Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Promise to Return

by Elizabeth Byler Younts
Howard Books

It’s 1943, and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedding day when the unthinkable happens—Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp, his gaping absence turns Miriam’s life upside down. Little does she know it’s only the beginning... When Henry returns home, he brings news that shakes Miriam and their Amish community to the core. Henry believes God has called him to enlist in the army and fight for his country, leaving her to make an important decision: whether to choose loyalty to the peaceful life she’s always known or her love for Henry. Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fascinating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. While Henry is battling enemies across the ocean, Miriam struggles between her devotion to Henry and her love of the Amish way of life. One question is at the bottom of it all: will she follow the rules of her religion or the leading of her heart?

My Review:

While the Christian market is being flooded by the Amish genre in the last 16 years, this one is a chart topper. Filled with suspense and the authentic voice of someone who has grown up Amish, Younts write a not-to-be missed debut novel that gives us a glimpse of Amish culture during World War II. This is the kind of book that leaves you wanting more of this kind of setting, and the writing was stunning, remarkable and absolutely magnificent. 

My favorite element of this novel was the portrayal of the angst that Miriam felt as she tries to decide whether or not to wait for Henry. I have to admit, I love novels that paints the hero and heroine at odds because of elements outside of their control; their parents, their beliefs, their situations, etc. I am a sucker for any story that keeps the lead characters from each other not by their desire, but by things they cannot change. This is a well written work that deserves recognition for what it is: a fresh look into the history of World War II, through the eyes of the same Amish we have all learned so much about in recent years. 

This book was provided by Howard Books for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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