A Compelling Story of Friendship from the Top Author in Amish Fiction
Leona Speicher got the "sister" she'd always dreamed of the day Gloria Gingerich and her family moved to Lancaster County Amish farmland. The Arkansas newcomers seem to be everything a devout Plain family should be, and Leona can't help comparing Gloria's engaging young parents to her own.
Leona's cousin shows a romantic interest in Gloria around the same time as Gloria's older brother expresses his fondness for Leona--it seems likely the two young women will marry into each other's families, remaining close friends for life. Thus, Leona is shocked when the Gingeriches suddenly pack up and disappear after being expelled from the church for reasons no one will discuss. Despite Leona's pleas, Gloria goes with them, leaving more than one broken heart behind.
When Gloria unexpectedly contacts Leona after a silence of several years, Leona makes up her mind to persuade her friend to return to Lancaster County and the Amish ways. Leona's fiancé, the deacon's son, is alarmed when Leona decides to go after Gloria. Will Leona's dearest wish lead to her own undoing?
Aaaand some linkies:
Beverly Lewis penned her first story at age nine while living near Lancaster County Amish farmlands, where she grew up. She welcomes her many reader-friends each day on Facebook and personally replies to fan mail. Lewis lives with her husband in Colorado near their family. Visit her website at www.beverlylewis.com.
So, y'all should know that I did read this practically in a day. That said, it was interesting enough to get me to plow through, but not interesting enough for me to love. I'll explain in a second.
Little bit of history: I've enjoyed several of Beverly Lewis' books, like "The Shunning", "Saving Sarah Cain", and "The Sumemrfield Secrets." I'm familiar with her writing style and plot techniques, so when I saw this on the list of books I could review, I grabbed it in a heartbeat. But while it kept me occupied for 10 hrs., unfortunately it just didn't meet the cut for me. Now I'll explain... in list form!
- The plot is exceptional, but I do believe it could use more substance, more story. Other than missing little bits of the backbone(for my taste), it was a very interesting storyline that kept me engrossed to the end.
- Leona and Gloria's friendship. It was so sweet, I couldn't help but think of me and my bestie. I mean, they really loved each other and understood each other, even after years of separation.
- Although I don't like the religious aspect of the Amish community, I LOVE THE LIFESTYLE. 'Nuff said.
- The mystery was very enthralling. So many questions and secrets and hiding and WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH OURSELVES BUT FIND THE ANSWERS?!
- Obeying God over parents. This is a topic that not many folks like to confront, but it is a vital one. Beverly Lewis captures it impeccably.
- While the plot was a'ight, the writing style was slow and simple. But I guess that's just Beverly Lewis' writing style... Slow and easy going, with a captivating plot line. I know that some people like that, but not this gal! GIMME ACTION, Y'ALL!
- The characters were shallow. Bite my head off if I'm being too picky, but I love a well created protagonist. Leona? She wasn't exactly all that. She didn't have much of a personality, no quirks, which made her rather dry. Personality is something that I devour in a character, especially in the protagonist. With that said, I didn't feel a connection with her, which made it hard to really understand and love her.
- The Amish church was glorified. What. That's a flat "no." While in her other books, the author made it clear that true Christianity is not found in the Amish church, in this book she basically said that the Lord calls some people to the Amish church: basically to serve man and have man-made laws. *pfft* Bruh, He calls you to serve Him and to make disciples, not to join a little community and shun those who seek the truth. That's not agape love.
- The ending wasn't believable. I'm sorry, again, if I'm being WAY too picky, but I just couldn't believe the ending. It wasn't real. Everything was coming together slowly, but then something happened, and then POOF!!! everything was falling together REALLY quickly... that kind of took me down a whole separate road. It felt too surreal and rushed, and just didn't mesh well for me.
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