Recently I was asked to be an early reader for this book, receiving an advanced copy from Kensingington books in a GoodReads give-away, but these opinions are all my own. On GoodReads, I did a regular book review, but if you’re a regular reader, you know I usually tell a personal story here!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which received a starred review from Library Journal, about a young couple who just might have a second chance at love. It appeared to be very well-researched (although I am not an authority on Amish culture) and explained the Amish Community’s cultural differences from the “Englisher” world very well, without speaking down to the reader. I enjoyed the comparisons of faith and worship between the two worlds, and also the differences in the way two small boys were being brought up, one inside the community, the other out in the “Englisher” world. The Bishop’s daughter, Sadie is a very good, very loving mother, whose discipline reflects the original “guidance” meaning of the word. She gives little Samuel jobs to do that are developmentally appropriate, such as handing her the clothespins as she hangs out laundry or sweeping with a tiny broom, just as I did with my own children. Learning responsibility is good for children!
Kindness to others seems to be an important sub-theme throughout the book, although following the rules is spoken of more often. Of course, the threat of “shunning” hangs over any who vary from the norm. The characters were well-developed, both Sadie and Elijah the prodigal son figure, who returned from the “Englisher” world, work through complex problems, Elijah reminding Sadie, “if she didn’t take charge of her own life, somebody else would do it for her.”
I don’t want to give too much of the story line away, but at one point, Elijah says of Amish and the Englishers/Mennonites, “they were all just doing their best.” It seems that that’s what all of us do, regardless of religion (or lack of it), nationality, political party or region. I wish we could be kinder to each other and get along.
How Good And Pleasant it is to dwell together in Unity. Psalms 133:1
I look forward to other books in this series: I want to know what happens to Sadie’s brother Absolom, still away from the community, and to her sister Rosamunda who is very young and a bit wilder than she should be… Will the small boys become friends? My father-in-law used to say he was sad to see a good book end, but with this series, I can look forward to future books! I hope you enjoy reading The Bishop’s Daughter as much as I did!