©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Antagonizing Antagonists

Jerry Eicher writes Amish fiction with a deft hand. His characters are believable and most of them are lovable. His portrayal of the Amish Ordnung and its spirit is almost with an insider's knowledge. His newest offering shows his remarkable ability to describe the winsomeness of the Amish culture, as well as the misuses of the Amish life-rules.

So the protagonist is Miriam, a sweet girl who teaches the Amish scholars in Clarita, OK. Her mother writes that a surprise is coming her way and she is surprised when it shows up in the form of Mose Stoll, a minister from Wayne County, Ohio.

One of the antagonists is Mose Stoll, a rather rigid minister who lives by the letter of the rules and ignores the spirit of them. He feels that his life should be above all the other Amish in righteousness.

The other antagonist is Tyler, a journalist who is sent to do a human-interest piece on how the Amish recovered from the tornado that swept through their community a couple of years before. While he is there, he uncovers a bit of fraud in the handling of the relief fund that seeps back to the Senator from the state. Uncovering the the fraud endangers the community and creates problems for Miriam and her family as well as for the Deacon.

When Mose meets Miriam, it is with matrimony in mind. He is a minister and needs a frau for his home, especially since his district is choosing a new Bishop. Mose almost thinks he will be chosen Bishop and wants to make a good impression on his district more than one on his future wife. He begins by assuming Miriam will marry him, he sets the date, the length of her skirts, the color of her stockings, and her allowable activities. I am sure that in any culture, there will be those who abuse the power they have and try to rule with an iron fist, but Mose was NOT a likable character.

Tyler is almost in the picture at the same time Mose is. He sees in Miriam a sweet freshness he has never before encountered in his jaded, worldly life. The problem is that Miriam sees in Tyler the newness that her life needs, except that he is English and she will not leave the community to join up with Tyler. When a misunderstanding between Tyler and one of his journalist friends escalates out of control, Miriam is caught in the middle of a scandal she wanted no part of. It brings her untold grief and depresses her beyond belief.

The Amish are above all an hospitable group, always something to eat or drink in an Amish home, always something to offer the visitor--whether pie, cookies, or cake--and it's always good.

This is a five star, two thumbs up book with a cup of coffee and a piece of pie to go with it.

My thanks to Harvest House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book. Once you pick it up, you will not be able to put it down.

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