Friday, September 14, 2012

The Bridesmaid

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Bridesmaid
Bethany House Publishers (September 11, 2012)
Beverly Lewis


Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


The Latest in Chart-Topping Amish Fiction from Beverly Lewis

Twenty-seven-year-old Joanna Kurtz has made several trips to the altar, but never as a bride. The single young Amishwoman is a closet writer with a longing to be published something practically unheard of in her Lancaster County community. Yet Joanna's stories aren't her only secret. She also has a beau who is courting her from afar, unbeknownst even to her sister, Cora, who, though younger, seems to have suitors to spare.

Eben Troyer is a responsible young Amishman who hopes to make Joanna Kurtz his bride--if he can ever leave his parents' farm in Shipshewana, Indiana. Yet with his only brother off in the English world, intent on a military career, Eben's hopes for building a life with his dear Joanna are dimming, and patience is wearing thin. Will Joanna ever be more than a bridesmaid?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Bridesmaid, go HERE.

The Bridesmaid by Beverly Lewis is the second book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series about a quiet Amish community in Pennsylvania. Joanna Kurtz was introduced in the first book, The Fiddler, as an imaginative and sweet Amish woman. In this book, she becomes more fully rounded as a woman well past the age most Amish women are married, and friends and family are starting to consider her a Maidel, old maid. Joanna has always sought refuge in her secret writings, stories that she writes in journals, never intending to share them with others, mindful of the Amish ban on seeking publicity or praise. When she meets Eben Troyer from Shipshewana, Indiana at a family get-together in Virginia Beach, the two have an immediate connection that grows quickly into a long distance relationship through letters and clandestine phone calls. But Eben didn't tell her that his ability to move to Hickory Hollow is dependent on his brother Leroy's returning to the Plain life. Have you ever read a story and found the characters bled over into your real life? I'm embarrassed to admit this, but last night when I went to bed (in the middle of the book) I caught myself asking the Lord to help Joanna and Eben's relationship. That's truly a sign of a good novel, where the characters are compelling and the story poignant. Some readers may become frustrated with Joanna and Eben's passivity, but their trust in the Lord is a powerful message to the story. I didn't like the character of Joanna's younger sister, Cora Jane; she seemed to vindictive and judgmental that when she has a change of heart, it didn't seem realistic because it was too radical. I truly liked Joanna and Eben and felt that some of the other plotlines: the quilt, Cora Jane, and Leroy, distracted from their story at times. I also wish that Amelia, the main character from the first novel, had made an appearance, but I still enjoyed the book and will definitely pick up the next book in the series.