Simple Deceit by Nancy Mehl ~ a Mennonite Community at War

Right off the bat, I became deeply involved with main character Grace Temple. She’s a modern woman, a freelance graphic designer who grew up in the fictitious Mennonite community of Harmony, Kansas. While not leaving her roots, she’s not Old Order, but attends a more modern church. When a baby is abandoned in the snow, rumors start that she’s the out of wedlock mother. Now, how is she supposed to explain this to Sam Goodrich, the farmer she loves?

Sam lives with his aunt Sweetie, a sharped tongued, opinionated woman, with a big heart who cooks up a storm. I felt as if I’d been drawn into a real Mennonite community, one I could believe might actually exist, warts and all. I loved the way every time there was a crisis, the characters gathered around a table to eat the most delectable fare. Being a foodie, it made me want to move out there just so I’d get invited to eat. I also enjoyed the little side story with Snickle the cat.

Speaking of warts and all, Sam’s attitude toward Grace takes an immediate down turn when she tells him about the baby rumors. Had me rooting for the slick city feller there for a minute, a land developer who intends to build a retirement community in Harmony and hires Grace as his freelance designer.

Grace feels the retirement community will breathe new life into Harmony where many business people struggle to make a living, but many in the Old Mennonite Order strongly disagree. Things start getting pretty dicey. One night Grace sees a shadowy figure lurking in her back yard. Then the man who was to sell his land to the developer winds up dead. Not to mention the city-slicker, land developer keeps popping up at Grace’s house at the oddest hours, making her relationship with Sam even more strained.

As if that were not enough, a young Mennonite girl’s life is endangered when she falls in love with an unbelieving man and her staunch Old Order father sees red driving her to extreme action. There was plenty of deceit, and some of it wasn’t so simple. But what captured my heart was the simple faith of the characters as they struggle with their principles, doubts, prejudices, and emotions.

Nancy Mehl, lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband Norman and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on two new series for Barbour Publishing.

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita.

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About NikeChillemi

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad, and her good guys smarter and better. She is the founder and chair of the Grace Awards, a member of ACFW. She has judged numerous literary awards including the Grace Awards, Carol Awards, Inspy Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Awards. View all posts by NikeChillemi

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