I read a lot of Amish fiction. One of my favorite authors of this genre is Shelley Shepard Gray. Recently she had a 3 book series out called “Families of Honor”. These books were unlike the usual Amish fiction I have read, yet they still retained the theme of love, family and faith. In them, we see that the Amish deal with many of the same social issues we deal with in the “English” world.
The first book in the series is “The Caregiver”. This book follows the recently widowed, Lucy, who is traveling by train to Jacob’s Crossing in order to take care of her cousin Mattie, who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. On the train she meets Caleb Miller and his little sister Lucy. Lucy’s late husband was an abusive spouse as an Amish woman, she could never divorce him. Part of her is glad he is dead, the other part is racked with guilt. Can Lucy come to terms with her feelings? Can she trust again, or will she always be afraid that every man is out to hurt her? We also meet Caleb’s Uncle John, who left the Amish community before his baptism. He moves back seeking a simpler life. A very compelling story.
In the second book of the series “The Protector”, we meet Ella, a rather plain young woman. Following her mother’s death, Ella had to auction off the family farm and home. Her father had died before that and she is unable to take care of the farm by herself. She moves into town and works at the town’s library (there are even mentions of childrens story times and summer reading program!). The town’s most eligible and handsome bachelor, Loyal Weaver, secretly buys the farm hoping one day Ella might live there again as his wife! Throw in an obsessive co-worker, Mattie’s battle with breast cancer and Uncle John’s confusion of going back to his faith and you have a page turner!
The final book in the series is “The Survivor”, which follows Mattie’s , who having successfully survived breast cancer, finds herself hoping to find someone to love her and marry her. When all the other Amish girls her age were out courting, she was in and out of the hospitals, going through chemo and just trying to make it day-to-day. Her best friend is Graham Weaver, who has been with her throughout her treatment. He is an amazing character, as is Mattie. Mattie is in love with him, but is he just her best friend and nothing more? Can he possibly turn out to be the one? But there is gossip being spread that he is the father of a young woman’s baby. Is it true? Find out! Uncle John’s story also continues as he falls in love with an Amish widow and we do peek in on the lives of Lucy and Ella.
All these books can be found at the Fountaindale Public Library District, along with several other of the author’s books. You will not be able to put them down! And keep a Kleenex nearby too! Good reading!