The Touch of Grace trilogy is about three faithful women who, when faced with three separate hardships, are torn between the men they love and staying true to themselves. The first book in this series, Annie's Truth, is different from a lot of Amish fiction in the topics it deals with. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to more of Beth Shriver's writing.
Annie's Truth is unique in that it delves a lot deeper into Amish beliefs and actions than a lot of what is written in the genre today and it really captured my attention from the beginning. Some of the characters act in seemingly foolish ways, so I wasn't sure I would like the book at first, as I wasn't caring for these people very much. But all that works into the book's message, and things change so that by the halfway point, I had a hard time putting it down.
In Annie's mind, she was "different in a community made for all to be the same." Her search for a way to be accepted and to discover why her birth mother abandoned her led Annie to realize that the Amish community she came from was home. But going back resulted in more problems than she could have ever imagined. "Annie's world had turned upside down, and she didn't know how to make it right again."
I liked the way Annie would quietly question some of the Amish beliefs. For instance, although she had feelings for her childhood friend, John, she resented having her spouse chosen for her. And while searching for her birth mother, she stayed with a family in Harrisonburg who had been banished from the Amish community because their son wanted to stay in school. "The life we live doesn't require you to have a higher education, but should one be excommunicated for wanting to expand their mind?" Annie asked.
Forgiveness is a key theme as Beth brings into her narrative the 2006 shootings in the Nickel Mines Amish community where five young girls were killed. We all know the Amish as a peaceful people, quick to forgive, but the depth of their faith was never more evident than when they forgave the shooter and wanted his family to stay in the community. We often see forgiveness as the end result of a long emotional process, but the Amish see it as a beginning, a starting point. But with the way Annie was treated upon her return, I couldn't help but wonder if sometimes the Amish are better at forgiving outsiders than one of their own.
Annie would sometimes assist the midwife in delivering babies, and one scene was especially touching when a baby with a physical handicap was born. "This was why Annie loved these people, this community. Unlike the outside world, they looked upon this as a blessing, an opportunity to minister to one of Gott's meek children. No hospitals or doctors could replace the insurance of brotherly love between them."
Annie's Truth is a story that can't help but make you think, cause you to reflect on forgiveness - and I believe it will be enjoyed even by those who don't read a lot of Amish fiction. I was delighted to discover Beth Shriver's writing and highly recommend Annie's Truth to those who enjoy inspirational fiction.
I recently started reading Beth Shriver and I've found another favorite author. This book will touch your heart, emotions and better have plenty of tissue available. I had a hard time putting the book down to even eat. Beth shows Annie's struggles to try to find out about herself but wanting her Amish family & friends to understand. She steps out in faith. Other reviewers told you the plot. Watch Annie's heart be torn, the heartache of uncertainty. I smiled, laughed and cried while reading this. In my opionion I give it 5 *****. Definitely a book and author that you don't want to miss.
I read the series backwards....lol.....I received a copy of Grace Given previously and read it and reviewed it. I loved both books. I rather enjoyed reading it this way as it answered many questions that I formed as I read book 2. I felt really badly for Annie though. It seemed that her family was very hard on her for wanting to find her birth mother after she discovered that she was found in a field by her Amish faither as a newborn. I would think that it would be natural for Annie to have questions about her birth and to want to find her own answers. I suppose it is the Amish way and that would be one of the things I have trouble over in the Amish faith. Her boyfriend, John, also seemed rather harsh with her as well. I don't want to spoil the book for readers by telling too much, so you will need to read both books and discover these treasures for yourself!
Annie Beiler is the daughter that most Amish girls strive to model after and mother's trusted with their children. She is the oldest daughter in her family and her parents know she is a dedicated, respectful and dependable daughter. It has also been taken for granted within the community that she will marry the young man next door whom she has been best friends with since childhood.
All of this fell into jeopardy when she finds evidence that she had not only been adopted by her Amish parents but that she had been abandoned as a newborn in a corn field at night and left to the bitter elements of nature and would have died if her adopted father had not heard her weak cry and rescued her from death.
She feels disconnected from her present life and is adamant she search for her birth mother and find out the circumstances of her being abandoned. Her parents and the Reverend of the community do not and will not approve for her to leave her community. They believe God expects her to accept the life God has blessed her with.
This is a heartbreaking story! Keep the tissue box handy.
The author did such a great job writing about such a sensitive subject. Just when you think you know what Julie should do the author has such a better scenario for each and every predicament. You've heard of Father Know Best. Well this was Author Know Best. That what makes me the review and her the author.
Julie's adopted parents should have held onto this verse. Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
I highly recommend this book.
I received a free copy of this book from Charisma for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
Annie's Truth is full of drama. The questions she asks upon finding out that she's adopted feel normal to me, although I can't truly know, and it makes sense to wonder about them, at least; however, her Amish elders feel differently and do not allow it. This causes big problems for Annie, and so much of the drama was difficult for me to relate to. I did find the entire issue quite interesting, and it was so well written that I flew through these issues, wanting to read and understand more.
Because the church elders do not allow questions of this type, this is a great book for those of us who want to know more about Amish ways. Most Englischers have a more self-centered world view than do the Amish, who seek to suppress all thoughts of self in the interest of better serving their community, and this book makes this belief quite evident.
With smooth-flowing chapters and dramatic scenes throughout, this is both an informative and fascinating read. If you enjoy reading Amish fiction, you won't want to miss Annie's Truth.
I received a free copy of Annie's Truth from Charisma House in exchange for an honest review.