Author: Nancy Mehl
Publisher: Bethany House
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988
Lizzie Engel is being watched. Who is the man with the red hat? Why is he watching her? Who sent him? What does he want with her? Lizzie has begun to receive threatening notes and is very fearful for herself as well as her 6-year-old daughter, Charity. Lizzie then learns she has been accused of stealing money from her employer. She is innocent, but has no proof. Someone has set her up to look guilty. She fears the authorities will take away her daughter. She has little money and only one friend. Where can she go to find safety? Her only choice is to return home to Kingdom, Kansas.
Lizzie grew up in a remote, strict, Mennonite town. Her father was a very harsh disciplinarian and showed her no love. Her best friend, Noah, vowed to protect her always when they were kids. Her mother believed in being obedient to her husband and never stood up for herself or her daughter. Lizzie searched for love as a teenager with her boyfriend, Clay. She was pressured to show her “love” and got pregnant the first time. Clay’s parents offered money to pay for an abortion, but Lizzie refused. Clay and his family left the community, and Lizzie never heard from Clay again. Lizzie had the baby, but was made to feel so outcast, especially by her own father, that she left the community and God behind.
Lizzie returns to Kingdom, but her father refuses to let her or her daughter stay at the house. Her mother is very glad they have come home, but won’t go against her husband’s wishes yet. Lizzie finds a place to live and a job with the café owner, who is nothing but kind, generous, and loving to her and Charity. Lizzie begins to see other people from her past and begins to remember that not everything or everyone was bad when she was growing up. She remembers friends from the past and is reunited with some of them. She sees Noah for the first time in five years and realizes after they talk that her feelings for him run deeper than friendship. Does he feel the same? Would he consider marrying “damaged goods” as Lizzie calls herself? As she reconnects with the community, she rediscovers God, trusting in Him to lead.
While in Kingdom, the man with the red hat is spotted. How could he have found her? Kingdom isn’t on a map and very few people know how to get there. She also begins receiving the notes again. Now, what should she do? Should she run again? Where else can she go?
The themes of forgiveness, mercy, and love run throughout the story via the relationships of the main character with her mother, her best friend, some of her old friends, and her father. The book has interesting details of how Mennonites live their daily lives. You’ll have to get a copy to see how everything works out!
My rating is 3 stars.