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The Parting: The Courtship of Nellie Fisher    by Beverly Lewis order for
by Beverly Lewis
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Leslie McKee

In this first in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series, life has been difficult for Nellie and her Amish family. Not only are they dealing with her sister Suzy's death, but also the rumors surrounding it. Rumors about Suzy's wild Rumschpringe, that led to her drowning while among the English, are rampant throughout the Amish community.

Nellie longs to ease the guilt she feels over Suzy's death. She also desires to start a new life with Caleb Yoder, whose father believes her family is evil. Nellie tries to convince Caleb that the rumors are false, but she questions her own beliefs after she uncovers Suzy's diary ... the very one Suzy asked her to burn. Nellie discovers that Suzy had many secrets.

Members of the Old Order community are harboring secrets of their own. They have been studying books of the Bible not approved by the Ordung and are finding the salvation that can only be found in Jesus Christ. This, combined with the enticement of tractors and electricity, has caused the Bishop to threaten the Bann on members who choose to continue with their worldly notions. Will they be forced to give up on the leadings of the Holy Spirit?

Based on true events, this first book in the series examines the connection between the Amish community, family and God. The story is largely a love story, but that occasionally is lost amongst the subplots. One annoying aspect is that though there are frequent references to the rumors surrounding Suzy and her death, the reader is well into the book before learning what happened. The characters are likeable and easy to relate to, even if the reader is not familiar with the Amish. The hardships and struggles dealt with by Nellie and her family are ones that most people encounter.

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