The Parting

the parting
by Beverly Lewis

Imagine. Your house has never had electricity. Your neighbour’s home has not either. You do not own or drive a car, but you make regular use of a horse drawn buggy or wagon. You do not telephone or email your friends, but you are proficient with hand writing letters with pen and paper. Can you imagine it? - Living in a place that seems to have gotten stuck in time?
You may think to yourself that such a lifestyle would be hard to live for even just one day – or a novelty at best. But, as many others have done before her, the fictional seventeen year-old Nellie-Mae Fisher does live in such a culture. Her story is told in The Parting, the first book in a new series entitled: The Courtship of Nellie Fisher.

The Parting was written by Beverly Lewis. Her father was a pastor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (the heart of the Pennsylvanian Dutch country) were she was born and raised. Inspired by her mother’s family heritage, Beverley has written many novels that focus on the Anabaptist heritage and the Old Order Amish. The Parting is no exception.

Nearly one hundred days after the unfortunate death of her younger sister, Suzy, does this powerfully gripping story begin. It is a great story; a tale alive with mystery, suspense and romance. Set in the small Amish community of Honeybrook, you share the life of Nellie, who lives with her Father and Mother (or with Dat & Mamma as Nellie calls them), and her two older sisters, Rhoda and Nan.

Are the stories told in the village about the death of Suzy real accounts of fact or mere rumours? What is going to happen with the farmers who are pushing for provision of tractors? What about those who are finding new beliefs that come directly from Scripture passages unauthorised by the bishop? And what about those who refuse to live by anything but the Old Order?

Such are the questions that run through Nellie’s mind while she tends her small and modest Simple Sweets shop. But what worries her most is can any of these issues hinder or prevent a relationship with the handsome young man who caught her eye and smiled at her. What is stopping Caleb Yoder from talking to her? Is it because of something that Suzy had done? Perhaps a browse through Suzy’s diary, which Nellie had buried quietly in the woods, would make things a little clearer. Or should she let her sister’s actions and secrets remain hidden forever?

While adults – both younger and older – can submerse themselves into a seemingly uncomfortable culture of the Old Order Amish and their beliefs, we can note that a schism in the Amish Church really did happen in 1966.

Many members discovered that we are truly saved by God’s grace and not by the rules as outlined by the Old Older Ordnung. Although some of the traditions of the Old Order Amish may be incorrect, some of their principles are correct. Think about it. In a day and age where nearly everything needs electricity to operate, should we not take the time to sit back and think how blessed we are to live in such a prosperous age and be truly thankful to God for what He has given us?

Would you like to discover the mysterious secrets of Suzy or witness the love of Caleb Yoder and Nellie-Mae Fisher? Then read the story of Nellie-Mae in The Parting.

Review by E. Visser