Monday, March 7, 2011

The Courtship of Nellie Fisher Trilogy

The Parting, The Forbidden, The Longing
Beverly Lewis
345, 347, 347 pages respectively
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: The library and Books-A-Million
Average rating: ★★★1/2☆

I'm reviewing this trilogy all at once.  I read The Parting last fall and this past week found The Forbidden and The Longing in the last chance bins at Books-A-Million.  Score!  So I read the last two novels in the trilogy this week so I could review all three together.  I guess you could say Amish novels are a bit of a guilty pleasure to me...

The basic premise of the first two novels are that this little Amish community in the mid-1960s is torn apart by three different viewpoints.  There are those who wish to continue to follow the Old Order church as they have for generations, then there are those who have broken away.  Amongst this broken away group, there are those who simply want to read the bible and "be saved" and then there are those who wish to do that and integrate more modern technologies amongst themselves, including telephones and cars.  This is obviously causing much heated debate in the community.  Meanwhile, Nellie Mae Fisher's family has left the Old Order while she continues to attend Old Order worship services because she is courting a boy whose father will disown him and deny him his land inheritance.  Despite the fact that Nellie Mae has stayed with the Old Order, Caleb's father demands he stop courting Nellie Mae.  They must decide what to do.

In the third and final novel the whole thing comes to a conclusion.  It was repetitive and things didn't get really interesting until the last third or so of the book and then, in the epilogue, things wrapped up a little too neatly, it seemed.  Nellie Mae chose a husband and gave up her bake shop, preferring to bake for her husband only.  Why couldn't she have kept it?  People loved her baked good and it would have brought in a little extra money.

The thing that bothered me the most during this series was Caleb's inability to form his own opinions.  In the first two books he refused to consider any other point of view than the Old Order - his father's religion.  Then in the third book when his father turned to the New Order, Caleb in time also followed his father.  I can't help but wonder if Caleb ever had a mind of his own.

I've read a couple other novels by Beverly Lewis, though I can't recall the titles right now.  The strange thing is, of all the books I've read by Lewis, they're all have very similar plots and yet I keep picking them up!  I have another book by her that I also picked up with the other two that sound a little different, though.  When I get to it, I'll let you know!

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