I live in the community Olivia Newport writes about in this book. My paternal grandfather, Mose Beachy, was the bishop of the Old Order Amish church at the time of the 1927 split, and I read the book because I wanted to see how well Newport had researched the facts and how accurately she would describe my grandfather and the whole era and area. Newport did her research well when it comes to facts, beginning with the earlier 1895 split and the unrest that began long before the second split, which was primarily about shunning. She includes not only the exemplary behavior of the bishop, but the disruptive behavior of the Yoder ministers. I was surprised and a bit pleased that she used actual names for my grandfather and the two Yoder ministers, and a bit jarred by a number of the last names Newport uses for her totally fictional characters, good Amish names in other communities, but unknown in Somerset County. Newport also collapses a considerable amount of time at the end, and I would have liked a bit more continuity. Her characters were believable.
This historical fiction concerning the Amish is both enlightening and delightful. With realistic characters and romance, combined with facts of the struggles of change, this novel is sure to please lovers of Amish fiction.
Intelligent, interesting, fast moving, great characters...What more could I ask for in a story? This is a terrific book and I hated to come to the end! I fell in love with the people in this book. I can't wait for the next one in the series.