Author: Jan Drexler
My rating is 5 stars.
I read the book when it first released in January of 2016 and enjoyed it very much. When I just finished reading it again in preparation for reading book two in the series, I was reminded how truly complex and intriguing is the story. Readers will come to a shrinking Amish village in Pennsylvania where a family must choose whether to stay or move westward to Indiana. The reasons for contemplating a move for the father of the Yoder family is that he sees the world becoming more of a threat to his children remaining in the Amish faith.
Hannah is the oldest and her friend since childhood has been Adam, whose family farms near them. However, when Adam’s family becomes Mennonite Hannah’s continuing friendship becomes a concern to her parents. On top of that, unknown to her parents Adam along with his family is aiding in the Underground Railroad. Hannah has been asked by Adam more than once to assist in getting the “packages” to safety, putting her life in danger as readers will soon find out.
Hannah’s mother is suffering from depression when she loses her three youngest children to diphtheria, which causes Hannah to assume more care for the remaining siblings. I thought the author did a very tender job of dealing with this issue, and how it can affect the whole family. It was especially touching to see how the family cared for the mother while the family for the most part remained a unit. They do have one sibling who leaves the community and secretly gets married which brings more tragedy to the Yoder clan.
Throughout the novel the author shows how family and faith can really be two intertwined threads of strength, especially when tragedy strikes. The author doesn’t rush her characters into healing, but shows how it does take time to recover from deep sorrow. I also found it quite realistic when a child goes outside of expectations how hard it can be on the family, especially when the wayward person refuses to bend or come home.
The novel is a truly touching and moving book that readers will find keeps them turning pages for hours. The book lays great groundwork for the second book, Mattie’s Pledge!
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