Sunday, September 29, 2019

HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN by Jolina Petersheim, #INTERVIEW and Review by Nicole Cook

Author Jolina Petersheim

Nicole Cook
Nicole: I am thrilled to have author Jolina Petersheim join us today at Inkwell Inspirations to discuss her latest contemporary novel, How the Light Gets In, which was chosen as the September book club selection for the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group. Jolina Petersheim recently led a live Facebook chat in the Avid Readers Group to discuss her book with the members of the group. Jolina, thank you so much for joining us today!

Jolina: Thank you for having me here, Nicole! I so love getting to connect with you and your readers!

Nicole: How the Light Gets In is the first book of yours that I have read, and it won’t be the last! This book is not the typical Amish or Mennonite novel that most readers are accustomed to find in this genre. Has your unique Amish and Mennonite heritage played a role in the storylines of this book and/or any of your other books?

Jolina: I spent my formative years (six years old to fourteen) living on a Christian camp. I saw firsthand the intricacies and complications of community, and I realize now that our desire for community juxtaposed by our need for independence is what I love to explore. Of course, my Mennonite heritage has greatly influenced my writing, but I like to think that it serves as the framework for the story rather than being the story itself.
Nicole: How the Light Gets In, is a fascinating story of loss, marital discord, redemption, and finding love. What message or inspiration do you hope that people will get from reading it?

CC BY 2.0 Shannon Kringen

Jolina: I hope How the Light Gets In allows readers to look closer at their dearest relationships and learn, through Ruth’s journey, how to focus on finding healing so those relationships can flourish from a place of growth rather than being squelched from a place of need.

Nicole: I truly enjoyed reading How the Light Gets In. Your incredible writing style and the twists and turns toward the end certainly made this book an extremely compelling and emotional read. I was even in tears several times throughout the book! Elam was my favorite character in the book…and I was completely shocked at the turn of events during the last few chapters of part 2 and part 3! I kept thinking to myself, “No, this can’t be happening!!” Without giving away any spoilers, how did you decide to write such a unique and shocking conclusion to How the Light Gets In, and how have your readers in general felt about the conclusion to the book?

CC BY-SA 2.0  B.D.s World

Jolina: Well, I didn’t know the twist inside of the twist until one afternoon when I was steam-mopping the floor (I get very inspired while cleaning because my mind wanders!). The ending struck me like a lightning bolt. Steam rose as the hair stood up on my arms. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull it off, and it did take a ten-page outline to rework some scenes, but the extra work was worth it. Most readers have loved that twist! And I am always up for evoking enough emotion to cause some reader to want to throw a book across the room, ha!

Nicole: I love being a member of the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook group and participating in so many wonderful discussions within the group. As a reader, I get to share my love of Christian fiction with the other members in the group, and I have discovered so many new-to-me authors who have become must-read authors. From an author’s perspective, what do you like best about participating in the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group, and what has been your favorite part of having How the Light Gets In as the book club selection this month?

Jolina: I have cherished the openness and vulnerability of this group! I believe that vulnerability builds community because it draws us closer when we realize we’re not alone. Getting to propose questions to evoke that vulnerability/closeness has been my favorite part of How the Light Gets In being selected for September. Thank you for having me!

Nicole: Can you share any information about any upcoming releases and/or what you are currently writing?

Jolina: I am currently hard at work on the second draft of my sixth novel, which has required more research and planning than my previous ones. However, I have absolutely adored this process, and each morning I awake at five with excitement pouring through my veins. I am passionate about this subject matter, and I am looking forward to the day when I can share more!

Nicole: Jolina, thank you again for joining us today! This has been a pleasure to chat with you!

Jolina: And a pleasure to chat with you!

Author Bio:
Jolina Petersheim is the bestselling author of How the Light Gets In, The Alliance series, The Midwife, and The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. That book also became an ECPA, CBA, and Amazon bestseller and was featured in Huffington Post's Fall Picks, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Tennessean. CBA Retailers + Resources called her second book, The Midwife, "an excellent read [that] will be hard to put down," and Romantic Times declared, "Petersheim is an amazing new author." Her third book, The Alliance, was selected as one of Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction titles of 2016. Jolina's nonfiction writing has been featured in Reader's Digest, Writer's Digest, and Today's Christian Woman. She and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but they now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their two young daughters. Visit Jolina at

More Author links:
Jolina's Facebook page


With compelling realism and heart-wrenching emotional twists, Jolina Petersheim pens a unique present-day retelling of the Biblical story of Ruth. How the Light Gets In is not the typical Amish or Mennonite novel that readers are accustomed to find in this genre. How the Light Gets In is a fascinating story of loss, marital discord, redemption, and finding love, with a shocking conclusion that will generate thought-provoking discussions long after the final page. Readers will have varying thoughts on the twists and turns leading up to the conclusion of the story, but that is a true testament to the incredible writing style of Jolina Petersheim that she can evoke such strong emotional responses from the readers. Jolina Petersheim brought me to tears several times throughout the novel, and my heart broke for these characters during the painful situations they encountered, especially for Elam, who easily became a favorite character of mine. How the Light Gets In is recommended for readers of contemporary fiction who enjoy novels filled with powerful raw emotion and authenticity.
*I read a copy of this book from the library and was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Back Cover Blurb:
From the highly acclaimed author of The Outcast and The Alliance comes an engrossing novel about marriage and motherhood, loss and moving on.

When Ruth Neufeld’s husband and father-in-law are killed working for a relief organization overseas, she travels to Wisconsin with her young daughters and mother-in-law Mabel to bury her husband. She hopes the Mennonite community will be a quiet place to grieve and piece together next steps.

Ruth and her family are welcomed by Elam, her husband’s cousin, who invites them to stay at his cranberry farm through the harvest. Sifting through fields of berries and memories of a marriage that was broken long before her husband died, Ruth finds solace in the beauty of the land and healing through hard work and budding friendship. She also encounters the possibility of new love with Elam, whose gentle encouragement awakens hopes and dreams she thought she’d lost forever.

But an unexpected twist threatens to unseat the happy ending Ruth is about to write for herself. On the precipice of a fresh start and a new marriage, Ruth must make an impossible decision: which path to choose if her husband isn’t dead after all.

Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook:
Buy How the Light Gets In at Amazon
Buy How the Light Gets In at

The Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group is a wonderful discussion group for book enthusiasts to talk about what Christian fiction books they are reading. Participation in the group is the perfect way to discover many new Christian fiction authors and books. Members can also choose to participate in the book club within the group. The group is comprised of numerous Christian fiction authors and readers and is very well moderated. Any readers or authors interested in joining the group can click on the following link and answer a few questions to be added. The questions are easy and are meant to keep out spammers.

The October book club selection for the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group is Yours Truly, Thomas by Rachel Fordham.


  1. I enjoyed reading this author interview , and the book sounds like a very good page turner, and I love the cover , it is Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this author interview. Have a Great week. God Bless you.

  2. Lovely interview and review, Nicole! I've heard so many great things about this book and hope to read it soon!


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