Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A Hope of Refuge: My Review

This book, in which a young widowed single mother who had been raised in foster care, ran to Amish country following a clue left in her mother's diary, trying to escape a stalker. Surprisingly enough, when this stranger enters their community dressed in immodest clothes and camps out in a barn, she isn't welcomed with open arms by all. However Ephraim remembers a young girl who visited their community years ago, and yes, Cara is that girl, and yes, he is still carrying a torch for her. I rather doubt anyone starting this book would be surprised at the resolution but I'd say this is one of the better-written Amish novels I've read.

I'll admit to having little more than a cursory knowledge of the Amish, their beliefs and lifestyles. I do know that as a Catholic I often find things in Christian fiction written by Protestants about Catholics that are either just plain wrong or are misunderstood. With that in mind, I don't consider a novel like this to necessarily be completely correct about the Amish(though I don't know enough to point out any errors, if there are any), but I have read novels in which the Amish, all of them except perhaps a "bad guy" come off as saints (loving, patient, praying, forgiving)and I've read others where it is obvious that the author's sympathy is with the Amish who maintain the family ties and lifestyle but adopt personal religious beliefs more in line with evangelical Protestantism than with the Amish faith. Neither is true of this book. Most of these Amish are very human. They react out of fear, pride, jealousy and love. They care for each other, but aren't good at reaching out to outsiders in need. This book presents the rules that seem so unreasonable to us in a sympathetic manner and explains some of the "why".

Amish fiction is getting to be rather popular. View an ABC News Video about it.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.


  1. It is one of my pet peeves, as a Catholic, reading books that get things wrong about Catholicism. I assume usually it is just poor research, not deliberate, but it often puts me off a book and makes me wonder if the author is getting other facts, about things I don't know that much, wrong as well.

    I too find the Amish a very interesting group and have read a fair bit about them. But being a rather remote and insular group, I have to assume a lot of authors get a lot about them wrong unless they have some first hand knowledge.

  2. I have to say that I watched the ABC interview and thought that Cindy really researched everything well for her books and the fact that she had actual Amish friends review her material to make sure it was correct was terrific. I don't think she could get too much more authentic than that. I don't usually read a lot of Amish fiction as it is often very predictable but this one looks good. Thanks for the review!

  3. This looks like a good read to me! I would like to read this book after reading your review.


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