Thomas Nelson (May 31, 2011)
Though I’m still about 80 pages from the end, I often write reviews from the first two-thirds or so of a book which makes it easier to avoid giving away important pieces of the story like twists near the end that affect the conclusion and of course the ending itself. I’ve enjoyed Amish Fiction for several decades and in the years since I started reviewing, many of the major publishers have added talented authors of this genre to their release lists. Reid appears to be an up and coming star for TN as they continue to expand their Amish Fiction offerings.
As an Amish teen, Judith Fischer was certain her life was all planned out from being baptized into their local Old Order Church to marrying Levi Plank. Although her parents forbade courting till she was 19 rather than the traditional 16 or 17 among the local youths, she was convinced Levi cared for her and would wait till her parents lifted their restriction. As their lives are all upended when her younger brother Samuel takes a spill from the roof of a half finished barn the day before her 19th birthday, Judith encounters a dilemma that could rock her world even more and yank asunder the fragile threads still remain of the family’s bonds. In a culture where the church carries very strong authority and women are expected to yield to the spiritual leaders of their community she must make a choice to trust her faith or the church’s direction. Soon the entire community is torn over whether she has become confused between the stories that entertain the children and reality.
Reid’s characters are drawn in words that quickly illustrate the stringent rules expected in order to join the church and after baptism to remain in good standing that allows free contact within their community. As she develops the presentation of the Amish culture and cultivates the personality of her characters, rather than seeing the fact that Judith is convicted by her experience to stand firm in faith those around her choose instead to believe she is no longer the compliant, committed woman they have known from birth and witnessed growing all these years. Her strange encounter the day of Samuel’s accident triggers a series of events that shake the foundations of her faith and her relationships. Although she begins to see unpleasant truths about many around her through their responses, it is traumatic to consider drawing others into the spiritual battle going on within her much less the isolation that will ensue from continued association with her unless the Bishop will choose not to invoke strictures of the Ordnung. (ISBN#9781595547880, 304pp, $14.99)
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