June 12, 2012

The Shunning by Beverly Lewis

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. 

The Shunning
Copyright 1997
282 pages

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