Mennonite

When Mercy Rains

From WaterBrook Press (October 2014)

She left, heavily weighted with secrets. But God reveals all things, in His timing. And He redeems them.

Suzanne Zimmerman was only seventeen and pregnant when her shamed mother quietly sent her away from their Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. With her old home, family, and first love firmly behind her, Suzanne moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and raised a daughter, Alexa, on her own.

Now, nearly twenty years later, an unexpected letter arrives from Kansas. Her brother asks her to bring her nursing abilities home and care for their ailing mother. His request requires that Suzanne face a family that may not have forgiven her and a strict faith community. It also means seeing Paul Aldrich, her first love.

Paul, widowed with an eight-year-old son, is relieved to see Suzanne again, giving him the chance to beg her forgiveness for his past indiscretion. But when he meets Alexa, his guilt flickers in the glare of Suzanne’s prolonged secret—one that changes everything.

Suzanne had let go of any expectation for forgiveness long ago. Does she dare hope in mercy–and how will her uncovered past affect the people she loves the most?

When Mercy Rains

When Hope Blossoms

From Bethany House Publishers (June 2012)

  • CBD Bestseller
  • 4.5 stars Romantic Times

Amy Knackstedt hopes a new start in Weaverly, Kansas, will help heal the pain of losing her husband and provide a better future for her three children. But her new neighbor, Tim Roper, is not pleased to have an Old Order Mennonite family living next to his apple orchard. Tim left the Mennonite faith years ago and doesn’t want any reminders of his former life.

Yet when circumstances throw Amy and Tim together, they form a friendship that surprises them both. Will past hurts always be a barrier between them, or will this tentative relationship blossom into something more?

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Reviews

It is very important to know where you belong. In this novel by Kim Vogel Sawyer, the reader meets Amy Knackstedt, devoted Mennonite, when she is showing their new home to her three children, Bekah (13), Parker (11) and Adrianna (5). Amy is a widow, and the desire to escape painful memories and speculations about her husband’s death is the main motive of her move from her birth city, Arborville, to another small Kansas city, Weaverly. Thirty-three years old, Amy hopes for a better future. She believes that here, with God’s providence, her wounds would be healed and Weaverly would become for her and her children a promised land. However, she is about to lose the house and her small quilt business if it isn’t proven that her husband’s death was not a suicide but an accident.

You need to read the entire book to find out if Amy’s hopes come true, how it happens, and what role in all this 37-year-old handsome Tim Roper (also a widower, a former Mennonite and Amy’s closest neighbor) plays.

Galina Roizman

Portland Book Reviews, August 2012

“Mennonite Amy Knackstedt tries to escape the gossip surrounding her husband’s death by moving her children to a small town in Kansas. Her new neighbor, former Mennonite Tim Roper, is not pleased, but he can’t avoid Amy’s children, who try their best to befriend him.”

Library Journal

“Kim Vogel Sawyer’s well-crafted novel is a touching story of emotional healing, restoration, romance, and new beginnings, creatively blended with life lessons learned on God’s good plan for us in hard situations and how He strengthens us to get up again when life knocks us down.”

Nancy Kanofani

CBA Retailers + Resources

When Hope Blossoms

Katy’s Decision (Book Four of the Katy Lambright Series)

From Zondervan Publishing (June 2011)

After This Summer, Katy’s Life May Change Forever

Katy is looking forward to the best summer ever. Her closest friend, Shelby, comes to stay with her when an accident forces her to miss her family’s mission trip. But when Katy’s aunt faces a serious illness and needs the girls to run the fabric store, Katy’s plans fall apart. Suddenly what should have been a summer of relaxation becomes filled with long hours at the shop.

But then a Mennonite boy visits her community for the summer. His presence complicates her life, as do her feelings for Bryce, her non-Mennonite crush. Katy has several decisions to make by the time August arrives, the largest being whether she will attend school in the fall and follow her dreams, or continue on in her Mennonite life to help her family. Katy struggles to choose between the two worlds she loves, but the final decision may be out of her hands.

Katy’s Decision (Book Four of the Katy Lambright Series)

Katy’s Homecoming (Book Three of the Katy Lambright Series)

From Zondervan Publishing (January 2011)

Just One Perfect Night

Katy gets the chance of a lifetime—she’s been elected to the homecoming court, and there are rumors her crush, Bryce, might ask her to go with him. What could be more perfect? For one unforgettable night she would be able to experience life as many other teenage girls do—a stunning gown, gorgeous hair, jewelry, and makeup. Except Katy’s Mennonite community prohibits dancing as well as fancy dresses and makeup, and her father would not approve. When an opportunity arises that could allow her to attend without her father knowing, Katy must decide: Will she hold tight to her convictions, or will she sacrifice her principles for one special night?

