FORBIDDEN TRUTH by Debra Torres
SERIES: Willow Brook: Secrets of the Pen #2
GENRE: Inspirational Amish Romance/Mystery
PUBLISHER: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.
RELEASE DATE: April 15, 2022
What happens when living the dream means losing yourself?
Johanna Yoder can breathe again. Willow Brook’s once tyrannical Bishop Zook has been replaced by Gott’s true elect, Gideon Hochstetler. And the new bishop can’t help but show some special leniency towards the aspiring Amish writer.
Working at the Mountain Laurel Star newspaper while remaining Amish is a dream come true for Johanna. And, as her love for the Englischer reporter, Judah Barton, steadily increases, so does a niggling suspicion that her former bishop rots in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Judah joins Johanna in her convictions, and together they seek to uncover the truth to what really happened that dark night over forty years ago when three men were killed.
But in the middle of searching for answers, Johanna finds herself struggling with a crushing crisis that comes from living a double life. Who is she, really? Does Johanna have it in her to embrace what she needs most as she desperately fights for justice for a man who once wished her dead?
Other Books In This Series
From the moment I began reading the first book, I knew this series was unique. Refreshingly so. It mixes an uncommonly-seen-together cast with a bit of mystery, a bit of light suspense, a bit of romance, an organic focus on the gospel, and a whole lot of heart. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre as it effortlessly blends several but I think I’ve finally settled on it being a traditional mystery with some nontraditional characters.
Like its predecessor, Forbidden Truth shifts between Johanna and Judah’s first person narratives as well as treating us to Kelly and Matthias’s third person perspectives to help bind the story together. And what a story it is! Picking up the loose threads remaining from Forbidden Gift, it immerses us not only in a mystery long unsolved but also in a community long burdened. A struggling newspaper that means so much to so many of our characters and could be the key to unlocking the truth where decades of lies have grown untamed – as long as someone else doesn’t beat them to it. An Amish district reeling from those lies and unsettled by change, unsure who should lead them into much-needed healing, or even what that healing would look like. And in between stands a young Amish woman with a gift for writing and a growing need to figure out to which side of the fence she belongs.
Once again Torres has given us characters we can relate to, helping us see the core things they have in common with each other -and with us, too. A need to belong. A need to identify who we are and Who we believe about ourselves. A need to use our God-given gifts and passions to serve Him. A need to know the truth and let it set us free. Each of the four main characters in this book – Johanna (a young Amish woman who writes for the local newspaper), Judah (a young, non-Amish newspaper reporter), Kelly (Judah’s mom and the owner of said newspaper), and Matthias (an escaped-convict-turned-disgraced-former-Amish-bishop on the run again) – are on their own journeys to grab hold of these core traits even as their paths intersect in life-changing ways. Through it all, the author weaves unforgettable supporting characters who tug on your heart just as much as the main cast. (Gideon ♥)
Bottom Line: Forbidden Truth takes us from where Forbidden Gift left off and gently leads us to the doorstep of book three with a scene that will have you simultaneously satisfied with the ending and impatiently waiting for the next one. (I highly recommend that you read book one before jumping in to book two, only so that you can adequately appreciate the weight of certain plot turns.) There were moments in this book that I wiped away tears because someone’s journey to grace was so tender or because the stirrings of restoration hummed in the background – told in a way that only an author sensitive to God’s heart could write. I’m so intrigued to see where she will take these characters – and us readers – in the third installment. Forbidden Truth is an engaging story from beginning to end, with a little something for every reader!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
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Debra Torres is an author of inspirational Amish fiction. She writes romantic suspense for readers who are looking for relatable characters dealing with raw and real-life issues. For eleven years, Debra and her family lived in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania where she was able to observe the Amish in grocery stores-and in the buggy lanes. Debra and her writer husband, Michael, live in Virginia, and have five wonderfully gifted children.
What about you? What makes you want to read Forbidden Truth by Debra Torres?