I confess to being curious about the lives of people who live in secluded religious communities. The Amish are of special interest because they are not separated behind compound-gates. They live on farms right in the middle of the “English.”
I enjoy reading novels about fictitious Amish, especially those that seem real. I’ve read three of these novels this year but Leah’s Choice is the best of them all. Here’s the synopsis from the author’s website.
Amish teacher Leah Beiler finds her settled life disrupted by the appearance in Pleasant Valley of two very different men: Daniel Glick, an Amish farmer with three young children and a past that haunts him at every turn and Johnny Kile, the fiancé who left her behind when he jumped the fence to the English world. Leah must suddenly decide between two pathways, either of which will change her life.
Leah loves her Amish life and all the people in her family and community. She is a serious, passionate teacher of Amish children in all eight grades. As I walked through the daily life of Leah I saw how positive a community it is.
This time – this bonding with her community – was surely one of the strengths of Amish life. Sharing worship and a common meal, they did what the earlier followers of Jesus did, and it built the ties between them more surely with every bite, every joke, every shared story.
But, I could also see why some Amish would choose to leave. The attractions and distractions of the outside world – the English world – is the main concern of the story. Leah has a chance to see that other world in several ways. Leah saw the attraction through the lives of others and she too was attracted by books and education the outside world offered. But to leave would mean permanent separation from her family.
This is a story of relationships and romance and at the same time a story of strong Christian faith. Leah called on her faith to help her.
She’d prayed, caught herself worrying, and prayed again.Why can’t I be confident in Your answers to my prayers, Father? I feel so torn . . . Maybe that was the point. Maybe God was reminding her that only through relying on Him would she find the right path.
I’ve read lots of Christian fiction that is poorly written, preachy and usually dumb. Fortunately, this is one Christian fiction story that is way above others in the genre. The author, Marta Perry, has written over thirty novels. Leah’s Choice is the first in her Pleasant Valley series. The next two will be published in 2010. I’m looking forward to reading those and some of her other novels as well. For more information on Marta Perry visit her website here.
Leah’s Choice is available at Amazon.com
[Source: Review copy from the author. I am an Amazon Associate.]