Hidden Mercies

Title:  Hidden Mercies
Author:  Serena B. Miller
Pages:  368
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Howard
                Every author has a chance to write a novel that incorporates both the past as well as the present.  In some tales, this brings forth a conflict that comes in all sorts and sizes.  Here, Serena B. Miller has integrated the Amish culture of the past with present times.  Never before becoming a reviewer have I learned so much about the Amish people.  America is a melting pot in more ways than just cultures from various countries; there exists cultures within cultures.  For instance, not all Amish have the same rules, regulations or lifestyles.  Some Protestants have differing practices than others, such as in dress or practice of the Lord’s Supper.  I think you get the idea, but if not, here is one more example:  When I met my husband, I lived in Chicago.  After marriage, we came to Indiana.  He was born and raised a Hoosier, but for me coming from Chicago it was culture shock!  I never regretted it.
                Claire is the midwife for her area, who mixes the old ways taught to her by her grandmother while integrating some newer medical knowledge.  Levi was her firstborn son though he never knew his father, who was killed before his birth.  Is there more to his story?  Shortly thereafter, his mother married and gave birth to his siblings.  While married, she wasn’t allowed to use her gift and knowledge to bring help to women in labor.  After her husband’s death, Claire was able to once again resume using her knowledge to help provide for her family as well as serve other families.
                Tobias ran away at 17 due to his guilt over a tragedy as well as his father’s unguarded words.  Now, many years later, a man named Tom has come to the Amish area to heal more from the wounds he received while in the Marines.  The story really begins to climax at this point and draws the reader into wondering how in the world the story would end.  Elements included in the tale are a handicapped child, a child who disappears during the night, plus Claire’s sister Rose having marital problems spurring Claire’s family to provide basic needs for her family too.  All this is just the tip of the iceberg!
                The author uses mystery, love, action, tragedy and more to weave a novel of epic enjoyment.   The more issues with pasts and present that arose, the quicker I wanted to read and see if and how the issues become resolved.  Included within the storyline is the reality of the difference a relationship with Jesus can make.  The characters are a mirror of what all of us deal with…the fight between our flesh and The Holy Spirit.  Another theme is the difference between the forgiveness Jesus offers and self-forgiveness.  I have heard many refer to forgiving themselves although the funny thing is that if we could do it ourselves; doesn’t that mean Jesus died for nothing?  We are utterly dependent for all things on Jesus for without Him I know I can do nothing.
                My rating is 5 stars.
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, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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