Jenny Springer is the local historian for the Amish community in Apple Creek, Ohio. As a child, Jenny was rescued from a terrible snowstorm, and when no trace of her parents could be found, the Springer family adopted her. Since then she has had a burning desire in her heart to find out who she really is.
When a drifter, John Hershberger, comes to town looking for his own roots, Jenny gets serious in her search for her long-lost parents. As she opens doors to her past, she finds the truly surprising answer to her deepest questions. And as John discovers the story of his own heritage, his growing love for Jenny causes him to reexamine his lifelong atheism. In doing so he discovers his need for a real home, a family, and a relationship with God.
Received in ebook format via http://www.netgalley.com.
The formatting of this book means, that when loaded into a Kobo at least, that the text is very small, painful to read, and almost impossible to increase to a size that is more comfortable. It is slightly easier to read using Kindle software on an ipad – slightly adjustable black text on a white background – but other formatting issues then become evident, showing spacing and general formatting issues that distract slightly from the text.
It’s at this point I must make a personal disclosure – this book was clearly marked as “Christian Fiction” and I kicked myself when I realised I’d been accepted to read and review it – as I’m not normally a fan of this kind of literature. I will do my best with the review however, since I committed to giving one.
All that aside, onto the book itself:
America, 1965. WWII has been over for 20 years, but still fresh in many people’s minds. The Vietnam war is kicking off in Asia, and the hippies and beatnicks are hanging out in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, in Wooster, Ohio, Jenny is now 20 years old, and the adopted daughter of the Springers, who are Amish. She is researching the history of the Amish, trying to get the genealogy paths for her adopted family. Jenny was rescued from a car crash whilst still a small child so is yearning to find out more about her biological family – I believe the rescue and adoption is a tale told in the previous book in the series.
The Springers are a loving couple, and Jershua (the mother) plays a definite passive role, always deferring to her husband, even when she doesnt want to, in order to be the good wife. I dont know whether this is purely a reflection of the husband and wife relationship within the Amish community, or whether this is Grant’s interpretation of what “good” relationships in all Christian households as dictated by the Bible. As the book goes on, Jershua does provide a certain quiet strength to her husband, even when he leaves her to go looking for Jenny.
Johnny begins the book coming out of a drug binge, and is the driver as someone else gets shot during a drug bust that goes wrong. He flees San Francisco and ends up in Wooster, Ohio where he literally runs into Jenny crossing the street.
They meet several times where Jenny manages to fill in a lot of Johnny’s family past and helps Johnny realise why he feels so comfortable with the Amish community. He has also come to realise there is something missing in his life. When Jenny asks him to help her in her search for her birth mother when her father doesnt help, then he feels he cant refuse. However, the drug gang catches up with them and take Jenny hostage. The race is on then to find and rescue Jenny.
This *is* a Christian novel and there is much time with people praying and talking to/with their Christian God. Fans of this type of literature (and some who might be wavering and need to hear this message) will find this book reassuring, and some may well take a message away from it. There is a definite Christian message, even more than one, within this book, so this is not a book for those who do not like this type of evangalising
Jershua, as a master quilter in the Amish tradition, spends much of the book working on a special quilt as a meditation/prayer exercise whilst Jenny is missing and she learns much whilst she was repairing it. I found most of these pieces to be pleasing and something I could relate to (as someone with an interest in quilting). I thought it was a well thought out demonstration of someone having a conversation with their God and coming to terms with what is best and what needs to be done. It was a good, even lovely example, of apersonal relationship with a person’s Higher Being, and where God can be found in everything you do, and prayer doesnt always mean being on your knees in church on a Sunday.
I had gone into reading this book in the hope that it would have proved me wrong about Christian Fiction – and had Craig continued writing in the way he wrote most of the Quilt pieces, then I would have willingly have said it had. Unfortunately, by about 2/3rds of the way through (when Jenny starts looking for her birth parents in earnest) I felt my head was being struck regularly with a heavy blunt item – it was painful, wasnt pretty, and I just wanted it to stop.
So no, in the end I didn’t enjoy this book, and the fault is as much mine as anything. I would recommend this book only to people who are already fans of Christian Fiction, or are in need of help discovering/reaffirming their faith.