I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould
Series: The Sisters of Lancaster County #1
Published by Baker Publishing Group on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Amish & Mennonite, Christian, Fiction, General, Romance
Source: Bethany House
Gould Offers a New Amish Series in Idyllic Lancaster CountyAt age twenty, Jessica Bachman left her two beloved sisters and her Amish community after clashing with the new bishop about her role in the family and the future of their farm. She tried to convince Silas Kemp, who'd been courting her for two years, to join her, but when he said no, she fled anyway.
Three years later, she returns home for the first time since leaving Lancaster to attend her father's funeral. Her arrival back revives all sorts of emotions--yearnings and sorrows alike. Jessica knows things will never return to how they were. But in seeing Silas again, she can't help but wonder what might have been.
Struggling to decide where her next step should take her, she learns the story of a Revolutionary War-era ancestor that echoes her own choices. Will Jessica leave her family and community forever, or is there peace and healing and love yet to come?
I’ve not read this author before but something about the synopsis of this novel reached out to me in my monthly Bethany House email. I had to read it. And that it’s first in a series is just a bonus. Sometimes you want to start at the beginning. Other times, not so much but this was one of those sometimes. It has sat patiently in the book stack waiting for it’s turn. I have to say, I’m glad I read it and wish I’d read it sooner, but then of course it would have been over sooner. I read it right on time, in bed, sick, on my day off work.
Jessica Bachmann made a hard choice three years ago. Already baptized into her faith she chose to leave. Her older brother Arden, her bishop, even her Mamm had turned a blind eye to her needs. There wasn’t a lot of understanding or even honesty. She left. She left her family, she left her boyfriend Silas, she left the hurts. She succeeded in the English world. Found a job, an apartment and got her GED. Her dat came to visit her, apparently never telling those back home. She was shunned. She met Tom and started dating him, even talked about the idea of marriage in the future and he met her dat. But then dat passed away. And she went home. Back to the lack of support, back to the lies and back to the family that didn’t want her anymore. She was shunned. Well, her aunt Suz wanted her and her sister Leisel, who originally called her. And her other older brother, Amos (Arden’s twin), who had left when Jessica was a child. There was a lot of heartache during the visit home, revisiting old wounds that weren’t as healed as anticipated. There were new wounds. And a little bit of healing.
As I was reading this book I kept wondering what would happen if they didn’t go back. I don’t mean just Jessica but anyone who had left. We always read about leaving and/or coming home. I’ve not read anything where they choose not to return. What if Jessica went home and stayed home, her new home, her English home? I mean she did. For a minute. What if she stayed shunned, stayed English, and went about her life? What would that look like? I get that this is a series about sisters so I know where the future books are going to lean. Amos went home to stay, he did not come back. He’s been gone longer and has more life in the English world. But, what if? That’s the thoughts I had reading this book. I know, not about the book at all. Let’s talk about the book.
The characters were so well developed that even the historical story-line blended in so well. Even the characters you needed to despise (Arden comes to mind) had a solid backstory that created who they were. Ruby had a choice to make, at a time when women had even less choices than they do now. Two lives, two men, her own identity. Jessica faced similar choices. Though her dat had allowed for her to have more options than a woman of their faith. Two lives, two men, her own identity. They may have chosen differently but their stories were so similar. Generations apart, different choices, different answers, the same outcome. Finding yourself in the middle. Standing for what you know is right for yourself. That’s ultimately the truth of ‘A Plain Leaving’.