Reading Group Guide
1. This story begins like the child’s game of telephone --- Mary Kate tells exciting news about Sadie to her friend, who tells another friend, and another. Soon, the story spreads like wildfire. Have you ever been the victim of a hurtful rumor? Certainly, most of us have participated in them. What is the difference between sharing information and spreading gossip? This Amish proverb might help: “There is a vast difference between putting your nose in other people’s business and putting your heart in other people’s problems.”
2. Will Stoltz could charm even a crying baby with ease, yet he kept himself carefully hidden behind that casual, lighthearted facade. Have you ever met someone like Will --- easy to like but hard to know? How did your feelings about Will change after you learn more about his father? How did his autocratic father affect him?
3. Oddly enough, Sadie --- from an Amish community --- felt free to choose the life she wanted. Will --- from a wealthy, professional family --- felt no such freedom. What’s behind that irony? What does it say to you about choices?
4. As Sadie found her purpose as a healer, she started to bloom --- just as Fern had hoped she would. Have you ever found yourself blooming unexpectedly? In what way? Or maybe you have a dream that hasn’t yet been realized. Are there people in your life who could help you realize that dream? If not, pray that God will bring an encourager, like Fern, or a mentor, like Old Deborah Yoder, into your life.
5. How did Sadie’s friendship with Will help her to become a more confident person? Do you think Sadie’s newly acquired boldness might have backfired on Will as he attempted to romance her? In what way?
6. What a fluke! Will thinks. “To end up on a quiet Amish farm and find himself reenergized, renewed, inside out. But it didn’t feel like a fluke. It seemed that this place, Stoney Ridge and the people here, had been prepared for him, designed ahead of time as a nurturing nest, a soft place from which to grow new wings.” Have you had a similar experience of God’s provision in an unexpected way?
7. Free will is a theme in THE HAVEN --- for the falcons; for Will --- who is flirting with the wrong side of the law; for Annie --- a young mother who abandons her baby. Each has a choice to make and consequences to bear. In what way does that parallel God’s relationship to us?
8. Do you think Annie deserves a second chance? Discuss how you felt about the way the Lapps handled Annie’s return.
9. In order for Annie to succeed, the help of the Amish community will clearly be needed. How can strong communities --- churches or neighborhoods or circles of friendships --- help when a member struggles through difficult situations? When has your community helped you in a time of need?
10. Amos believes that trust is a fundamental part of the relationship between a falconer and his falcon. When the falconer releases the falcon, it has a choice to return. What message is he trying to get through to Will’s father? Is there someone in your life whom you have to “let go”? So much of the Christian life is about trusting God. How can you trust that, as you let go, you are really handing that individual into God’s care?
11. The story doesn’t end with the reader knowing, without any doubt, who Sadie will end up loving --- Gideon Smucker or Will Stoltz. How would you finish Sadie’s love story? Which young man do you think Sadie will ultimately choose, or which one should she?