The synopsis on the back of the book:
Anthony and Marty Hirschler are part of an Old Order Mennonite community in Pine Hill, Indiana. The couple has grown apart since a doctor confirmed they would never have children. Marty longs to escape the tight-knit area where large families are valued, and the opportunity to do so arises when her childhood friend, Brooke Spalding, resurfaces with the wild idea of rebuilding a ghost town into a resort community. Brooke hires Anthony to help with the construction, drawing the Hirschlers away from Indiana and into her plan, and then finds herself diagnosed with cancer. Moral complications with Brooke's vision for a casino as part of the resort and the discovery of a runaway teenager hiding on the property open up a world neither the Hirschlers nor Brooke had considered before. Will they be able to overcome their challenges and differences to help the ones among them hurting the most?
Genre: Christian Contemporary
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.61
Why I Chose This Book
Waterbrook publishing kindly sent me a copy of this book to review. I absolutely love Kim’s books so I was very excited that I received an advanced copy!
First Initial Thoughts
Anthony and Marty have been married for 16 years. The last two years they have been slowly drifting apart when they found out that Anthony is infertile after an infection with mumps many years ago. She also contracted mumps and lost their baby at that time. Marty is becoming bitter and angry - not only at herself and Anthony but also at God for not giving her a child.
We also get to see the perspective from Anthony’s end. I really liked getting multiple perspectives in this novel because with a topic like this, it’s needed. Anthony has also yearned for a child for many years. Owning a construction company is the only relief he gets from the constant melancholy he experiences at home.
The other character in the story is Brooke. She is the total opposite from Marty. She is not mennonite. She has been a CEO of a contracting company for many years and is ready to retire early. She is not married and has no children. I really liked that Brooke was totally opposite from Marty - as this played an important role later on. She recently purchased a old ghost town- hoping to restore it to a resort. But before she can get started she receives the devastating news that she has ovarian cancer - stage 2.
Kim has a unique talent in capturing emotion on paper. As I was reading I could definitely feel what the characters were feeling - the tension, sadness, and healing. I also learned a lot about the mennonites as I didn’t really know too much about them! It was interesting to learn more about their lifestyle and how they differed from the Amish and other denominations.
This book touches on a very private and sensitive subject. Many women are experiencing hardships in their marriage due to not being able to have children. Their desire to have children is so high that it creates a stress and divide in the marriage. Mennonites can divorce but it would be frowned upon by the community. Marty and Anthony prayers are answered when Brook hires Anthony as the contractor for her Ghost Town project. Marty and Anthony pack up everything and move to Kansas for the next 18 mos.
Brooke - I identified with her the most. She was living the good life - a nice car, a big home, a career to boast home about. But deep inside she was depressed and felt like her life was waisting away. When she got diagnosed with cancer - I think this is when she started to realize that life is precious. Materialistic possessions and a successful career is not what creates happiness - and it doesn’t define you.
Brooke brought Marty and Anthony to Kansas to heal, but I think it was her that helped Marty heal. Marty needed not only a friend during this difficult time but also a different perspective on life. Marty and Anthony needed a new start in their marriage and Brooke provided that. Now that is an amazing friend to have!
Also, not to mention the teenager they found hiding on the property. I won’t spoil too much - as this takes place later on in the novel. But this person played an important role in Brooke, Marty, and Anthony in healing.
But most of all this book reminds to trust in God. To trust in his plan. As a society today, we want things now! And when we don’t get those things we are disappointed. However, God has not forgotten you. He is there to take your worries away and provide for you. It’s easier said than done, as this novel emphasized that, but I think with prayer and good friends, you can get through anything!
Would I Recommend?
Yes, most definitely! However, if you are struggling with infertility I would suggest not reading this book at this time.
Q&A with Kim Vogel Sawyer,
Author of Ours for a Season
Tell us about your new novel, Ours for a Season.
Ours for a Season probably combines the most incompatible list of themes I’ve ever tried to meld into a single story: infertility, marital discord; questioning one’s faith; life-long friendship; homelessness; a serious health challenge; rebuilding a ghost town… But if I were to encapsulate it all into one thematic idea, I would say this is a story about starting anew. There’s a wonderful old hymn with the phrase, “Morning by morning new mercies I see…” That is what this story is about: God’s mercies blooming fresh in people’s lives.
The book captures Anthony and Marty Hirschler’s—an Old Order Mennonite couple—struggle with infertility and the effects it has on their marriage. How did their beliefs and community make this reality even harder for Marty to bear?
In the Old Order communities, children are the inheritance of the Lord. Psalm 127:5 says, “Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them [children].” Being a wife and mother is a woman’s highest calling; raising a large family to love and serve the Lord is a man’s highest calling. When the home remains absent of children, feelings of failure, bitterness, and jealousy are nearly impossible to avoid. Both Marty and Anthony dealt with these emotions but expelled them in different ways, which of course led to conflict between them. The situation was hardest on Marty who, as a homemaker, faced the reminder of her empty house every day.
What made you include infertility in the storyline, and how can readers find encouragement in Marty’s story?
I know a number of women who battle infertility. Some have found other means of motherhood: adoption, foster parenting, teaching (in school or church); others remain rooted in lonely bitterness. I’m a firm believer that God has a purpose in everything and that when we turn our hurts over to Him, He is able to lead us to our “silver lining.” I hope readers who are caught up in the storm cloud of infertility might be given a bit of hope for their silver lining.
The book also touches on human trafficking. How did you become interested in this topic?
I’ve always had a soft spot for people who suffer from abuse, especially sexual abuse. The subject of trafficking became personal to me when the young teen daughter of one my daughter’s neighbors was missing for several months and eventually rescued from the man who was pimping her out (such an ugly thought). If a child from small-town Kansas can get caught up in this net, it’s far too prevalent. The effects of being used in such a vile way by people who claim to care about you are deep and agonizing, and we all—every single person—need to take a stand and do what we can to put this soul-stealing industry out of business.
What can you tell us about what you’re working on next?
Next out of the chute is a historical story set at the Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1895. Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children and expected to stay home and “take care of Mama,” becomes a silkworm weaver at the exposition in hopes of snagging a beau wealthy enough to support both her and her mother so she can have her own home and family while still honoring her siblings’ expectations. Of course, what we want isn’t always what God deems best for us. The story is called A Silken Thread and will release in early April of next year.
Where can readers find more information about Ours for a Season?
Please visit the WaterBrook website (https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/books/549424/a-silken-thread-by-kim-vogel-sawyer/) or my website (www.KimVogelSawyer.com).
Must reside within the US.
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Giveaway runs from Sept. 17th to Sept. 24th 11:59 PM EST
I will contact the winner by email and the publisher will be mailing out a copy of the book if you should win. :)
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Note: I was provided an advanced copy to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own. The giveaway is not sponsored. The publisher is so kindly giving away a copy to one of my readers.