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
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