Judging the Cover: I like the gray scale tone of the cover and the image of the Amish buggy but I am not a fan of people on covers facing the camera head on.
The Plot: Gideon Miller ran away from his Amish life in Pennsylvania 15 years ago and now works as a mechanic and lives in North Carolina. He is well known in the Amish community as someone who helps those who wish to leave get on their feet in the “English” world. Gideon harbors a lot of bitterness towards his past life and finds himself confronted with his past issues when his brother, Moriah shows up in his town. Gideon also forms a friendship with a waitress at a diner named Mari and her younger autistic sister Kiki, who are able to break through his hard exterior. Along the way, Gideon learns about forgiveness and letting go of the past.
My Thoughts: This was not a typical Christian fiction Amish story. I’ve read many Amish fiction books and have always felt that they tend to romanticize and sugar coat the Amish lifestyle. This book depicts some Amish people to be legalistic, abusive, and set in their ways. I did feel at times that the author was not showing the “other side” of the Amish, that they can be kind and gentle, but I appreciated her honesty in showing that they are not perfect people. I found this book to be slow moving and boring at times but the ending was well done.
The Good: I appreciated that the author ended the story in a realistic way. I also liked Kiki’s character, she was funny and had an innocent quality that was very endearing. I liked the romance in the story as it had a slow, natural progression that was very sweet.
The Not So Good: The writing style felt a bit disjointed at times and the character development wasn’t gradual, it seemed to occur overnight. I also didn’t agree when it was stated that Kiki was autistic. I work in schools and know and work with many children with autism and I didn’t feel that Kiki had any of the typical characteristics that go with the diagnosis (with the exception of saying what she’s thinking without thinking it through first). It was a difficult book to get into and I found it boring at times.
My Rating: I decided to give this book 2 1/2 out of 5 stars because I did enjoy seeing the “other side of the coin” when it came to the Amish life but I didn’t find it very enjoyable.
I received this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.