Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Review of Waiting For Summer's Return

Summer Steadman faces one of life’s most difficult challenges when her husband and 4 children succumb to the deadly typhoid fever while traveling to Oklahoma. Stranded in a Mennonite Community in Kansas where her family is buried, she feels cold and empty, believing that God has deserted her. Grieving, Summer has little desire for existence or hope for the future. She decides to stay in Gaeddert, KS to be near the graves of her four children and secures a job for widower Peter Ollenberger as a tutor for his little boy. Peter is a gentle giant of a man and, having experienced grief first hand, is patient and tender with Summer. She quickly becomes attached to his son, Thomas, who returns the sentiment, hoping she will become his father’s wife. The Mennonites are a tight community and do not receive Summer favorably because she is living under the same roof of her employer. Throughout the fall and winter, she learns the Mennonite customs and traditions which Kim Sawyer portrays in a vivid but believable way through her writing. Summer and Peter mutually respect each other, and they grow very close while shielding their own grieving hearts. Peter, patient and sensitive in his own quiet way, points out the many ways God helped him recover from his own loss. Hope blossoms in Summer’s heart, and she slowly begins to live again. Sawyer tenderly describes Summer’s visit to her family’s grave with such intensity that I felt Summer’s grief, and I cried. Excellent writing can bring out real emotions and Sawyer has done that in her debut novel. Without being preachy, she has shown us how God can sift us and refine us as silver, and restore us amidst life’s tragic circumstances. I can hardly wait for the second book in this series. Way to go Kim!

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