Years ago, I read my first Amish fiction: a series by Beverly Lewis. I think I may even have read two of her first Amish series. They were sweet, as you’d expect from Amish novels. Yet they also had some great story lines that kept me eagerly picking up the books until I reached the end. So, I was happy to review Lewis’ latest book, The Proving (thanks, Bethany House, for a review copy).
The Proving by Beverly Lewis
Mandy is working in a floral shop in Kansas — well, she is until she loses her job. About this time, she learns that her mom has suddenly died. So Mandy heads back home to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We learn that Mandy was Amish until recently. Her mom, somewhat inexplicably, leaves the family Bed & Breakfast to Mandy, rather than to any of her siblings, who all still are Amish and all still live in the area. Mandy takes over running the B&B despite having no qualifications to do so, and she quickly fires her twin sister Arie. We learn that the probable cause of Mandy’s moving away is that Arie has married Mandy’s teenage crush, Josiah.
Another story line involves Trina, and this one seemed a little off to me. Trina is working as a home healthcare aid to an older woman who goes into the hospital and doesn’t need Trina anymore. Trina then signs up for a two-week “mystery trip.” It ends up — surprise, surprise — that she’s sent to the Amish B&B. Trina is quite miffed at this, and suddenly the sweet caretaker to the elderly lady becomes quite opinionated and harsh. I found myself wondering how a 25-year-old working in home healthcare could up and afford a 2-week trip, although a friend comments on Trina’s skills with money and I suppose this is supposed to explain it. Trina says “Who’da thunk it?” and other things I’ve never heard a young woman her age say.
Anyway, the whole story plays out and ends up in a way that I found pretty cliche and predictable. People are ferhooddled. Everyone says denki to each other frequently. The main characters both end up finding love. It’s all very sweet and low-key and happily-ever-after, which is probably what people read Amish fiction for.
I feel like Lewis’s current books aren’t nearly as compelling as the earlier ones (I felt similarly about another one I read a couple of years back). I totally understand why she keeps writing them, though, given their wild popularity. Have you read anything by Beverly Lewis? What were your thoughts?