Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Secret by Beverly Lewis

Beverly Lewis and the Amish people are inseparable in my mind. I’ve read her work sporadically over the years, and I’ve enjoyed my ventures into this Plain world. Her latest series, Seasons of Grace has certainly laid the groundwork for some incredible story-telling! In the first book of the series, The Secret, the Byler family is introduced, and the focus is primarily on the oldest daughter, Grace. It seems the members of this family are all pretty private about the things taking place in their lives, and the secrets they keep turn out to be a difficult stumbling block to everyone’s future.

The beginnings of the Byler family trials come on subtly when Grace’s mom, Lettie, suddenly seems to be operating beneath a heavy burden of some kind that she is unable to share with anyone. Her moodiness and bouts of sadness are a mystery to her family, yet no one can seem to reach her and find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, Grace and Henry are moving forward in their relationship and Grace is ever so excited! Her mother offers a rather odd caution to her oldest daughter amidst the growing anticipation of a more serious relationship when she tells her that living with a quiet, reticent man is often difficult. It seems all is not as it should be.

Then the most unexpected thing takes place – Lettie leaves her family without a hint of where she is going or why she is leaving. The effects are dramatic and difficult. Grace must suddenly shift her role to the one vacated by her mother, and soon thereafter she must take care of her dad (Judah) as grief overcomes his spirit. Amid all the chaos, a young Englisher girl appears in the community as a guest in a neighboring home. Heather has come to the community with her own secret, and as peaceful as the Amish community is to her weary soul, Heather cannot escape facing her own worst fears.

As the story moves forward, there are many other secrets that come to light. Some are secrets held over many years, and some are heart-secrets that reveal the truth about present relationships. One thing for certain, the Byler family – all of them from Lettie and Grace to Judah and Jakob – are going to have to face some troublesome times ahead. As God begins working in each of their hearts, they begin to let go of their secrets and turn to the One from whom nothing is hidden.

Come along and immerse yourself in the Amish community. The Secret unwinds at a slow, deliberate and purposeful pace suited to the Plain community. You will come to care for each of the Byler family members, and by the time you reach the end, you will be anxious to read more of their story! This promises to be an intriguing story of the heart, and Beverly Lewis fans are sure to be well-pleased!

Visit the author's website for more information on this great series!

Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

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 Bev'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 playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

1 comment:

SmilingSally said...

You make me wish that I had requested this one. Lewis sounds so good. I've read some of the other Amish writer's work, which I do not admire.