As Mennonite sisters, Jeannie and Emma are close. Their families spend a great deal of time together. Jeannie’s daughter, Tessa, loves her outgoing cousins Matt and Sadie, and they frequently have sleepovers at each other’s houses.
On the first day of school, however, Sadie accidentally hits Tessa with a car and Tessa dies. From that moment on, everyone’s life changes. Matt is haunted by the loss of his cousin. And now his sister is charged with a crime and sent to a juvenile detention center. Jeannie and her husband, Geoff, drift apart because she follows the Mennonite way of forgiving, while he wants to blame anyone he can. Emma and her husband, Lars, are distraught over the whole accident and don’t know what to do to help Jeannie and Sadie at the same time. Everyone is in turmoil and nobody knows how to handle the situation.
Anna Schmidt gives each character a voice in A Sister’s Forgiveness in the form of chapters. It is only fitting that the first and last chapters belong to Tessa. Following the Mennonite spirit of forgiveness, each character deals with the tragic event and learns how to come to terms with the accident. Some turn introspective while others rely on the Mennonite community for help. Eventually, the family works toward healing.
This book is wonderful in showing that not everyone is punitive in the face of disaster and tragedy, but that everyone has human feelings that are affected by mistakes. Readers will enjoy the characters and storyline, but at first, the characters are hard to keep straight. There are so many thrown together at once that it takes a while to figure out who is part of what family. Those beginning the story may want to create a simple family tree to keep track of characters until they become clear.
Rated PG: There is no profanity to speak of, but the book describes the injuries of the young girl who is hit by a car.
Book provided by the publisher. Thank you!