I was sent this book to review by TLC Book Tours this last month. Usually I review self-improvement and parenting type books, so this was a little different for me–not that I don’t enjoy fiction, because I definitely do!
Winter’s Awakening by Shelley Shepard Gray is the first book in the author’s new series about the Amish community in Sugarcreek, Ohio. I have never read an Amish novel before, and I found myself quite fascinated by the way they live. I was constantly shutting the book and going to the computer to Google for information, like when I noticed they had refrigerators and wondered how was that possible? In my research, I learned that the Amish are just fine with using gas-powered stoves and refrigerators (yes, there is such a thing) but not electric. To the author’s credit, she did explain this later in the novel when it made sense plot-wise…I just tend to jump the gun when I am curious about something.
Aside from simply learning more about the Amish and their beliefs, the story itself was very good. It involves Joshua and Gretta, two young Amish people who are courting. However, Joshua has been hesitant to join the church or commit to marrying Gretta and it causes something of a rift between them as he works out his feelings. Then, an Englischer (non-Amish, like me) family moves in next-door, and causes Joshua even further reflection on his Amish lifestyle and what is right for him ultimately as he makes friends with their teenage daughter, Lilly.
I related very well with Joshua’s plight. After all, I was raised in a religion that many people find odd, and I too had to question and come to my own knowledge of the things I was taught growing up. As an adult I am still a member of the LDS church, because I have done my questioning (still do, sometimes) and have found my answers and I know that this is absolutely where I should be.
I felt that the author dealt with these questions of faith and lifestyle realistically and enjoyably. I won’t tell you what Joshua ended up choosing….you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out!
Oh I love good books! And I am also facsinated with the Amish. I have been wanting to read some of the books published by Beverly Lewis (I believe). I will definately have to give this was a read. Thanks for your review of this book. How do you get asked to do these book reviews? I love reading and would love the opportunity once in awhile.
I am also fascinated by the Amish people. Is it a love story?
Wow, I guess I never thought of Amish lit, but why not. That is really cool. My hubby teaches Mormon lit at BYU, and he loves to hear about this kind of thing. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂
I'm so glad you liked the book, Lara! I'm just like you — I tend to rush out and double check information as soon as I read it, and oftentimes it's later explained, but I'm such an information nerd, that I like to know the facts right then and there. 🙂
Anyway, thanks for being on the tour! As always, fantastic review.
But you don't have to take my word for it….
sounds interesting. I'll have to see if my library has it.
How very fascinating. I'll have to read it!
I love fiction that is shaped around stuff I know very little about–this fits the bill!
Hi there, Lara,
I'm sorry I'm visiting a little late, I've been on deadline. (Revisions for book 3 of the series, Autumn's Promise)
Anyway, I certainly enjoyed reading all about you and your beautiful girls, and your very busy life!
Thank you for your kind review. When I first started writing about the Amish, many things (such as those refrigerators) confused me. I'm so thankful for my Old Order Amish friend who helps me with my questions. Just yesterday I received a note from her…she just got back from a vacation to Florida! She and her husband went even went on a tour of the everglades. Just imagining them in their Plain clothes, looking at the alligators made me smile.
Again, thank you for giving my book a try. God Bless.
It's kind of funny to me that Amish fiction is becoming such a big sub-genre. In fact, in my chapter of a major writing organization, more than once I've mentioned I write LDS chick lit and someone has immediately jumped to "Amish" from there. Interesting . . .