Saturday, December 15, 2018

Amish War Novel Gentle, But Authentic

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With World War II raging across the world, no one remains unaffected.  Even the peaceful Delaware Amish community where Miriam Coblentz lives has been turned upside down by the far away conflict.  Miriam's fiancé, 25-year-old Henry Mast, was drafted six months ago.  As a conscientious objector, he has been assigned to a Civilian Public Service Camp in Maryland for two years of service.  The months have dragged by, leaving Miriam's vulnerable heart open to the flirty advances of Henry's best friend, Eli Brenneman.  While she longs for her beloved, she receives troubling news from Maryland.  Going against everything the Amish believe, Henry has decided to enlist.  Although he feels that God is calling him to fight, Miriam can't understand why he'd risk being Shunned by his family and friends to join a bloody battle that could send him home in a body bag.  Torn between the rules of her faith and the convictions of her fiancé, Miriam must make a difficult choice.  Does she remain loyal to her Amish upbringing or follow her heart, even if it means losing almost everything—and everyone—she's ever loved?

Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts is the author's debut novel and the first in a trilogy.  It tells a gentle story about faith, forgiveness, family, and following one's heart.  Because Younts was raised Amish and, despite leaving the community, remains in close contact with relatives in the faith, her portrayal of the Amish is tender, but realistic.  Her characters are regular people with the kind of common fears and struggles to which we can all relate.  While Promise to Return doesn't pack quite the punch that The Solace of Water, Younts' most recent Amish novel (and one of the best books I've read this year), does, it's still an engaging, thought-provoking novel about tradition vs. forging a new path.  I enjoyed it and can't wait to read the sequels, both of which I've purchased but not yet opened.

(Readalikes:  Promise to Cherish and Promise to Keep, both by Elizabeth Byler Younts)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for some subject matter more suited to readers 12 and older

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Promise to Return from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to have the book written by someone is was Amish so that it feels authentic.

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