The Shunning is the first book in a trilogy by Beverly Lewis. Make sure that you are going to read the other two books if you plan on reading this one. It isn't really built to be a standalone novel.
Katie has a hard time fitting in to her Amish lifestyle. She loves
music, and fancy things, and finds it hard to put these things away from
her life as she should. And she needs to learn to do so quickly,
because she is about to marry the Bishop of the church, and these sins
have no place in his household. But as her marriage approaches Katie
starts uncovering secrets that her mother and father has been hiding,
and these secrets could change her life forever.
Katie is probably the best character in this book, which is good since
she is the main character. She has a feisty way about her and you really
can identify with what she's going through. She's genuine and her
struggles seem very real. The other characters I wasn't as taken with.
Especially the majority of the men in this book. I realize that the Old
Order Amish stress the importance of obedience and that men are the head
of the family, but the guys just seemed too over bearing in this book.
Just a little bit of light in their personalities would have been nice.
I do think this book really does a great job of explaining the Amish way
of life. Having known several Amish (but never having been one myself)
it seems fairly accurate, and since different sects have different
practices, it may exactly fit an Amish community that exists. Some of
their ways seem harsh, like the Shunning the book takes its name after,
but it's a different way of life. Because this is an Amish fiction book,
religion plays heavily into the writing but it's not really preachy.
Rather the religion that is described in this book is tough and
unyielding and filled with scripture verses. The plot itself is fairly
common, a young Amish woman not being content with her lot in life and
wondering about the outside world. But at least with such a decent
protagonist it doesn't get stale.
Definitely an interesting Amish read. And one with an ending that will
make you have to pick up the next two books to see what happens.