This is a wonderful book of forgiveness and redemption; it is a captivating read with well-developed and diverse characters. I must say that Kiki is, hands down, my favorite. This well-written, intriguing story with unexpected twists keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. In my opinion, this is the author’s best book yet.
Meet the characters:
Gideon Miller, the story’s protagonist, is gripped by anger, hatred, and bitterness toward his father to whom he refers as “the Beast.” Still, he has a caring heart—especially toward those who had suffered as he did under a tyrannical father and strangulated by Old Order Amish beliefs and isolationism. Helping young people who have left the Amish community acclimate to modern life, he became known as the “Getaway Savior.” Can he find it in his heart to forgive his father?
Moriah Miller, Gideon’s youngest brother, had suffered through the same kinds of physical, mental and emotional abuse from their father. Although he was a kind, generous, and thoughtful person, he had difficulty handling his newfound freedom in the English world. He made choices that would cause untold agony for his family and friends.
Kiki Yanagi was always herself—totally honest and uncomplicated. She loved people and she yearned for them to love her, especially her classmate, Angie. She’d learned to endure thoughtless teasing from her peers, but she longed for Angie to be her friend. After her persistence lands her a job repairing bicycles at Russell Brothers Auto Repair where Gideon works, it isn’t long until she manages to steal the hearts of Ormond, the owner of the shop, and the other employees—even Gideon. Would Gideon ever have thought that a thirteen-year-old autistic girl would have such an impact on his life?
Mari Yanagi, Kiki’s older sister, runs Another Cup, the coffee shop/diner where Gideon eats lunch every day. Putting her own desires aside, she assumes responsibility of caring for her kid sister because of their mother’s mental illness. Gideon longed to know Mari better, but would she let him into her life?
Reginald Smithfield, son of a prominent resident, Luva Smithfield who “owned” Twin Branches, North Carolina, was an intolerant bigot who loathed anyone who was different, including blacks, American Indians, Jews, Asians, and Amish—anyone who wasn’t a white, mountain-born person.
Ormond, who owned Russell Brothers Auto Repair, was an easy-going, funny, wise and generous man of faith who would “give his right arm for his friends.”
Meet the Author:
Alice J. Wisler was born in Osaka, Japan to Presbyterian missionaries. She went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan. She majored in social work and has worked across the U.S. in that field. She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan and at a refugee camp in the Philippines. She also studied Spanish at a language institute in San Jose, Costa Rica.
She has four children–Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth. Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel’s House Publications in her son’s memory. This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle.
Still Life in Shadows is Alice Wisler’s fifth novel. Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation were all published by Bethany House.
Alice presents online writing courses–Writing the Heartache–and workshops across the country. She also has a line of remembrance cards. She is a contributing writer at Open to Hope and at the Raleigh Examiner where she writes on grief and loss. Her two blogs are Writing the Heartache and Alice’s Patchwork Quilt. I hope you’ll visit her there.