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A Sister's Secret by Wanda Brunstetter

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The Advocate

A Sister's Secret
by Wanda Brunstetter

Reviewed by Sheryl Root

"Wanda Brunstetter is a master at taking her readers into the day-to-day lives of the Amish community."

A Sisters Secret is the first in the new series by multi-published author, Wanda Brunstetter, the Sisters of Holmes County. Reading it is like visiting family you haven’t seen in a while. You step into an ongoing story, and part of the enjoyment is catching up with them and finding out what you’ve missed since you’ve seen them last.

It’s been four years since Grace Hostettler returned to Holmes County, Ohio, her family and her Amish faith. She had hoped all the secrets of her rumschpringe years were buried safely in her past. Now Grace is preparing to marry Cleon Schrock, a wonderful man who makes her feel loved and secure. But when her old boyfriend, Gary Holmes, shows up, Grace is afraid her secrets will be revealed. Gary can’t be trusted, and as a freelance reporter and photographer, he seems to be willing to do almost anything to get a story.

Meanwhile, strange incidents are happening to Grace’s family. At first, the family writes them off as pranks pulled by a few young men with too much time on their hands. Then the incidents become more destructive and vindictive. Could someone have a grudge against the Hostettler family? A developer offered them a lot of money for their property so he can build condos and a golf course, but Grace’s father repeatedly turned him down. Could he be the one behind these attacks? Or could it be Gary, determined to make Grace pay for leaving him for another man?

Wanda Brunstetter is a master at taking her readers into the day-to-day lives of the Amish community. The ebb and flow of life in a close-knit, small community seems like a wonderfully simple way to live, especially to those of us who face the hustle and bustle of the high-paced “English” world. However, Wanda reveals that human sin and weakness is at work in all of us, regardless of our backgrounds or our lifestyles.

Forgiveness is a major theme in A Sisters Secret. Grace’s reluctance to reveal the truth to her parents when she first arrives back home is because she has witnessed her father’s unforgiveness toward his sister, who had left the faith and now lives in the English world. She didn’t want to risk having her family treat her the same way. However, when their home and property are vandalized, her father seems to have no problem forgiving those who caused the destruction. Isn’t that just like us? It can be easier to forgive strangers, who we may never see again, than it is to forgive family or those closest to us. Why? Because the closer someone is to us, the deeper the hurt is when they let us down. Forgiving those we love can be a continual process of laying down our pain at the feet of Jesus and letting him give us the grace we need to trust and love again.

Wanda ends this book with a satisfying conclusion, but leaves enough loose ends for the reader to realize there is more to be revealed in upcoming books. Once you step into the lives of the people of Holmes County, I think you will find, as I did, that you’ll look forward to catching up with them again soon.

Sheryl RootSheryl Root is Partner Database Manager at OneHope, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reach every child with God’s Word. She’s also a writer and a reader of everything she can get her hands on … books, blogs, magazines. In other words, she’s both a data geek and a book nerd. She loves to be able to support Christian authors and spread the word on great books and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, a wonderful community of published and yet to be published writers. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sheryl_Root.