Still Life in Shadows
By Alice J. Wisler
Published by River North
Back Cover: It's been fifteen years since Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish community in Carlisle, Pennsylvania as a boy of fifteen. Gideon arrives in the Smoky Mountains town of Twin Branches and settles in at the local auto mechanic's garage. He meets a host of interesting characters -the most recent acquaintances are Kiki, an autistic teen, and her sister Mari. Known as the "Getaway Savior" he helps other Amish boys and girls relocate to life in modern America.
One day the phone rings. On the other end is his brother Moriah calling from Florida. Of course Gideon welcomes his brother to stay with him and offers him a job. But Moriah is caught in a web which ends in his death and forces Gideon to return to the town of his youth, with his brother's body in the back of a hearse and Mari and Kiki at his side. He must face not only the community he ran away from years ago but also his own web of bitterness. Will he be able to give his anger over to God and forgive his father?
Review: Readers will experience another side of this author’s writing talent as Alice pens a pretty sober look at an Amish run away, Gideon Miller, aka the Getaway Savior, in Twin Branches, N.C. Gideon is willing to help boys who desire to leave the Amish life style and enter the world of the English. Gideon helps them adjust to a new life, new rules and a modern society.
Alice’s character, Kiki, an austic teen, stole Gideon’s heart and mine as well. “Gideon wondered how in the world Kiki was always able to make him smile even at the most sentimental times. Sometimes people looked at her and muttered that she wasn’t right. But they were incorrect because most of the time, Kiki was the only one who was right. Her honesty, her openness, her ability to forgive, and her freedom to be Kiki and no one else was what she offered to all she met. And to Gideon, that seemed like the right way to live.”
Moriah, Gideon’s younger brother surprises him. Both boys are held hostage by their unforgiveness toward their father. The pain and memories are eating them alive. This author shows how both boys deal with their pain, from one extreme to the other.
Marie, Kiki’s sister has secrets of her own. She’s determined to make a good home for herself and Kiki. She struggles at paying the bills and getting her sister what she needs all the while dealing with the pain of unforgiveness herself.
Change will occur when the hurt in the heart is greater than the fear of change. Could Morriah, Gideon, Marie and Kiki trust God with their heart, pain and life?
I enjoyed how Alice dealt with real people, real issues and the cleansing power of forgiveness in a natural way. Everyone experiences pain in life. How we deal with the pain is the key to freedom in this life. Whether you’re Amish or English, each life style has hurts and hardship. Each person has the need to be loved, accepted, and yearns for a loving family.
Alice writes a believable story that naturally weaves in the healing power of forgiveness with characters I fell in love with. It was a refreshing read in Gideon’s pov. There’s so much to talk about. I highly recommend this novel for your next book club pick.
Nora St. Laurent
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