My Sister’s Wish
Closely-knit families do not always agree on everything and sometimes their viewpoints or point of views can get in the way of what is really important or matters. Within the Amish community there are rules that are expected to be followed by the members of each family and when you do not conform or things seem wrong you might be ostracized, ridiculed or forced to choose whether you want to remain or not. Within this story there are many major issues that the author has woven together. Disagreements, prejudging, forgiveness, second chances and putting your past behind you are just some of the issues that many of the characters will deal with in this complex novel.
Simon Hochsteler has been in prison and his past is quite checkered. But the story opens with a different Simon one who is about to run away from his abusive parents, one who is lonely and feels deserted by his brother and sister and one who now has to find his own way in life. Decisions and choices he made led him to become part of a group that was unsavory and winding up in prison was a wake up call that changed him. Finding his way back to Charm was a blessing and working as manager for Kinsinger Lumber and had special feelings for Amelia the sister of the owners. Making his intentions known did not endear him with Lukas Kinsinger nor did it make him feel welcome as a suitor for Amelia. Amelia and Simon seemed suited for each other and when voicing her opinion and telling her family she was going to allow him to court her they shut it down. Rebecca, Lukas, Darla all agreed that this would be wrong and they did not hesitate to voice their opinions quite sharply. But, Amelia although she respected them and had lost her parents not long ago, she felt that she was entitled to make her own decisions and choices. The scenes get hot filled with arguments, accusations and anger. The more her family disagreed with her the more adamant she became and the less focused when tending to her goat Princess. Princess is a difficult goat who has a mind of her own and when Amelia came to tend to her in the barn she was agitated, difficult and kicked her in the shin causing her great pain. Little did she know that there was a snake there that bit her and caused her arm to break when she fell down. No one came to her rescue until Simon happened along and found her taking her to the hospital to be tended to and would not leave her side. When her family arrived things got tense and the tension between everyone became taut. Then Simon’s sister Tess shows up and things are either going to become estranged even more or will they finally connect and hope to become a family again. Truths come out and hard feelings are shattered and finally there seems to be some sunlight after the darkness.
Author Shelley Shephard Gray takes us inside the Kinsinger family to understand their dynamics, their differences and their different ways. As Simon and Tess connect, Amelia has to deal with her injuries, her anger towards her sisters and brothers and the frustration she feels not being treated as an adult having them make decisions for her and run her life. Not being able to cook, clean and bake takes a strain off of her yet she wants her independence. When Simon and Lukas finally come to terms with each other will they realize after having her courted by two over zealous suitors and one who was excited that she had a goat and wanted them to have a goat family together, will they realize that Simon is the right one for her?
Tess and Simon talk about his past and the fact that he has many tattoos and some bands that he got in prison. Amelia demands to see them and wants to understand his past and won’t let up until she gets what she wants. Not allowing him to see her and seeing these other two men allowed her family to realize that they prejudged Simon, trusted him as a manager but not as a suitor and maybe they were wrong.
As things seemed bleak a young boy comes face to face with Simon and he reminds him of himself all battered and bruised. Hoping that he can help him and other kinner who are troubled and are in need of help he and Tess come up with an idea that will help not only troubled teens but adults too.
Things get interesting when Amelia demands that Lukas find a way to get Levi home to make her feel whole and to have him back in the family. But, Levi is still dealing with his own demons and only Lukas knows where he has been all this time and why.
A story of hope, redemption, second chances, love, friendship and most of all family loyalties as the Kinsinger family has to decide whether they can abide by Amelia or a Sister’s Wish.
The insight into the Amish ways and the research is extensive and the fact that they use some modern conveniences makes the story come alive and allows readers to understand their ways and how they have changed in the present in some Amish families. A family torn apart when their parents died and a young man trying to find a place in this world after being beaten down. Can Simon and Amelia mend their differences and become one? Will Levi remain in Charm or will he leave when Amelia gets well and strong? Will the family ever realize and ask Simon for forgiveness? The answers will come when you read this outstanding five star novel and join them for their dinners, family outings, arguments, fights, and family fun when you read My Sister’s Wish but will it be granted? Read the biography of the author and for those in discussion groups there are questions and talking points. Stay tune for the final book in the series titled: An Amish Family Christmas and find out what Levi decides to do. Once again the author has given us a story that will make you smile, bring tears of sorrow and joy to your eyes and make you wish the story would never end.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews: MJ magazine