Reviewed by Vickie McDonough
Kim Vogel Sawyer
"Kim Vogel Sawyer does an excellent job bringing to life the Mennonite culture and showing both the positive and negative sides of their staunch beliefs."
When Marie Quinn left the small Mennonite town of Sommerfield, Kansas, where she was raised, she never planned to return. A young widow with a newborn, she’d asked for her parents’ help after her husband’s sudden death, but was turned away because she’d married a man not of the Mennonite beliefs.
Now, over twenty years later, Marie learns her aunt Lisbeth, the only relative who kept in contact with her, has died and left her house and café to Marie’s daughter, Beth. There’s a hitch, though. Beth must live in Sommerfield for three months before she gains title of the properties. Marie isn’t sure that she can return to Sommerfield, even for her daughter’s sake, but when Beth pleads, Marie reluctantly relents. The money from the sale of the properties will enable Beth to start the business she’s long dreamed of.
Henry Braun lost the love of his life when Marie left town with a trucker she’d just met. He never married, knowing she was the only woman he could ever love. He’s prayed with Lisbeth for Marie over the years but never thought he would ever see her again. But now she’s back, and the love he thought he’d buried long ago resurfaces. He must fight his feelings, knowing his battered heart can’t take another rejection.
Back in Sommerfield, Marie regrets that none of her large family visits her and Beth. They do the best they can to adapt to living without electricity and basic appliances they used to take for granted. Marie is surprised to learn Henry never married and again endures the pain of knowing how much she hurt the kind man who had wanted to marry her. She doesn’t want to be attracted to him. After all, she’s leaving in a few months. Can Marie accept Henry’s friendship without losing her heart? Will she be drawn back in to the Mennonite culture and faith of her childhood and reunite with her family and old friends, only to lose her daughter?
Bygones is the fascinating story of a woman who grows up a Mennonite, but falls in love and chooses a man over her family and heritage. It’s a contemporary story but has the feel of a historical in many ways because of the slower paced lifestyle and humble living conditions of the Mennonites. It’s the story of a man forever loyal to his first love. Henry is honorable and humble, and has a hard time expressing his feelings. Marie is a wounded soul, rejected by her family when she needs them the most, and because of that, she’s had to become tough to survive. Returning to Sommerfield exposes old wounds that she thought had healed, but for her daughter’s sake, she’ll face the rejection all over again.
Kim Vogel Sawyer does an excellent job bringing to life the Mennonite culture and showing both the positive and negative sides of their staunch beliefs. The storyline moves along at a good pace, with a mystery that surfaces toward the end that will keep you guessing. Bygones is a story of friendship that endures the ages, a love that stands the test of time, and renewed faith in God and people.
Vickie McDonough is an award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong novels and five novellas. Her stories have placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for nearly five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. Vickie loves hearing from her readers via e-mail.