moved to Weaverly, Kansas to try to get a fresh start after the death of her husband. As they settle into the old farm house they bought, they discover that they have a new neighbor who runs an orchard on the property next to theirs. The children take to Tim Roper immediately and a friendship slowly develops between all of them. Amy is surprised to learn that Tim is a former Mennonite who has left the faith and is dealing with his own loss in the form of his dead wife and son. As these two neighbors interact they begin to find a comfort from each other that they never expected and a wonderful relationship develops.
When I pick up a Kim Vogel Sawyer book I can rest assured that it will be a moving experience. I have never read one of her books that was not good, but I do believe that When Hope Blossoms is the best one yet. I simply loved this book. It is a story of love and family; of mistakes made and forgiveness given; of reconciliations and compassion. This is a story that touches your emotions and stays in your mind long after you have read it. This is definitely a must read!
I received this complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers for this review. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.