Enjoy this snippet from Suzanne Woods Fisher’s The Imposter, and enter below for your chance to win a copy!
Surprises come in two shapes—good and bad. This one, though, felt indeterminate.
David Stoltzfus awake in the middle of the night with a clear prompting in his heart: leave what was familiar and comfortable and go forth into the wilderness. He had developed a listening ear to God’s promptings over the years and knew not to ignore them. God who had spoken, David believed with his whole heart, still speaks.
But where was this wilderness?
A week passed. David searched Scripture, prayed, spoke to a few trusted friends, and still the prompting remained. Grew stronger. A month passed. David’s daily prayer was the same: Where is the wilderness, Lord? Where will you send me? Another month passed. Nothing.
And then David received a letter from a bishop—someone he had known over the years—in a little town in Lancaster Country, inviting him to come alongside to serve the church. Go, came the prompting, loud and clear.
So David packed up his home, sold his bulk store business, and moved his family to the wilderness, which, for him, meant Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania.
As the first few months passed, it seemed puzzling to David to think that God would consider Stoney Ridge as a wilderness, albeit metaphorically. The bishop, Elmo Bieler, had welcomed him in as an additional minister, had encouraged him to preach the word of God from his heart. It was charming town and he had been warmly embraced. A wilderness? Hardly that. More like the Garden of Eden. When he casually remarked as much to Elmo, the old bishop gave him an unreadable look. “There is no such thing, David.” Elmo didn’t expand on the thought, and David chalked it up to a warning of pride.
No place was perfect, he knew that, but the new life of the Stoltzfus family was taking shape. His children were starting to settle in. They were a family still adapting to the loss of Ann, David’s wife, but they weren’t stuck, not like they had been. It was a fresh start, and everything was going about as well as David could expect.
Then, during a church service, Elmo suffered a major heart attack. In a dramatic fashion for a man who was not at all dramatic, Elmo grabbed David’s shirt and whispered, “Beware, David. A snake is in the garden.”
Later that evening, Elmo passed away.
Two weeks later, Freeman Flick, the other minister who had served alongside David, drew the lot to become the new bishop, his brother Levi drew the lot to replace him as minister, and in the space of one month, the little Amish church of Stoney Ridge was an altogether different place.
Almost overnight, David sensed the wilderness had arrived.
More about The Imposter:
Katrina Stoltzfus thought she had life and love all figured out: she was going to marry John and live happily ever after. Those plans started to crumble when her father moved the family to Stoney Ridge, then completely collapsed when John decided to marry someone else. Katrina is devastated. How could she have felt so loved, yet been so deceived?
As she struggles to face a future without him, a widow asks for her help to start a new business and Katrina quickly agrees. She needs time to heal her broken heart, to untangle her messy life, to find a purpose. What she doesn’t need is attention from Andy Miller, a farm hand who arrives at the widow’s farm just when help is most needed–and who always seems to say the right thing, and be in the right place, at the right time. Is Andy for real, or too good to be true? Deceived once before, Katrina is determined to keep her feelings in check.
When a cascade of events is set in motion by some surprising information, the little Amish church is turned upside down. Soon, everyone has a stake in the outcome, and the community struggles to find the best response to an imposter in their midst. Can they forgive even the most deceitful deeds?
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California.