“The Newcomer” by Suzanne Woods Fisher

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“In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.

But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?

When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.

Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?”

This was a really difficult book for me, and honestly, I’m sorry to say so, because I have loved everything I’ve read by Suzanne Woods Fisher. Her normal genre is contemporary Amish fiction, and she is one of the better authors in this genre. In this book, she takes the setting back to the early days of settling America (think Benjamin Franklin and Poor Richards Almanac), and somehow it just didn’t work for me. To start with, it was a pretty slow book. There was nothing that really propelled it forward. It followed three different storylines, which wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but I really struggled with feeling invested in any of them. Even though I liked the characters of Anna and Bairn, I didn’t feel like they were fully developed. They seemed somewhat flat and two-dimensional. And I’m sorry, but Felix was just annoying. At first I kind of liked his precociousness, but then he just would never listen to anyone!

Honestly, the best part of this book was the last few chapters. I know that maybe kind of a ‘duh’ thing to say, but it seriously finally seemed to actually be moving forward. 

I’m sorry to write such a negative review, but it wasn’t just me either. My mom read it too and had the same thoughts.

Disclaimer: I received this from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.

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