Friday, 4 February 2011

The Prodigal - Beverly Lewis

Book 4 in the bestselling Abram's Daughters series. The compelling and continuing chronicle of Abram Ebersol’s family, beginning in the mid-1940s, moves forward in time and scope to the late 50s. The devout Ebersols have faced sometimes-painful divisions and separations--if not geographical, those of the heart. Leah, possibly most of all, has borne losses and revelations that would have undone another whose faith was not firmly established in the God her beloved mother knew so fervently. Leah also has endured the ultimate test of her fortitude, the unexpected return of her shunned sister, Sadie, and the renewed sense of betrayal that arrives home with her. But since the close of The Sacrifice, Leah has occupied her heart and hands with the overseeing of the Ebersol Cottage and the raising of her motherless younger siblings. This includes vivacious Lydiann, who has arrived at the traditional rumschpringe, the time for testing her wings and her willingness to commit to the Old Ways. Will she take the sorrowful path of her older sister Sadie, or will Mamma Leah’s good judgment guide Lydiann safely to her baptismal covenant?

It's been several months since I read #3 in the Abram's Daughters series and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, despite my changing reading tastes, I still adore these books. While it can be argued that Beverly Lewis's novels always feature a lot of heartache and sadness, there's something in her style of writing that is authentically Amish and truly brings her characters to life. It's not just the way that they speak, but the entire narrative that features typical Plain words and phrases, really making you feel as if you're in the heart of Lancaster County. Beverly Lewis's characters might not have happy, fuzzy lives like the protagonists in other Amish novels, but I do love the way that she writes.

I don't want to spoil this book for anyone who hasn't read this far into the series, but I was pleased that some plot points were starting to be wrapped up. Naturally, since #5 is titled The Revelation, all of the mysteries of the Ebersol family are soon to be explained. I was blown away by one discovery, which I was sure I'd already figured out, but alas I'd followed a red herring! The actual outcome of the situation made everything much more intriguing. There were a few sad points in this book, but not as many as in previous installments in the series, and it finally ended on a positive note. I'm hoping that there will be happy ending for all of the characters, especially Leah and Sadie who have suffered so much heartache.

I was also intrigued by the members of the Ebersol family coming closer in their relationships with God through studying the Bible. While the Amish community featured in this series are God-fearing people, there is little emphasis on personal prayer and studying scripture, and slowly the characters have been discovering that there is more to God than their Bishop preaches about on Sundays. I'm wondering how this plot point will end as I've got the impression that having such a close relationship with God is frowned upon in the community. Of course, I'm sure that other Amish settlements have different beliefs regarding the Bible and prayer, but I've found it interesting reading about what must be representative of others. There were also a few instances where family members prayed for healing which I enjoyed, particularly as I've met Christians who don't believe that healing through the power of God is possible. It was uplifting to read about Amish people having faith in this.

There's not much more that I can say without giving away too many details, but I was very satisfied with the fourth book in the Abram's Daughters series and can't wait to read the final installment! There are still several issues to be resolved and I've no idea what will happen when they come out into the open. Thankfully I have #5 at my parents' house so will get to read it sometime this month. Unlike some other Amish series, this isn't one that you can read out of order or with huge gaps between the books. There's always so much going on in a Beverly Lewis novel and you'll definitely need to find out what happens next. While many new authors of Amish fiction have emerged over the last few years, Beverly Lewis still stands out as one of the best authors in this genre. 10/10


  1. Sounds good then if you've given it 10/10 !!
    I've just finished reading 'October Song' by B. Lewis this afternoon, so I might start on this series next!!

  2. I think that out of all of the series I've read by Beverly Lewis, this is definitely my favourite, hence the 10/10.

    And you'll definitely want to read these books one after the other! Cliffhangers everywhere, as usual with her books :)