Amish fiction has become such a popular genre that it's becoming more difficult for authors to come up with clever plots for this simple society. The good news is that Suzanne Woods Fisher doesn't have that problem. The Waiting was one of the best Amish books I've read in a very long time, and my eyes were glued to every single page.
This was a tough book to read right from the very beginning because of the grief that Caleb and Jorie were experiencing. This opening was very similar to the first book in the series, The Choice, where the heroine of that story dealt with 3 deaths and a marriage in a very small span of time. By comparison in The Waiting, Caleb lost his wife and his brother, Ben, with his wife telling him on her death bed that she felt Jorie would be the perfect wife for him. Then there's Jorie, who has waited for Ben since he left their community to go to Vietnam. She has endured the talk of her possible spinster future, but her heart has never belonged to anyone else.
While I felt that the opening sequence of events was a little dramatic, I think that's what kept me furiously turning the pages. Another thing that I really liked was that this was a historical Amish story set during the Vietnam War. There wasn't much mention of the war since the Amish are Pacifists, but the war setting, along with the mention of some of the medical treatments that were present back then, really added a lot to the overall story.
Even though this book is the second book in the Lancaster County Secrets series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel since none of the characters from book one present themselves in this book. Suzanne has created a lovely series with these two books, and I'm anxious to see how she wraps things up with the final book coming out next year entitled The Search.
Not only was this my first acquaintance with Ms Fishers writing but also my first time reading Amish fiction. But after reading this book, its unlikely to be my last. Although the main storyline revolves around Jorie King, a young Amish maiden, waiting for her beloved Benjamin Zook to return home from the Vietnam War, the book is filled with characters that are in a wait of their own. Waiting to be free. Waiting to die. Waiting to love again. Waiting to be understood. Waiting to be accepted despite ones skin color. As anyone who has experienced the wait between ones dream and its manifestation knows things dont always go as planned. And, the Amish are no exception.
Readers are taken along alongside Jorie, Caleb, Ben, Matthew, Ephraim, and Maggie as they try to make sense of their changing world through the eyes of their faith. The Waiting drew me in from the very first page and as I turned the last page, I long to stay a little longer at Beacon Hollow. The Amish have their ow way of doing things but the book includes scenarios that most people from any walk of life could easily relate to like:
- A single father struggling to make a living and raise two children on his own, while battling grief.
- An African American facing prejudice and opposition in the 1960s.
- People of faith attempting to balance being in the world but not becoming a part of the world.
- A young man seeking to find his own identify and place in the world outside of the confines of the expectations of others.
- A family's denial of the reality of Alzheimers disease
Although The Waiting is the second book in the Lancaster County Secrets series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes by LitFuse.
I loved that the author chose to set this in the 1960s with the Vietnam War and civil rights background, not to mention, it was an era when the Amish were fighting to be allowed to maintain their own schools and defend their civil rights. The setting of the book in that era definitely enriched this book for me and lifted it out of the "just another Amish romance" genre. The previous book in the Lancaster County Secrets series left me kind of flat, but the author definitely redeemed herself with this worthy read!
A nice Amish read. Tragedy, love, faith, and how the Amish deal with the world around them. Very abrubt ending probable as a sequel is in the future.