Saturday, May 28, 2011

Book Review: The Parting

The Parting (The Courtship of Nellie Fisher, Book 1)
Author: Beverly Lewis
Title: The Parting (The Courtship Of Nellie Fisher Book 1)
Publisher: Bethany House
Publish Date: Oct 2007
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Beloved bestselling inspirational author Lewis kicks off The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series, dishing up her usual sort of Amish meal. Amish teen Nellie Fisher’s grief over the death of her sister, Suzy, in a drowning accident is just beginning to heal. It helps that Caleb Yoder has asked her to be his girl, and wedding bells ring in her imagination. Her baked goods shop also provides solace. But change blows through her Pennsylvania Amish community, threatening to divide families and thwart her new found romance. Other story lines are set up: Rosanna King seems unable to have children, but is promised a forthcoming baby by a woman who has many; Nellie’s father reads forbidden scripture and becomes intrigued with salvation by grace. Amish dialect is used judiciously throughout, and although some items (like an old journal) seem like tired cliches, Lewis creates the tension necessary to get the series started. Some Christian readers will wonder about a theology that finds Suzy’s death and a crop failure part of God’s plan, and there may be confusion for readers unfamiliar with the Amish about the boundaries of Rumschpringe (rumspringa, or the running-around period for some Amish teens).

Review: Beverly Lewis usually writes trilogies and this book is part of The Courtship of Nellie Fisher.  Amish fiction is something that you either love or hate, because you can't write it without including the faith of the Amish, which is Anabaptist...similar to that of the Mennonites..but not quite the same. If you know little about the Amish...their beliefs will have you wondering.

This story was actually a little bit different for Lewis, as it took place in the 1960s, when many religions were experiencing change. It was no different for the Amish. This were happening in the world and even The Plain folk wanted to move forward, even if just in baby steps.

Of course there's romance, because that's what all of Lewis' trilogies are about. The struggles of the Amish to find love. In this book, there's a lot of conflict. Nellie and her family are dealing with the drowning death of her sister and her father's changing beliefs. Both are putting a strain on her new relationship with Caleb Yoder.

I love Lewis' style of writing. I think she portrays these people well, though I wish every book wasn't full of such drama. This one seemed full of more than usual and that was a bit of a distraction. There was just too much going on and it left me feeling the story didn't quite have enough focus. Nellie's relationship with Caleb really didn't seem to me to a huge part of the story, and I often wondered why the sisters didn't share any of their feelings with each other or their mother. So in that regards, I found this book to be a little lacking in comparison to Lewis' other material. I'll still be reading the next to books, though, The Forbidden and The Longing.

Rating: 4 flowers


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