Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Still Life in Shadows by Alice J. Wisler

This is the story of Gideon Miller, a young man who left his Amish family when he was fifteen, found a new life and then helped other Amish start new lives. Ironically, except for an abusive father, Gideon wasn't unhappy with the Amish life.

When he left home, Gideon ended up in Twin Branches, North Carolina, where he had the good fortune to meet Ormand Russell, the owner of Russell Brothers Garage. Ormand gave him a job and a place to live. After a year, Ormand signed an apartment lease for the now sixteen year old.

When the story begins, Gideon is thirty and the co-owner of the garage. Ormand still manages the finances, but Gideon, a hard worker and good manager, does the rest. He helps others the way Ormand helped him. He gives former Amish young men jobs and a place to live and teaches them how to work on cars. Not all are successful, but the failures are not because of Gideon.

By all accounts, Gideon should be happy. But he's not. Part of the story is for him to find out why and make the needed changes. He gets help with this. Kiki, a thirteen-year-old autistic girl, becomes Gideon's catalyst for change. It didn't hurt that he is infatuated with Kiki's sister, Mari, the manager of the teashop where Gideon frequently ate. Kiki, somewhat unrestrained by what comes out of her mouth, had been to so much counseling over the years, she knows just what to say to Gideon in various situations.

The little catalyst and her sister push him in the right direction, but in the long run, Gideon has to help himself. He has to learn forgiveness and let God back into his life. He also has to open up and talk about the past.

I read all types of Christian fiction, but this was probably not one I would have selected based on the title and cover. But I'm sure glad I did. I loved the book and I'm telling all my friends to read it. I understand now why two of the author's books were nominated for Christy Awards.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.The book was then donated to my church library.

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