Judith, a young Amish woman in Pennsylvania, is visited by an angel after her brother is accidentally hurt on their farm. The angel’s message of hope for her brother isn’t received well in her community – despite her strong connection to God, the town declares her to be lying and decides to change her mind, or to ostracise her. Only Andrew, the bishop’s son, believes she’s telling the truth. Judith's faith is tested, and her relationships with all those around her hang on tentative threads until the close of the novel.
Despite flicking through the first few pages and thinking that I’d not enjoy it one iota, the novel and characters actually really grew on me. It was refreshing to see characters that weren’t perfect – this is the third Amish-centred novel I’ve read, coming off the end of Beverly Lewis’s Rose Trilogy, whose characters appear to be surrounded by the hallelujah-lights. The messages delivered throughout were thought-provoking, and the budding romance between Judith and Andrew was quite sweet and believable. However, I did find the angel itself to be a strange character – while I get that Tobias did need to be detached from the surroundings and seem ridiculously out of place, I don’t feel it was conveyed in the best way. Tobias’s character comes off with an air of needing more work to be believable, rather than as an intentional device. A lot of characters are thrown into the mix and then mysteriously vanish - not a good thing if the book hasn't immediately grabbed you, which it didn't for me.
If you’re looking for a novel that’s going to whittle away a rainy afternoon, this is a good one. It’s not too heavy-going for fiction, and it won’t cause a migraine with any twists and turns. Don’t read this novel if you’re looking for the next big thing in Christian literature – or mainstream, for that matter. It’s a good enough read, but nothing spectacularly out of the ordinary to rave about.
Having said that, I've just found out this is a series. I'll be picking up book two.
««« 1/2 stars.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was most lovingly supplied to me by Booksneeze, free of charge. Opinions are most thoroughly my own, positive or otherwise.