The Lesson by Suzanne Woods Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Paperback, 294 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Fleming H. Revell Company
ISBN 0800719891 (ISBN13: 9780800719890)
Series: Stoney Ridge Seasons #3
Mary Kate (M.K.) has been known as the one who always gets her nose in places it doesn't belong. Now that she is 19, her stepmother Fern decides it's time she finally grows up and settles down. When M.K. runs into, literally, the local Amish school teacher she finds herself having to fill in until she is well. Teaching a classroom of students in varying ages seems to be quite the challenge for M.K. Is it what she needs to finally grow up or will the challenge be too much and she leaves the country?
I have read the other two stories in this series, so I just had to know what was going to happen with M.K. As always, I loved the little nougats of inspiration throughout the story. "Every now and then, life throws you something you'd never have chosen in a million years." I just love how without being "preachy" the older generation in this book was able to seemingly say the exact right thing for the situation.
I think my favorite aspect of the story though was Chris and Jenny. A brother and sister who show up in Stoney Ridge and refuse to share any of their past with the local community. They remain to themselves and hardly speak to anyone. Until Chris begins to work for M.K.'s dad, Amos. Then Chris also realizes that Jenny's teacher is Amos's daughter. After hearing Jenny refer to M.K. as dumb as a box of rocks, Chris has to see who this teacher is. A few sparks fly, butterflies in the stomach, and unfamiliar feelings arise. However, because of his past, Chris tries to stay away and not let his feelings grow any stronger.
Sweet little Jenny, just broke my heart. I loved how Fern stepped in and showed her how to be a good homemaker by teaching her how to bake and be a listening ear for Jenny. Jenny worked very hard to try to save money for her mom and then secretly sent it to her without her brother's knowledge. I could see why she would want to do this, but my heart broke at her lack of understanding of how drugs can really change a person and make them say things they have no intention of seeing through. And her story just gets better, so you'll have to read it to find out for yourself.
As for M.K., I felt the beginning of the story was a little slow moving. Once she heard from a mentor how to correlate teaching with her favorite hobby of being a detective, she finally began to change things and the story took off from there. I don't want to give any more away, except to say that one of the questions at the back of the book asked which relationship had the most effect on helping her grow up and become an adult? Erma, Chris, Fern, or Eugene? And honestly, for me, I think it was all of them, plus one not listed...God. Without his skillful weaving of all these people in her life and their nougats of inspiration, she wouldn't have felt the need to grow up. You just have to read it for yourself to see M.K.'s life change. ☺
One final thought. Towards the end, Chris and Jenny are left trying to figure out what to do and how to move on. Their worlds have been turned upside down far too many times for their few short years on Earth. Many times, as I have found myself lately, we are left to try to figure out how to forgive someone for deeply hurting us but then wondering, do I let that person back in to hurt me again? Once again, Fern comes to the rescue with "Remember, though, that sometimes you can love and forgive somebody, but you might still want to keep your distance."
I can't get this thought out of my head either, so I'm going to share it. I so didn't see that one coming! Wow! I just couldn't stop reading at that point! Now you're intrigued, so go on and get your copy!
I was graciously provided a free digital copy of this book from Revell in partnership with NetGalley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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