Katy’s Homecoming (Book Three of the Katy Lambright Series)

Katy’s Debate (Book Two of the Katy Lambright Series)

From Zondervan Publishing (June 2010)

New Club, New Crush … New Mom?

Just as Katy is feeling settled in her new school, everything falls apart at home. Her father, believing she needs a mother, starts courting a woman Katy refuses to accept. Tensions rise as Katy schemes to send the woman packing. Meanwhile, the pressure builds at school as Katy joins the debate team, encounters a teammate’s scorn, and faces her growing feelings for a boy her father will never accept. Can Katy prove she doesn’t need a mother’s guidance even as she discovers more of what the world offers?

Katy’s Debate (Book Two of the Katy Lambright Series)

Katy’s New World (Book One of the Katy Lambright Series)

From Zondervan Publishing (January 2010)

When Katy Lambright is given the opportunity to attend a secular high school outside her Mennonite community, she is ecstatic. But as Katy begins to adjust to life outside her community and begins to make decisions for herself, her relationships with her family and lifelong friends become strained. Can Katy balance her new world with the Old Order?

Katy’s New World (Book One of the Katy Lambright Series)

Fields of Grace

From Bethany House Publishers (August 2009)

CBD 2009 Bestseller; CBA Bestseller; Crossings Main Selection

Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?
With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt’s adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the ocean voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead–and he’s equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn’t expect is his growing affection for Lillian–and the deep desire to be part of a family.

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Reviews

Sawyer treats readers to love stories that speak to the heart. –Romantic Times

Kim Vogel Sawyer’s emotionally rich Fields of Grace begins with Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt preparing to travel to America. Lillian and her three sons are reluctant to leave, but Reinhardt is adamant that only America can offer them the freedom they no longer have in Russia. He fears for the future of his sons, especially Henrik who will be eighteen soon and subject to military conscription.

The Vogts are one of the first families to leave and Reinhardt has convinced his adopted brother Eli to accompany them. A prosperous farmer, Eli was orphaned as a child and still has no family of his own. A man of deep faith, he is hoping for a new future for himself as well. Henrik Vogt, angry at being forced to leave the young woman he loves, evolves to become the story’s critical character. When both her husband and one of her sons die before the ship docks in New York, Lillian’s hopeful optimism is shattered. Realizing she can not return to Russia, she reluctantly accepts Eli’s proposal of marriage.

While Eli and Lillian’s love and faith are at the heart of the story, the roles her sons play add a rich depth of emotion. The characters are warm, caring and likeable even at their worst. We admire Eli and his steadfast ways, daily demonstrating his love for his new family and retraining his faith in God. Although Lillian readily accepts the hardships of making a home on an unsettled prairie, she struggles with guilt and sorrow as she begins to love her new husband.

Ms. Sawyer’s novel was deftly enhanced by research and gives us a compelling picture of Mennonite family life in the 19th century prairie. The story is also meant to be inspirational, and at that it succeeds very well.
–Veronika Pelka, Historical Novels Review, Issue 51, February 2010

Saywer brings to her readers a moving tale in Fields of Grace, based on her own unique family heritage.

Opening in Russia in the latter half of the 19th century, members of a Mennonite family are faced with one of the greatest challenges of their lives. In an effort to save their eldest son from being forced into military service on this 18th birthday, Lillian and Reinhardt Vogt face the grim reality of uprooting their family and leaving behind their close knit community to find religious freedom in America. What they discover on their journey tests the very foundation of Lillian’s faith.

Fields of Grace is a heart-touching story about what it means to be a family. Finding hope, the Vogt family rekindles faith and makes a new life in what becomes for them a true promised land.
–Vickie B. Mathews, Christian Retailing, September 7 2009

Sawyer’s latest novel provides rich detail about establishing a farm in 1872. It takes the reader through every step, from building sod houses to planting the fields and harvesting them. The reader can feel the children’s joy and wonderment at each new discovery and Henrik’s torment at leaving his homeland. However, Lillian’s remembrances of life in Gnadenfeld and of Reinhardt slow the story down and make it seem longer than it is.

