10 November 2011

Review of The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher



The Choice
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Revell (2010)
Five Stars *****


Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Both Amish, Carrie Weaver and Daniel Miller are much in love. A baseball player, Daniel, is about to go pro. When Carrie's life changes, so does her choice of future husband. And with a younger brother to care for who suffers from hemophilia, Carrie must choose for more than herself alone.


I listened to this on audio with a download from Audible.com. The narrator's voice seemed more suited to the female antagonist in the story than to the Amish characters, which was distracting. However, I always try to not hold that against the author when I am listening, as they have no control over this. Unless they are Liz Curtis Higgs who recently narrated her own audiobooks.

I would describe this as an almost “literary” Amish book with romantic elements. It was most unusual. If you are anticipating a formulaic Amish story – forget it!  Suzanne Woods Fisher had more twists and turns in her story than in Amish country near the Ohio River! 

SPOILER ALERT: I will warn the reader that there is an important death that almost stopped me from finishing listening to the rest of the book.  I was angry with Suzanne – yup, she had violated my expectations for a romance.  Guess what?!  This is not a romance.  It is an Amish fiction with romantic elements, some women’s fiction to it, suspense, and a literary twist.  So I had to get over my irritation as I do not like big surprises in my reading.  My friend and author, Dina Sleiman, who has an MFA degree would likely be jumping for joy at literary quality of this book.  I, on the other hand, like my reads or listens to be fairly straight forward with no killing off of someone I have begun to get attached to in the story. 

Back to the previous programming - That being said, the rest of the novel was very well done and Suzanne needed the plot element for her heroine’s emotional and spiritual arc.  There is an arsonist amongst the characters and she does a great job of obscuring just who that might be.

Forgiveness is a huge theme in this book and in many Amish books.  Carrie has made choices that she has to address.  Some of her decisions require forgiveness of herself.  One of the male protagonists makes a sacrificial choice that has ramifications that ripples throughout the family.  I found that fascinating how Suzanne spun that storyline across so many characters’ story arcs.


I really loved two secondary characters’s romance.  They were a really fun couple and I was glad the author put them together.  And the inclusion of a subplot about Carrie’s younger brother who has hemophilia was very gripping and just another example of the many layers of this story. 

Second spoiler alert: I was rewarded for my continued reading with a happy ending!  Gotta love a happy ending.
  
Bibliotherapy: Hemophilia, bereavement, forgiveness, and life’s transitions.
Disability Friendliness: Available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle or ebook, and audio versions as well as large print.


An ECPA, CBA and CBD Bestseller, Crossings' Main Selection, Doubleday, Literary Guild and BookSpan selection! (This information copied from Suzanne's website.)

Available for pre-order  


Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Lancaster County Christmas!  

15 comments:

  1. What an awesome review, Carrie! Since we are not supposed to covet I won't say, "Why can't I write 'em like that?" Oops, I think I just did!:) Seriously, though, The Choice reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker, and I have been a S.W. Fisher fan ever since. I like a book that is unpredictable, and although, I like just about every Amish book I have ever read, Suzanne's has that extra something. There are three or four Amish authors that are a little different than the "norm" ; more twists and turns, more realism, more substance, and Suzanne is definitely one of them! Since this is her week, I won't name the others.)

    Beautifully written review, Carrie, and I hope everyone will order this book if they haven't already read it. Once they do they will HAVE to read the whole series.

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  2. One of the reviewers commented on Suzanne as having a "fresh new voice" for Amish fiction and that is so true. I hate to say this but there are some books, like an audiobook from the library I am listening to, where the H/H are "too stupid to live" - not a very nice expression but these are characters NOT real people. Maybe it would be better to say "Too stupid to have been allowed to remain on the page!!!" You won't find that in Suzanne's books. Man, her subplots are amazing, too!

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  3. Carrie...I can't stop grinning over your review! Thank you for your thumbs up and for sharing your insights. Nothing means more to me than literary quality...writing well is so difficult! Really grateful you enjoyed the story...and persisted in reading, too! So here's something funny to share: a friend of mine read the part you described in your review. She texted me, "What?! So-and-so died?" I answered back that I felt sad, too. She texted again: "Stop acting like you're not in control of this!!!" She was so mad at me!

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  4. Suzanne, I just had to respond to your comment before I went to bed...that story was just too cute! A humorous ending to a very loooong day.:)

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  5. I love amish fiction, but I have not read any of this author's yet. Thanks for the giveaway.

    jen.whitney08@gmail.com

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  6. LOL, I love your friend's response!!! My DH, as I was listening to another Amish author's CD - this one from the library, said "You know they are not real people." I had made that comment about TSTL about this author's characters, almost all of them are that way - I mean WHAT was the editor thinking about letting her keep them on the page. Now in your case, I figured you were a literary writer immediately after that and I decided to set my prejudices aside and continue the listen. Whodathunkit - An Amish literary writer. So you squeezed a 5 out of me because the quality of the characterization, storyline, voice, and writing was excellent. You had taken me to a point with that character that I saw he could be redeemed and then, poof! Another literary writer in a different subgenre killed the guy off after he was the clearly identified hero and I tossed that book aside - she took his heroic characterization past the point of no return for the reader. Glad you got a kick out of my review!

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  7. Carrie thanks for the great review...I do love a book with lots of twists and turns. Nothing like a little suspense thrown in...but I'm with you on the unexpected "killing off" of a character, I'm sure I'll be talking back to the book...Oh dear did I just tell you I talk to inadament objects? Oops! LOL! tsmathews61@gmail.com

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  8. Another new author to me and I do enjoy Amish fiction. Would love to read this book. Please enter me!

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  9. Hi Teresa and Jo. She is getting a quick following I think because she is so different. Very refreshing voice and approach to Amish novel writing.

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  10. I love Amish books and new authors. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)Verizon.net

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  11. Hey, Hey Ladies...

    I talk to book characters all the time just like I talk to tv characters....does that me crazy?! Somebody commit me (but make sure I have plenty of books to read) ;)

    Carrie, After reading your review, I'm sure I would have been talking to these folks, too! Actually, I like books that engage me like that. Or ones that at least get a physical response out of me, like "gasping". One time, during an intense scene in Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig, my hand flew up to my throat and my eyes were bugging out. I must have made a gasping sound too because my husband woke up startled and said "What's wrong?!" I thought it was funny but he didn't think so at 1am.

    I haven't read any of Suzanne's books but I shall have to remedy that!

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  12. Anne (and Debbie) I had not read Suzanne's books either, as I "have" to read historical fiction to keep up since I write that. But when my agent, who represents Suzanne, kept raving about her, I thought, hmmm, I better read her work because Joyce does not usually get so enthusiastic, is a calm person. Then I met Suzanne, who is so sweet and humble and I actually had to double check her information because I was sure someone so non-divalike couldn't be a best selling author, but it was her!!!

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  13. I love romance, mystery and suspense so when all are included in one book, that's my kind of book. Can't wait to read.
    Thanks for the review and I love HEA also.

    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

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  14. Congrats to Ingrid for winning a copy of Suzanne's book A Lancaster County Christmas! Thanks to all who stopped by and helped make this such a wonderful week, and a special thanks to Suzanne Woods Fisher! May God richly bless you!

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  15. I'm just loving these comments! So funny and so kind! Thanks again for hosting me, Diana and Carrie. It was a pleasure to be here! Blessings on your week and on your readers' week. Warmly, Suzanne

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