"Annie Zook--the preacher's eldest daughter--is expected to join the Amish church, but at 20 she is 'still deciding.' Because of the strict rules that guide the Plain community, she must continually squelch her artistic passion, although it has become her solace"--Provided by publisher.
Style Characterisics: Pacing, clarity, structure, narrative devices, etc.
Lewis does a wonderful job of creating realistic characters and drawing the reader into an empathy with their dilemmas. The contrast of Louisa's rich worldy background with Annie's created some good scenes, like when Louisa joins Annie at an Amish singing where couples usually pair up for courting. Subplots with an abused wife and a possible romance add even more tension to keep the reader turning the pages.
How Good is it?
From the book jacket: For Annie Zook, the only daughter of an Old order Amish preacher, the “Plain and simple life” is anything but plain and simple. She juggles conflicting desires and closely guarded secrets – a “fancy” friend, a secret room, and an
I think Lewis’s ambitions got away from her. There is just too much going on in this novel and none of if it satisfactorily explored. There’s that mysterious disappearance from the past, which is worthy of a novel all its own. Those events haunt not only Annie, but Zeke as well. Then there’s Zeke and Esther’s marriage difficulties, which would certainly make an interesting story. And the central story of the preacher’s daughter, Annie, who is pulled to expressing herself in painting, though it is forbidden, and who is encouraged by her English friend, Louisa (who is running for an all-but-arranged marriage).
I think Lewis does have a knack for exploring the Amish and Mennonite cultures, and contrasting their perspectives against those of modern-day America. I’m glad she gives voice to people who struggle with the basic tenets of faith and a way of life that may not completely suit them. This is the first in a series (“Annie’s People”) and I may read another.
I didn’t realize until I started the CD that it was an abridged version. Aimee Lily seems to do a good job, but I abandoned the audio for the text version so I could fill in the blanks left by the abridged audio.