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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

How The Light Gets In

Jolina Petersheim is a bestselling author whose unique Mennonite heritage originated in Lancaster County, PA.  She and her husband now live in the mountains of TN with their three young daughters.  

Follow Jolina's blog at

From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld's husband and father-in-law are killed in a bombing overseas, she travels to a Wisconsin Mennonite community with her daughters and mother-in-law to bury them, grieve, and piece together next steps.  They are welcomed by Elam Albrecht, her husband's cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest.

Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace and healing in the beauty of the also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she'd lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself.  On the precipice of a fresh start, Ruth must make an impossible decision:  which path to choose if her husband isn't dead after all.

My Thoughts:
Simply put, Jolina Petersheim is a genius! 
Not only has she written a book packed full of gospel-infused wisdom, but Petersheim has also shared with readers a heartfelt and genuine story of love, struggle, and sacrifice. Her characters are relatable and I love that we got the story from each character's perspective. Such depth here! I think I cried through the last 100 or so pages of the book. This story touched me in some of the deepest places of my heart.
With lines like, "In Elam, Ruth had found a refuge when she hadn't realized she was in need of shelter." and "Perhaps we mourn what we cannot have." and "For, yes, absence did make the heart grow fonder, but then, after a while, that shield of self-preservation grew thicker, and the heart forsook fondness for survival and all-consuming love for getting by.", Petersheim made me think and feel and offered me a clarion call to how I respond in my own relationships.
And the major twist...I didn't see that coming from any direction! This story of hurting and healing and how sometimes our hurts bring out greatest healing absolutely left me groaning and wanting better from myself. This book is going to be a game changer for so many.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher.  All opinions stated here are my own.