Monday, May 13, 2013

Another visit to Hickory Hollow -- The Guardian

Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

When Jodi Winfield comes to Lancaster to house-sit, the last thing she expects to find is a disheveled little girl alone on the side of the road. The young teacher is mystified when she learns there have been no reports of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

Then Jodi turns her attention to Hickory Hollow--and the cloistered world of the Old Order Amish--in search of answers.

The best way I can think of to describe my reaction to The Guardian is a sense of peacefulness.  The main characters have issues and conflicts to deal with, but the way their stories play out is through a growing sense of peace and understanding about their lives.

In contrast to what is often the case in Amish fiction, there is no Amish character trying to decide whether to leave the Plain community or no English person thinking of becoming Amish.  Instead, the relationships between Jodi, Sarah, Maryanna, and others provide unexpected opportunities to learn from each other and grow through their differences and their similarities.  Two women -- one Amish and one English -- have both experienced great loss and have a great deal to learn about love, priorities, and moving on in life.  Although their lifestyles are quite different, they find themselves sharing their hearts in ways that help them both begin to heal.  And I can't imagine reading this story without absolutely falling in love with little Sarah Esh, who comes alives on the pages through Beverly Lewis's skillful writing.

I highly recommend The Guardian to anyone who enjoys great Amish fiction and anxiously look forward to book #4, The Secret Keeper, due out in September.

This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

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