Book Review | The Search

Title: Search, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

About the Book:

Fifteen years ago, Lainey O’Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn’t have known that her choice would impact so many.

Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.

Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm–and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.

Lainey’s and Bess’s worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.

“Beautifully written, ‘The Search’ is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming–and surprising–tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past.”

My Review:

I had the pleasure of reading the first two book of the Lancaster County Secrets Collection, The Choice and The Waiting and I was greatly anticipating this next book. It did not disappoint. In fact, it was my favourite of the three I’ve read so far!

This story follows 15 year old, Bess, who is visiting her Mammi for the summer and Lainey, a 25 year old woman who is new in town and comes back to the area for a specific reason that is revealed a little ways into the book. I don’t want to give spoilers here, but let’s just say it is a BIG secret that affects many of the characters in the novel.

Bess was put to work right away on her Mammi’s rose farm and was working alongside an older boy, Billy, whom she has a huge crush on. At first he doesn’t notice her in that way, but as the book progresses, his feelings change. I enjoyed reading the parts when they were together and seeing  how Bess got so excited everytime he came around. Even though she’s Amish, she is still a regular teen girl who likes boys. I guess that doesn’t change whatever religion you are.

My favourite character was Mammi (Bertha Riehl) hands down. She comes across as an abrupt woman who says it like it is, but really she is an old softie with a big heart and lots of love to give. She cracked me up though with some of the stuff that comes out of her mouth and her antics. I especially liked the scenes where Bertha and Bess drove the Sheriff’s police car down the road and then Bertha dared the Sheriff to arrest an old lady!

Their was a lot of different storylines with the various characters in the book, but they all flowed well together. The love story between Jonah, Bess’s dad, and Lainey as well as Bertha’s brother, Simon, dying of cancer and needing a donor match in order to survive. I loved reading about the Amish way of life from their hardworking ways, feeling of community and how they lived (without electricity, cars and pretty much any modern conveniences).

This is a powerful story which left a lasting impression on me. It made me laugh in parts and I was actually crying in one scene of the book because it was just so sad. I know its a good novel when it evokes those kinds of real emotions from. This book can standalone so you can go ahead and read it even if you haven’t read any others in the series. I can’t wait for Suzanne Woods Fisher’s next book!

About the Author:

In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook…the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn’t even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. “That’s why there’s no food in this house!” said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted…Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple awards). With help from an agent, she now has numerous  books under contract with Revell. Also look for Suzanne’s Amish non-fiction, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, as well as Amish Proverbs, and coming in Spring of 2011, look for Amish Values for Your Family. The Choice and The Waiting are the previous books in the Lancaster County Secrets Collection.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at:

*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*


Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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