“The Hope Jar” by Wanda Brunstetter

Wanda Brusnstetter has written scores of books and I have read quite a few.  “The Hope Jar” is one of her latest.  I found this book to be a study in compassion and renewal.  Michelle Taylor is mistaken for Sara Murray’s long-lost grandparents and taken to their home after meeting her at the bus station.  Michelle is homeless, trying to avoid an abusive boy-friend, and trying to find a place where she will be safe.  As the weeks go on, and she is treated as the loving grandparents’ granddaughter, she finds it hard to keep up the subterfuge.  She intercepts letters from the real granddaughter and responds to her as if she were the grandparents, asking her to put off visiting for a while.  Michelle finds herself being loved and loving her “new home”.

Eventually, the truth must come out and she leaves the Amish home along with a note and pilfered money.  During her stay with Willis and Mary Ruth Lapp, she has also taken notice of Ezekiel, an Amish man wavering between being baptized or becoming English.  The dynamics of this story were thought-provoking and kept me in the story.

There was one thing that dogged my all through my reading of the story. Why did Sara, the real granddaughter, stay away for so long?  Although the focus of the story was Michelle, I felt that including more of Sara’s feelings would have been more fitting.  This made me feel more inclined to wish that Michelle was the granddaughter and Sara and outsider.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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