This homespun tale centers around the Lapp clan. With their mother already deceased, the children now face the possibility of losing their father if he does not receive a much-needed heart transplant. The eldest, Julia, is also suffering through additional heartache when her fiancee, Paul, calls off their engagement. Julia believes the culprit behind his change of heart is Roman, also known as the Bee Man. A loner who ventures into town once a year to pollinate the orchards of the surrounding farms, Julia feels his outspoken praise of the freedom of bachelorhood helps to derail her marriage plans. When Roman offers to stay with the Lapps for the entire summer in order to help get the farm back on track, Julia is fit to be tied.
The push and pull of the developing love story between Roman and Julia is a classic case of opposites attract. Julia begins to see the shortcomings in former fiancee's character. While Roman starts to realize that his flirtatious nature might draw women to his side, but why does he do everything in his power to keep them at arm's length? Secrets from his troubled past emerge when the reason behind his enforced isolation lies in a tragic family accident.
While the romance takes top billing, it is the characters that bring the story to life. Sadie, the middle sister, is pleasant and plump. Obsessed with her weight, she just can't resist helping herself to an extra sweet here and there. Meek and timid, she is infatuated with Roman, but always seems to make a fool out of herself in his presence. Menno is the boy in the family. Although simple minded, his sweet persona is beloved by people and animals alike. His faith in God is beautiful to behold and his unblemished outlook inspires all who come in contact with him. M.K., the baby sister, is a mischievous tomboy who gets into her fair share of scrapes. Although her heart is usually in the right place, her actions usually land her in a heap of trouble.
The newcomer to the family is Fern. Hired by their eccentric Uncle Hank, she moves into their home setting up command like a drill sergeant. She allows no one to meddle in her kitchen and sets the children to work on a multitude of chores. Although she displays a tough shell, she genuinely cares about the Lapps and gets everything running in tip top shape. Her own misfortune is in some way tied to Roman's, and their connection to a shared sense of pain helps them both to heal.
The lush descriptions of summer on the farm create a vivid, welcoming atmosphere throughout the book. Buggy rides are interspersed with quilting and gardening, immersing the narrative in the Amish culture. However, the plot lines are universal and the interior motivations are relatable regardless if the character is wearing a prayer cap or not. What cements the story in the reader's mind is the strong feeling of family that permeates throughout.
There is only one slight off-note near the conclusion. When a dire circumstance turns into a mixed blessing, it is heralded only as a triumph. This sudden turn-of-events seemed to gloss over a terrible occurrence in order to focus on the positive aspect. This disconnect was a bit jarring. Focusing on the good news is always a priority, but not at the expense of what the subsequent misfortune truly means to the characters in the story.
On the whole, The Keeper delivers in terms of quality read that is grounded in God and devoid of foul language and explicit scenes. For its intended audience, it is a delightful story that is uplifting and full of spirit. With sequels on the way, the goings-on of the Lapp family will certainly leave readers clamoring for more.
Overall, nothing proclaims love like a beating heart.
The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher is available for $14.99 at Amazon.com and at SuzanneWoodsFisher.com.
Review copy provided by Lit Fuse Blog Tours.
It’s a “Honey of a Giveaway” from Suzanne Woods Fisher!
Suzanne is hosting a "honey of a giveaway"during the blog tour for The Keeper! During 1/3-1/17 you can enter to win an iPad2 from Suzanne and connect with her on January 17th at The Keeper Facebook Party!
During the giveaway one Grand Prize winner will receive a Prize Pack valued at $600:
- A brand new 16 KB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi
- A $25 gift certificate to iTunes
- A copy of The Keeper
RSVP early and tell your friends!