Friday, March 18, 2005

books by beverly lewis

I just finished reading The Covenant and The Betrayal, Books 1 and 2 in Beverly Lewis’s ‘Abram’s Daughters’ series. They are the story of an Amish family from Lancaster County Pennsylvania.

I don’t know that I would have chosen to read these books without the urging of a friend but I found them a pleasant surprise. I was drawn imperceptibly to the characters so that by the end, I really cared about what happened to these people. (I was reminded of the Hutterites who we used to see shopping in Saskatoon when I was a kid, conspicuous in their long dark print dresses, aprons and shawls, and the men in their checked shirts, suspenders and hats.)

The sheltered Amish setting is a backdrop of such innocence and apparent naivete I was taken off guard when the story wandered, from predictable coming-of-age themes (relationship to parents, falling in love, making parental faith one's own) into some pretty serious issues (unwed motherhood, family secrets, betrayal, authoritarian church leadership to name a few).

I’m not sure who the intended audience for these books is. The ages of the main characters would suggest teens. But I don't think the teens I know would have patience for the slow-moving, simple life portrayed, or the quaint Amish speechisms - "Purty," "ain’t so?" "wonderful-gut" etc.) although they do make the characters seem plenty authentic.

The story is well told, especially toward the end of Book 2, when it got to be a bit of a page-turner. The series continues with Book 3 - The Sacrifice, Book 4 - The Prodigal both published in 2004, and Book 5 - The Revelation is due out in June this year.

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