Book Review: What the Bishop Saw, Book 1 of The Amish Bishop Mysteries by Vannetta Chapman

"Think before you speak, but don't speak all you think" (56)

Title:  What the Bishop Saw
Series: The Amish Bishop Mysteries, Book 1
Authors: Vannetta Chapman
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Release Date:  May 1, 2017 
Genre: Amish Mystery

Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?

What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God. 

What the Bishop Saw is the first of the Amish Bishop Mysteries series by Vannetta Chapman. If you've been following my blog, you know I love Vannetta's books. The subtle messages and profound wisdom in her books are so spot on, the story continues to leave a mark in your mind, even days after. What the Bishop Saw is that kind of book. 

What the Bishop Saw is different than majority of the books you read, I surmise. Most stories tend to feature main characters who are in their 20s-40s. In this book, our main characters are actually in their early 60s. That's what caught my attention at first. Surprisingly, I find it endearing. Possibly because these characters have a different mentality when dealing with situations, and with our main character being the bishop of a community, it's even more interesting to see how he leads. Throughout the book, you'll notice that being older doesn't mean you're perfect. In fact, far from it, but the experiences one gain in years hopefully will enlighten. Age shouldn't limit what we come to expect in novels, including a compelling arc, as well as a romance readers can relate to. The subtlety and idea of respect in romance gave this story another plus in my book. Isn't it how it should be? 

"In youth we learn, in age we understand." (204)

The many Amish proverbs throughout the book adds to its charm. What the Bishop Saw also reminds me why I enjoy reading Amish fiction and why I'm fascinated by the Amish culture.  The Amish community are "more than neighbors, but less than family. They were a group of believers bound by faith and history." (57) Indeed they are and that's why I enjoy reading about their community. Not to say they are without faults, but their faith binds them together. Aren't readers as such too? Aren't readers of Christian Fiction bound by their faith, as well as their love for reading? Humbling is what I can say about Amish fiction, as well as What the Bishop Saw in particular. It's about life, death, love and God's gifts to us. Though we may not see or understand, His gifts are blessings. 

"It's a gift . . . everything we're able to do is a gift from Gotte . . . our gifts are to be used to serve one another." (81)

With a murder mystery that threatens a community, What the Bishop Saw ties all the good things in books we love in a beautiful package, including a sweet beagle named Lexi. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.





Vannetta Chapman writes inspirational fiction full of grace, including romantic suspense and Amish romance novels. She is the author of seventeen novels, including the Pebble Creek Amish series, The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series and Anna’s Healing, a 2016 Christy Award finalist. Vannetta is a Carol award winner and also received more than two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups.  She was a teacher for 15 years and currently resides in the Texas hill country. 

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  1. Thank you for the review. I want to definitely read What the Bishop Saw and have it on my got to read list as soon as the move is over. How can you not love anything that Vannetta Chapman writes! :)


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