Widower Marie Koeppler and her grown daughter Beth reluctantly return to the Mennonite community Marie abandoned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommerfeld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence, or will she be forced to flee once more? Henry Braun thought he'd gotten his love for Marie out of his system, but soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When it's all said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?
Fans of Amish/Mennonite fiction will enjoy this gentle tale of a woman getting reacquainted with her faith, and a daughter learning about her Mennonite heritage for the first time.
Marie Quinn left her community some 20 years earlier to marry a man outside her faith. Her new husband is killed in an accident before their daughter Beth is born, but her father has shunned her, and Marie is forced to raise Beth on her own.
When her beloved Aunt Lisbeth dies, she leaves behind her house and her cafe to Beth. Beth sees this is an opportunity to make her dreams come true; she can sell the house, its contents, and the cafe, and open up her own decorator boutique. But there is a catch; she must live there for 3 months, in a house with no electricity, and a town so small that the streets are not even paved. Beth reluctantly agrees to the condition, but only if her mother will go with her.
Marie has her own reluctance about going back, wondering about her acceptance back into the community and her family, and especially Henry Braun, her first love that she left behind. In addition, a series of thefts strike the community, and being newcomers, Marie and her daughter are the prime suspects. Can Marie repair her fractured relationships with her family and Henry? Will they let bygones be bygones?
I really enjoyed this story. The story did not just focus on the relationship between Marie and Henry, but also her and her daughter, as they both struggle with fitting in; Marie with her old life, and Beth, meeting family members she never knew and trying to adjust to a different culture.The storyline about the thefts was well done also, and kept me guessing until almost the end about who was truly behind them. I have just started reading the 2nd book in the series, Beginnings, in which the focus of the story is on Beth.