“Even in the midst of great gales, they could know peace.”
I adored this book. It is so different from all the other Amish books I’ve read (which is like, two), and is a refreshing change from the shunnings or running around and “unsure-of-where-they-fit-it-but-always-choose-their-faith” type stories.
This book is set during the 1700’s, as Anna and her Amish community embark on a journey to the New World. This book is so unique from anything I’ve ever read. There are not many books about the travel from Europe to America, and this may be the only book to be set on the Amish journey. While this book wasn’t a “read-in-two-days” book for me, I did have a constant feeling of enjoyment while I read this book.
It’s very faith based but doesn’t feel preachy. All the characters didn’t feel preachy when they spoke of God; it felt very natural. Sometimes characters in Christian books sound really over the top when they talk about anything that has to do with God, the Bible, etc. But these characters “sounded” real, and it felt as natural as saying hello or goodbye.
I really loved the characters, especially Anna. She kept strong faith and showed great compassion toward everyone, not just those who “deserved” it. All the characters added something to the story. While not all had the honor of being the main character, they didn’t feel like fillers.
I don’t have anything I dislike about this book, but because this book does detail such a dangerous and rough crossing, there is some not so pretty stuff I want to leave you with real quick.
This section of the review contains minor spoilers.
One character dies from a blow to the head, is thrown into the sea but is seen again when his bottom half is sticking out the mouth of a shark caught by the crew. A young woman dies after childbirth, and we read a brief description of her dead body being attacked by sharks. There is mention of a slave ship and a nasty stench coming from it, and once again a brief undetailed description of how horrible the future slaves are treated aboard the boat. One character is inappropriate toward Anna on several occasions, and is then walloped on the head.. There are many mentions of people being seasick and passing away when water runs short.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in early America or the first settlers journey.
If you would like to learn more about the Amish and their life in 1500’s England to their crossing to America in the 1700’s, this link contains some excellent information.
If you would like to learn more about the first settlers in general, this timeline from the Historic Jamestowne site has a great brief overview of the settlers.