I thought I was done with Amish fiction for a while, but Ruth Reid pulled me back in with an unexpected premise. Weaving together elements of mystery, faith, and a budding relationship, this is a book that I didn’t want to put down until all had been revealed.
The storyline is split between the past and the present as well as between Faith’s life working on her Amish family’s farm and in her mother’s restaurant, and the struggles of the kidnapped Adriana’s parents. The tension is created not by the question of whether Faith is the kidnapped Adriana, but by how and when this will be revealed.
I adored Faith as a main character. Hardworking and dedicated to her family and her faith, at nearly 17 she has foregone Rumspringa to prepare to be baptized.
“Why are you getting baptized?”
Puzzled by [Gideon’s] question, Faith stopped, crossed her arms, and faced him. “Are you questioning mei character?” Prior to the baptism, the bishop asked the church if they would accept the applicant as brother, or in her case, sister in Christ. She wasn’t sure what happened to those who a member spoke out against. More classes? (p.26-27)
What kept me reading until late at night was the need to find out how learning she was not born Amish and the possibility of returning to her wealthy Englischer birth family would affect her and her friend turned something more, Gideon.
I’m finding that my favorite novels in the Amish sub-genre are those that veer away from the expected storylines. I greatly enjoyed reading Abiding Mercy and look forward to more surprises as this series continues.
Highly recommended for those who enjoy Amish fiction with unexpected storylines or lost children being found. Oh, and keep an eye out for red-headed strangers. They might be crazy, or they just might be angels in disguise.
From the Publisher:
Faith faces an impossible situation: Should she do the right thing and bring heartache to nearly everyone she knows or deny her true self and always wonder . . . what if?
Sixteen-year-old Faith has worked full-time in her parents’ restaurant since she finished eighth grade. She loves her Amish community—and the romantic attentions of her longtime friend, Gideon.
When her sister seems to be getting too friendly with Englischers, and her parents are in a buggy accident, Faith wants to escape into her dream of joining the church and getting married.
But then a local newspaper runs a story about a child named Adriana who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier, and everything Faith has held true comes into question.
Suddenly the community Faith has known her whole life seems unreal. Can she even trust her own family? And how will she ever find home again if she no longer belongs in the world she knows best?
Abiding Mercy, An Amish Miracles Novel (#1) by Ruth Reid | Thomas Nelson, July 2017 | paperback, 352 pages
I voluntarily received a finished copy for review from Thomas Nelson and Zondervan’s Fiction Guild. All opinions expressed are my own.