Beverly Lewis is, apparently, a prolific and popular author, although I had never heard of her or her work before. This was a book club selection. Since one of the reasons for being in a book club is to be exposed to books and ideas you might not otherwise come into contact with, I happily went along with this choice.
The Parting is the first book in the trilogy The Courtship of Nellie Fisher, about a young Amish girl in 1966. The action takes place during Nellie’s rumschpringa, the years when Amish youth are permitted to experience the outside world before committing to baptism. The descriptions of the life of the Old Order Amish living under the ordnung are interesting.
The lives of the Amish of the fictional town of Honeybrook are constrained by the rejection of the many modern conveniences we take for granted-automobiles, electricity, and tractors, among many others. The Amish are also subject to shunning if they fail to obey the strict rules of their community. But apparently the teenagers are allowed to stay out all night while courting.
Like the rest of her Amish peers, Nellie has attended public school through the eighth grade, leaving school to work on the family farm. Nellie has a talent for baking, so she operates a bakery selling her creations to other Amish as well as to outsiders. Of course, all her profits help support her family. Nellie is being courted by Caleb Yoder, the youngest son of a neighboring family. Both Nellie and Caleb are devoted to the Old Order, but their families’ differences threaten to divide them.
The Parting is not deep, or complex. It was an easy read-and that’s about all I can say in its defense. I will not be reading the rest of the books in this trilogy, and I really can’t recommend this book to anyone.
Published in hardcover-Bethany House 2007
Softcover edition-Bethany House 2007