Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review: Leaving Lancaster

Author: Kate Lloyd
Title: Leaving Lancaster
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publish Date: March 1, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: NetGalley
Book Blurb: Can a splintered Amish family reconcile?

More than anything else, thirty-something Holly Fisher longs for family. Growing up in Seattle without a dad or grandparents, she wonders what it would be like to have a heritage, a place of belonging. Holly is furious when her mother, Esther, reveals a long-kept secret: Holly’s grandmother and uncles are still alive and begging Esther to return. And Holly is shocked when she learns that the family she’s never known lives on a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, farm—as part of an Amish community her mother once abandoned.
Guilt-ridden Esther, terrified to see her mother and siblings, begs Holly to accompany her on a visit to Esther’s mother before she dies. But can their journey to a conflicting world heal their emotional wounds and finally bring them home?
Set in the heart of contemporary Lancaster County, Leaving Lancaster explores the power of forgiveness, family reconciliation, and love where least expected.
Leaving Lancaster: A Novel

Review: Leaving Lancaster is a lot different from the Amish fiction I usually read. This book deals with a woman that was raised Amish, but didn't get baptized into the church. Esther and Samuel ran off to California. In the process, they got married and Samuel got drafted and sent to Vietnam, where is becomes MIA.

The book takes place in the present. Esther runs The Amish Shoppe in Seattle and Holly is her daughter. They seem to have a good relationship until a letter arrives from Esther's mother, who Holly believed was dead.

I can understand the distrust that grows between mother and daughter but there are times when both parties seem so nasty toward the other. Esther hates seeing Holly in Amish garb. Holly doesn't understand why Esther hid so much.

There reactions are pretty much human nature. Esther is afraid of returning home after so many years, to people she's hurt in the past.

I loved watching her relationship with Nathaniel grow as the book went on, especially as Holly had a crush on him for a bit.

This book is a tale of coming back to the fold, of love and forgiveness. I think the struggles of the women in this story set this book apart from a lot of the Amish fiction out there. Most deal with younger women or young widows. In this case, Holly is 39 and Esther is in her early 50s. This was refreshing. I also loved their devotion to Anna, Esther's mother.

The only thing that kept this from being a perfect read was the ending. It felt rushed and there were some things I would have liked answered, about Esther and Beth and about Anna's illness. Perhaps that's for another book.

Rating: 4 flowers


Valerie said...

Great review. I got kind of burned out on traditional Amish fiction a couple years ago, so now I only pick up the genre if it has a different spin or angle than the average Amish book. I'm going to be starting this book later today, so I'm anxious to get into it.

By the way, your the header on your blog is really cool. Sort of reminds me of Alice in Wonderland! ;)

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