SUMMARY: Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to leave their home in Russia when their oldest son, Henrik, is nearing military draft age. They immigrate to Kansas with their three sons and Reinhardt’s brother, Eli. During the journey they experience tragedies that cause Lillian and Eli to make a decision that neither wants. Will they find the happiness that they long for?
3 stars
–Cheryl Hanson, Romantic Times Book Reviews, September 2009

Fields of Grace

The Sommerfeld Trilogy

From Barbour Publishing (September 2008)

CBD Bestseller

3-BOOK OMNIBUS including BYGONES, BEGINNINGS, and BLESSINGS.

Enjoy the Sommerfeld trilogy of three Mennonite romances by bestselling author Kim Vogel Sawyer all under one value-priced cover. Amidst a quiet Kansas Mennonite community three women seek a place to belong. Marie is returning to reunite with her family. Beth is seeking her place among new-found family. Trina is choosing between two cherished dreams. Will each woman find a home within community and a faith on which to depend?

The Sommerfeld Trilogy

Where the Heart Leads (Sequel to “Waiting for Summer’s Return”)

From Bethany House Publishers (September 2008)

CBD Bestseller; CBA Bestseller; ECPA Bestseller; Crossings Main Selection

Will the desires of his heart lead him away from his Mennonite upbringing?

After his graduation from college, Thomas Ollenburger is filled with big dreams and even bigger questions. What will he do for a job? Should he marry? Where will he call home? Torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his love for the big city of Boston, as well as his affection for a girl from each location, Thomas doesn’t know which path he is meant to take. He has always sought God’s help with his decision-making, but now it seems Heaven is staying stubbornly silent. What will Thomas choose?

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Reviews

In Where the Heart Leads, the lives of simple Kansas Mennonites and big city Bostonians are brought together due to a young man trying to find his place in the world. Thomas Ollenburger is a recent college graduate who returns to his home to figure out what to do with his life. He is unsure if he wants to stay and help out his family on the farm or go back to Boston and pursue the career he’s always dreamed about. To make matters more complicated, both settings feature young women who are vying for a place in Thomas’s heart.

This book takes a subject not normally used in historical fiction. It is a unique and interesting read as it shows a different side of the Mennonites, who have often been portrayed as a modern version of the Amish. Here, the reader is taken back to the turn of the century and is shown how these people lived and survived in the Midwest. The characters in this novel are all very simple and down to earth. It is a rare occasion when the reader ends up feeling sympathy for both of the women who want Thomas to stay in their lives.

Politics and other hot topic issues of the time period are brought to life as Thomas delves into the newspaper business. The historical tidbits sprinkled throughout bring the story to life. The reader can feel the excitement of the upcoming election as the young people in the book are anxious to have their feelings and thoughts heard.

While this book is a sequel to Waiting for Summer’s Return, I feel it can be read as a standalone novel. Enough information is given so that a new reader will not feel lost while reading. If however, you have read the previous novel, it is a treat to be reunited with the characters and see how everyone has fared in the past years.
–Deborah Khuanghlawn, Christian Library Journal, October-December 2009

Thomas, a young Mennonite man from Kansas who has just completed college in Boston, has made friends with some prestigious people with backgrounds very different from his. His best friend’s sister dotes on Thomas and makes it clear she would like to marry him. But Daphne is not a Christian, and Thomas has been warned about being unequally yoked. And he has a girl back in Kansas waiting for him. He is torn between remaining in Boston, where he has promised Harry and Daphne he would work for a presidential candidate, and returning to Kansas, where his family anxiously awaits his return. He goes to Kansas for a few weeks, much to the delight of his father, who plans for him to open a business there. He enjoys spending time with his parents and younger sisters, but eventually returns to Boston to keep his promise. Working for the election turns sour when he learns things about his candidate’s background that conflict with everything Thomas has been taught. he turns to God for help in making these important, life-altering decisions, but God seems strangely silent. Should he follow the lead of his heart?
–MW, Libraries Alive

In Where the Heart Leads, sequel to Waiting for Summer’s Return, Kansas farmer Thomas Ollenburger, of German Mennonite heritage, is graduating from college in Boston in 1904. The mother-in-law of Thomas’ stepmother Summer–the main character of the first book–has taken him in for his schoolyears, and he commits himself to a presidential campaign and falls in love.

As he goes home to Kansas, he struggles to find God’s will–is he supposed to stay or go back to Boston? A love triangle of sorts forms when a friendship blossoms with neighbor Belinda. She helps him find the freedom to return to Boston, where he must face the truth about some issues he holds close to his heart.

Where the Heart Leads offers a light read for historical fiction fans, and though the story takes an unexpected turn that may disappoint those familiar with the genre, Sawyer’s characters do not fail to make the right choices in the end.
–Allison Hyer, Christian Retailing, September 22, 2008

Sawyer’s writing is so true to life that the reader will forget she is reading fiction. Characters are written with their heart on their sleeve, and they learn from their mistakes. Readers will be reunited with familiar characters from earlier books.

