Where the Heart Leads

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From the bestselling author of Waiting for Summer's Return

After his graduation from college, Thomas Ollenburger is filled with big dreams and even bigger questions. What will he do for a job? Should he marry? Where will he call home? Torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his love for the big city of Boston, as well as his affection for a girl from each location, Thomas doesn't know which path he is meant to take. He has always sought God's help with his decision-making, but now it seems Heaven is staying stubbornly silent. What will Thomas choose?

Will the desires of his heart lead him away from his Mennonite upbringing?

The Author

  1. Kim Vogel Sawyer

    Kim Vogel Sawyer

    Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of nineteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church,...

    Continue reading about Kim Vogel Sawyer


"In Where the Heart Leads, the lives of simple Kansas Mennonites and big city Bostonians are brought together due to a young man trying to find his place in the world. Thomas Ollenburger is a recent college graduate who returns to his home to figure out what to do with his life. He is unsure if he wants to stay and help out his family on the farm or go back to Boston and pursue the career he's always dreamed about. To make matters more complicated, both settings feature young women who are vying for a place in Thomas's heart.

"This book takes a subject not normally used in historical fiction. It is a unique and interesting read as it shows a different side of the Mennonites, who have often been portrayed as a modern version of the Amish. Here, the reader is taken back to the turn of the century and is shown how these people lived and survived in the Midwest. The characters in this novel are all very simple and down to earth. It is a rare occasion when the reader ends up feeling sympathy for both of the women who want Thomas to stay in their lives.

"Politics and other hot topic issues of the time period are brought to life as Thomas delves into the newspaper business. The historical tidbits sprinkled throughout bring the story to life. The reader can feel the excitement of the upcoming election as the young people in the book are anxious to have their feelings and thoughts heard.

"While this book is a sequel to Waiting for Summer's Return, I feel it can be read as a standalone novel. Enough information is given so that a new reader will not feel lost while reading. If however, you have read the previous novel, it is a treat to be reunited with the characters and see how everyone has fared in the past years."
--Deborah Khuanghlawn, Christian Library Journal, October-December 2009

"Thomas, a young Mennonite man from Kansas who has just completed college in Boston, has made friends with some prestigious people with backgrounds very different from his. His best friend's sister dotes on Thomas and makes it clear she would like to marry him. But Daphne is not a Christian, and Thomas has been warned about being unequally yoked. And he has a girl back in Kansas waiting for him. He is torn between remaining in Boston, where he has promised Harry and Daphne he would work for a presidential candidate, and returning to Kansas, where his family anxiously awaits his return. He goes to Kansas for a few weeks, much to the delight of his father, who plans for him to open a business there. He enjoys spending time with his parents and younger sisters, but eventually returns to Boston to keep his promise. Working for the election turns sour when he learns things about his candidate's background that conflict with everything Thomas has been taught. he turns to God for help in making these important, life-altering decisions, but God seems strangely silent. Should he follow the lead of his heart?"
--MW, Libraries Alive

"In Where the Heart Leads, sequel to Waiting for Summer's Return, Kansas farmer Thomas Ollenburger, of German Mennonite heritage, is graduating from college in Boston in 1904. The mother-in-law of Thomas' stepmother Summer--the main character of the first book--has taken him in for his schoolyears, and he commits himself to a presidential campaign and falls in love.

"As he goes home to Kansas, he struggles to find God's will--is he supposed to stay or go back to Boston? A love triangle of sorts forms when a friendship blossoms with neighbor Belinda. She helps him find the freedom to return to Boston, where he must face the truth about some issues he holds close to his heart.

"Where the Heart Leads offers a light read for historical fiction fans, and though the story takes an unexpected turn that may disappoint those familiar with the genre, Sawyer's characters do not fail to make the right choices in the end."
--Allison Hyer, Christian Retailing, September 22, 2008

"Sawyer's writing is so true to life that the reader will forget she is reading fiction. Characters are written with their heart on their sleeve, and they learn from their mistakes. Readers will be reunited with familiar characters from earlier books.

"SUMMARY: Thomas Ollenburger has his life before him in 1904. He has graduated from college and made a life for himself in Boston. But he feels an obligation to return to his Mennonite roots in Kansas and help out his family--which is complicated by his feelings for two women, one in Boston and one in Kansas. In the past, he has turned to God for help, but it sees God is silent this time. Thomas hopes his heart will not lead him astray with the wrong choice."
--Patsy Glans, Romantic Times Book Reviews, September, 2008