Title: Anna’s Crossing (An Amish Beginnings Novel)
Author: Susan Fisher Woods
Historical settings in a novel set the heart aflame and the imagination wild, at least it does for me. The Charming Nancy is the ship where the major events of the story take place. Starting in a small town in Germany readers are introduced to Anna who is being sent to the New World by her grandparents for a couple of reasons, marriage and increasing persecution.
While crossing the Atlantic, readers will become engrossed in the various lives and interactions of the Amish and their lives reflecting their beliefs. Bairn serves on the Charming Nancy as the carpenter and third person in charge. Over the course of the crossing and threats to lives, his heart is changed but not without some very deep and personal internal struggles.
The novel is unlike other Amish novels I have read to date, focusing on the hardships endured with hope as the Amish remain below the main deck. Susan Fisher Woods paints pictures in the minds of readers of how people lived, died, believed in God or were bound by superstition. At the end of the book, fact is separated from fiction along with the author’s intent of why she included some material, but not other.
I am sure it is hard to imagine the harsh life, high mortality rate, and how there were people who sought to benefit greedily from the freedom to worship that the Amish sought. I sat down to begin the book figuring it would take me almost two days to finish, but I simply couldn’t stop myself from reading it till the very end including the history notations. Whether one agrees with the Amish way of life or not is inconsequential as one lesson we can learn from this moment in time is do we live like we profess to believe?
Hope, endurance, faith, believing, superstition, greed, loyalty and more are just some of the themes I was able to glean from the novel. History can teach us all many lessons one of which is leaving behind a written account of what we encounter in our lifetime. Susan visited or read up on the plight of immigrants, Amish, and more, especially anything connected to the real ship that bore the name Charming Nancy. I can’t say enough about how traveling back in a historical novel can remind one what is important along with the challenge to live out the faith we so eagerly express!
My Rating: 5 stars.
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