Back to Jerusalem
by Jan Surasky
Sandalwood Press

"No matter where you wander, no matter for how long or how far away, home is forever embedded in your spirit, and in your soul."

The story opens in the 1970s in the town of Jerusalem that is a part of New York state. It is far removed from the skyscrapers of the big city. Farms are a common sight in this rural area, and everybody knows everybody else. Jenny Thompson is a senior in high school who wants to go to college to study art. Her father is a farmer, and her mother frequently talks about how she gave up society living to marry. Her mother doesn't want Jenny spending time with the family on the next farm because they are Mennonite, therefore, different. But, that family has a boy, Jake, who is Jenny's age. She can talk to him better than to her own family.

Jake's feelings for her change to more than just friendship. She ignores that and marries the most popular and richest boy in school. They have a son but, end up getting a divorce. She and her son move to New York where she pursues her art career. She meets a lot of men, but none of them compare to Jake. A turn of events ends up reconnecting Jenny with Jake. He is no longer the Mennonite boy in overalls but has become a successful New York lawyer. Both of them go back to Jerusalem to help a childhood friend and receive a second chance.

Ms. Surasky captures life on a farm and in a small town community. It is a sweeping, fast read and leaves readers completely unaware that it contains sixty-one chapters. It's easy to sense Jenny's anxiety when she wants something different out of life. The transition between the farm and New York City, then back to the farm, is like racing to the finish line. This book is not only about the boy and girl next door, but also the different customs of the Mennonite and "English" people who populate these pages. Surasky has crafted a beautiful story that is simple yet powerful; one that effortlessly flows from the smell of wild flowers to the heat of city apartments and back.

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