Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis - REVIEWED

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Thorn
Bethany House (September 7, 2010)

Beverly Lewis


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."


Beverly Lewis definitely sets a high standard when it comes to Amish fiction. The Thorn is her latest story and serves as the beginning of The Rose Trilogy. The story explores the very heart of what I perceive to be the foundation of Amish beliefs: “Our heavenly Father is sovereign. That means His plans for us are far better than what we could ever begin to plan ourselves.” (p. 297)

Rose and her sister Hen (short for Hannah) are the central characters of this story, and both of them live on opposite ends of the Amish spectrum. Hen has chosen an Englisher for her husband, and Rose is dutifully taking her role in the extended family, caring for those whom she loves, and wondering when she will ever take her place as the wife of one of the Amish men of the community. Both women look at their faith as a foundational part of who they are, yet both of them question what their role is destined to be in the future.

Rose finds herself, eventually, courted by an Amish man, but her heart is drawn to a lifelong friendship with someone who refuses to join the faith. Hen, on the other hand, is being drawn back to her Amish roots despite the choices she made years ago to leave the faith. Both of these characters are almost too head-strong for their own good, and there is a high price to pay, indeed, for some of their decisions. The bottom line for them both is whether or not they will accept God’s sovereignty in their lives. For these two head-strong women, that isn’t as easy as it would seem.

I enjoyed the unfolding story of Rose and Hen and their families. Of the two, Hen definitely is the most stubborn, and she has really put the cart before the horse – as it were – when it comes to following her faith. She chooses a very difficult path for herself. Rose, on the other hand, has her heart torn between what she knows is right and the emotional pull of a wrong choice. Either way, the Amish faith is one that leaves little room for compromise, and these two women both find themselves at a crossroad. Whether they will choose wisely will be sorted out in the remaining two books of the series.

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Thorn, go HERE.