Reviewed by Lisa Lickel
The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher
"The Waiting is a story of peace and patience and belief in the triumph of God’s will even for the most cantankerous of Amish and English alike."
Time has little meaning to the Plain People of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. However, not even they can escape the turmoil of the mid 1960s. Conscientious objectors can still serve in non-combat duty during war, and that’s what Amish farmer Ben Zook did when he received his draft notice. Before being sent to Vietnam, he asked his girl, Jorie King, to wait for him. And wait she did, even after her parents and siblings went to Canada to begin a new settlement. Jorie reluctantly takes a position as a school teacher in order to help her grandparents' financial situation, but soon gets into trouble with her unorthodox teaching methods. During this era, school for Amish children is still an experiment, and all scholars must pass an eighth grade exam or there could be consequences for the entire project.
Caleb Zook, the oldest of the four Zook brothers and head of family knows loss and suffering. He’s endured the loss of his parents, the loss of Ben who’s reported killed in action, and his next brother, Matthew, also drafted. Youngest brother Ephraim is a special young man with a wide loving heart, but will never be a reliable farm helper. When Caleb is chosen as a minister, the increased work load is a burden he dreads. The death of his wife would have downed a lesser man, but Caleb leans heavily on the will and peace of God. Eventually, practicality sets in and he goes about looking for a mother to his daughter. Who better than the school teacher?
Jorie also mourns Ben, and turns down several offers of marriage from neighbors in the district. At the ripe old age of twenty-four, she realizes she doesn’t need to be married for practical reasons, and although she’s attracted to Caleb Zook, she won’t marry him until he needs her as more than a mother for his little girl. By the time the two of them agree to marry, God’s grace showers them with unexpected turmoil.
Fisher’s portrayal of the Plain People in a tumultuous community
of racial and ethnic divisions makes an intriguing tale. Her characters
are refreshingly honest, as is the grit and passion of the time. The
Waiting is a story of peace and patience and belief in the triumph of God’s
will even for the most cantankerous of Amish and English alike. For readers
who enjoy stories of Amish life in the recent contemporary setting of Pennsylvania,
The Waiting will not be a disappointment.
Lisa Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society, belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater, and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com, and Facebook.