Reviewed by April Gardner
Annie's People series by Beverly
"..draws the reader in with a host of full-fleshed characters."
Book 1: The
Book 2: The Englisher
Book 3: The Brethren
Annie Zook, the only daughter of an Old Order Amish preacher is torn between her desire to please her parents and her artistic yearnings. Painting is strictly prohibited by her church district, but that hardly stops her from squirreling away to her secret studio. When Englisher Ben Martin enters her life, she has one more secret to hide—forbidden love.
Her life-long pen pal, Louisa Stratford, longs for a reprieve from her high class Denver life. Annie’s simple Amish ways seem to be just the remedy she’s in need of. Annie’s parents worry that Louisa will tempt their daughter toward the modern life, but Louisa would never dream of encouraging Annie to leave the life that makes her who she is. As a matter of fact, Louisa is considering taking up residence in Amish Country herself, and a handsome, single member of the community would be more than pleased if she would. Or will he simply join her on the outside world?
Secrets abound in Annie’s small town of Paradise, Pennsylvania. One of her brothers is sneaking around dating a non-Amish girl. Esther, her childhood friend, is hiding the fact that her husband is abusive. And what became of Isaac, the little boy stolen in the night some fifteen years ago?
Will the Brethren always stand in the way of Annie’s happiness, or will she need the courage to step away from all she’s known, trading her family for her passions?
The Annie’s People series is quite original, drawing the reader in with a host of full-fleshed characters. It is Ms. Lewis’ best yet, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who thought herself beyond satiated with the Amish setting.
This particular series puts the Amish in a more realistic light, not being quite as romanticized as Ms. Lewis’ other series. While emphasizing that the Amish have the right idea about family unity and community brotherhood, their way of life is shown to be tedious, not for the faint of heart. Perhaps this is because we see it from the point of view of Louisa, an “Englisher” who is adjusting to life among the Amish.
That being said, the reader is left with the urge to slow down, simplify her life, and focus on family. Who can’t use a bit of that?
There is an edge of mystery to it, as well, that took me somewhat by surprise. What happened to little Isaac? Whose bones did the plough turn up? You’ll have the ending figured out by the beginning of book three, “The Brethren”, but you’ll never guess how Ms. Lewis gets you there.
If you think you’ve had enough of Amish books, you’re mistaken. I challenge you to pick up “The Preacher’s Daughter” and see for yourself.
April W Gardner writes adult and middle grade historical fiction. Her first novel, Wounded Spirits, releases with Vintage Romance Publishing in November of this year. She is a member of ACFW and reviews for Title Trakk, At Home With Christian Fiction, and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her darling Hubby. A homeschool mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. Visit April's Website or her blog, A Writer's Journey. You can also get to know April on Facebook and Twitter.