Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Posts Tagged ‘Amish’

The Fiddler

Posted by nliakos on August 20, 2018

by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House 2012)

I found this, my fourth Beverly Lewis novel, in the little library of my local senior center.  I took a break from Amerikanah, which I am really enjoying, to gobble down this Amish cupcake of a novel. You kind of know how it’s going to turn out, but Lewis keeps you guessing as to how she is going to get there. It is the love story of violinist Amelia Devries and Amishman Michael Hofsteder, set mostly in and around the invented Amish community of Hickory Hollow, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Both Amelia and Michael are at a crossroads in their lives. Amelia has the talent to be a star violinist, and her father and her agent are pressuring her to go that route, but she wants a husband and family, and she wants to play music because she loves it–not for money or fame. Michael doesn’t fit very well in his Amish community. At twenty-five, he has yet to join the church, and he gotten a GED and continued on to higher education despite the disapproval of his father. He wants to leave the Amish life and become English, but he is held back by his love for his family and hometown. He wants to be there, but without the limitations that the Plain life require. So the reader can see where this is going, especially since Amelia and Michael are attracted to each other from the first moment they meet, on a stormy night in a remote cabin where Michael has fled after an argument with his father, and Amelia has wound up after getting lost. A visit to Hickory Hollow follows, and Amelia falls in love with the people she meets and the serenity of the place, so different from the high-stress city life of an up-and-coming musical celebrity.

Everything works out in the end, and the twists and turns of the story kept me engaged for the day or so it took me to read it. Back to Amerikanah!

English language learners will probably not find this difficult, but they will have to deal with the occasional Deitch (Pennsyvania Dutch) words (italicized).

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The Atonement

Posted by nliakos on June 26, 2016

by Beverly Lewis (Thorndike 2016; ISBN 9871410487605)

The Atonement is the story of Lucy Flaud, a young Amish woman who has flouted the conventions of her strict community by having an affair with an Outsider. The story is set in the Amish country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, three years after Lucy lost the baby that resulted from this affair; the father declined to marry her when he realized that he would be expected to become “Plain” (Amish). Lucy’s grief over her lost love and the death of the fetus is unabated. Her guilt has also estranged her from her beloved father, Christian Flaud, who is likewise grieving the loss of his relationship with her. Christian begins attending a grief support group at a nearby (non-Amish) church, and he eventually persuades Lucy to attend as well. But Christian inexplicably befriends a young “English” man he meets there, exposing Lucy to the charms of yet another potential suitor who is not Amish. Lucy gives herself over to charitable work to fill her time, believing that she can never marry. When her longtime friend Tobe expresses his desire to court her, she rejects him, believing herself to be forever ineligible to marry a virtuous Amish man because of her past transgression.

Beverly Lewis grew up in Amish country, daughter of an Amish mother, so I think it is safe to say that her depiction of Amish home life, way of speaking, and beliefs is probably pretty accurate. I enjoyed the story (although the characters seemed too goody-goody to be real), but this glimpse into the religion and culture of the Amish was for me the best part of the book.

Two other novels by Lewis set in Amish country are The Shunning and The Brethren.

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