Since the untimely death of Nellie Mae Fisher's beloved younger sister, Suzy, Nellie dares again to dream of a future with handsome Caleb Yoder. But with rumors about Suzy still flying among the People, there are those who would keep the young courting couple apart . . . including Caleb's own father. Meanwhile, a growing number of Honeybrook's Amish farmers are demanding tractors and other forbidden modern conveniences. With the Old Order community pushed to the breaking point, Nellie and Caleb find their families and themselves in the midst of what threatens to become an impossible divide. Book I in "The Courtship of Nellie Fisher" series.
I first encountered Ms. Lewis' work when I read The Covenant (Abraham's Daughters #1) in early 2013. Amish fiction is usually clean and sweet and The Parting is a great example of the genre. Each Amish child, as s/he approaches adulthood has a 'Rumschprunge', or a period of time where they are allowed to see what the Englischers have to offer, after which many return to the fold and officially join the church in their own right. Of course, a percentage do not return, preferring the 'outside' world to what they knew in their childhood
Such was the case with Suzy, Nellie's little sister. She took a big walk on the wild side, and one day, on a canoeing adventure she came out of the boat and was drowned. The family has a double grief - from the death of their daughter, and her apparent choice of the outside world over the Amish. It doesn't help that some of the stricter 'People' hold that this taints the family, which is most unfortunate and particularly troubling to Nellie.
You see, she's quite taken with Caleb Yoder, a young man of her age from another Amish family. Nellie is worried that Caleb's father will not allow him to marry her because of this 'stain on her family's honor'.
The second obstacle (but by no means 'secondary') is that some of the Amish community are feeling that maybe a modern convenience ... or two ... or more is not such a bad thing. Still others want to change the way they worship - read books, chapters and verses in the Bible which most Amish never see. They want to pray to God about what is in their hearts rather than the 'rote' prayers which are the norm. This cause a deep schism in the Amish community, that became quite heated at times.
Nellie's father is one who is embracing the new worship, and he shares it with his wife and children, most of him wind up embracing it as well. One son flatly refuses, and Nellie worries that it could affect her courtship with Caleb.
The writing is clear and concise. The characters are developed and realistic - no caricatures of sweet, happy people running around. There is a good amount of tension at various times, which keeps the story moving along.
If you like clean and sweet stories, especially about the Amish, you cannot find a better source that Beverly Lewis.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country and both a schoolteacher and an accomplished musician, has been an award-winning author for over a dozen years. Her acclaimed novel, The Preacher's Daughter, was a 2006 Quill Book Award finalist in the romance category. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. She and her husband, David, live in Colorado."