SUMMARY: Thomas Ollenburger has his life before him in 1904. He has graduated from college and made a life for himself in Boston. But he feels an obligation to return to his Mennonite roots in Kansas and help out his family–which is complicated by his feelings for two women, one in Boston and one in Kansas. In the past, he has turned to God for help, but it sees God is silent this time. Thomas hopes his heart will not lead him astray with the wrong choice.
–Patsy Glans, Romantic Times Book Reviews, September, 2008

Where the Heart Leads (Sequel to “Waiting for Summer’s Return”)

Blessings (Book 3 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

From Barbour Publishing (February 2008)

OUT OF PRINT

  • CBA & CBD Bestseller; ECPA Bestseller; PW Bestseller of 2008

Trina Muller has been blessed with the gift of healing God’s creatures. Desiring to use that gift, she seeks the opportunity for education but is met with resistance from her family.

Graham Ortmann loves Trina, but he can’t understand her desire to be more than wife and mother. Will this Old Order Mennonite girl be able to spread the wings she believes God has designed for her?

Blessings (Book 3 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

Beginnings (Book 2 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

From Barbour Publishing (October 2007)

OUT OF PRINT

  • CBA & CBD Bestseller; Top 20 CBD Books 2007

Beth Quinn is starting over…in her place of residence, her occupation, and her relationships. Two men vie for her affection–Andrew Braun, a steadfast and helpful Old Order Mennonite who expects traditional roles between men and women; and Sean McCauley, a man with Christian convictions but who is seemingly more business-minded than people-minded.

In which world does Beth’s heart belong? With so many choices in front of her, how can she know what God has planned?

Beginnings (Book 2 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

Bygones (Book 1 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

From Barbour Publishing (April 2007)

OUT OF PRINT

CBA & CBD Bestseller; Finalist ACFW 2008 Book of the Year

Widower Marie Koeppler Quinn and her grown daughter Beth return to the Mennonite community Marie aban-doned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival, a series of mysterious thefts raises suspicions against the “outsiders.” Can Marie prove their innocence or will she be forced to flee once more?
 
Henry Braun soon begins to wonder if she’s stolen more than his heart. When all is said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?
Bygones (Book 1 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy)

Waiting for Summer’s Return

From Bethany House Publishers (June 2006)

  • CBA, ECPA, & CBD Bestseller; CBD Top-Twenty Fiction 2006
  • Crossings Book Club Main Selection; Crossings Top Ten Books of 2006
  • FInalist Reviewer’s International Organization Award of Excellence 2006
  • ACFW 2007 Historical Book of the Year

All alone on the Kansas prairie, Summer Steadman has few options. With her husband and children lost to illness, she has no desire to continue on farther west to where she and her husband planned to build their future. Instead, she seeks employment in a small Mennonite community in order to be near the graves of her family.

Widower Peter Ollenburger, the local gristmill owner, needs someone to teach his young son. When he hears of a “learned woman” in town, he believes she is the answer to his prayers. He soon discovers, however, that helping this outsider may have troublesome consequences.

There is little this father will not do for his son, but as the boy begins to look at Summer as more than a teacher, Peter must make a choice. Does he marry this woman to give his son a new mother, or does he marry only for love?

Will Summer’s broken heart ever be able to love again?

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Reviews

A tale of prairie life that will touch your heart and warm your soul.
– Janette Oke

Kim Vogel Sawyer is an exceptional storyteller who is sure to please fans of historical fiction. Her attention to detail and love of God shines through in each endeavor.
– Tracie Peterson, bestselling author of the HEIRS OF MONTANA series

Waiting for Summer’s Return is an excellent debut novel by a promising author. This tender love story with its historical detail is a page-turning delight.
– Carol Umberger

Kim Vogel Sawyer creates endearing character straight from the pages of history. Peter and Summer are the embodiment of the good-hearted, genuine people who settled the United States and made it into a great country. Selfless and generous, they tyr so hard to do the right thing that they almost miss the personal happiness God has planned for them. Once started, I couldn’t stop reading.
– Louise M. Gouge, author of Son of Perdition, Hannah Rose, and Ahab’s Bride

An endearing and gentle love story set on the Kansas prairie. You’ll be delighted as the residents of Gaeddert, Kansas, grow in their love, faith, and courage. A charming and satisfying read.
– Judith Miller, author of the FREEDOM’S PATH series

Waiting for Summer’s Return