This debut novel is one of the best first novels I have ever read. Elizabeth Byler Younts weaves her historical romance with the rich flavor the Amish community. She reveals the Amish life without lecturing or overloading her work with research. She does it beautifully though the characters she creates and the story world she builds. As a reader, you know these people and understand why they are the way they are. Set in World War II, this romance places the heroine, Miriam Coblentz, in the throes of a difficult decision: to stay with her people or join with her betrothed, Henry Mast, who has made the decision to fight for his country--a choice that violates so many of the Amish beliefs. This is the tale of how the couple comes to this moment and the choices they must makes a result.
Miriam Coblentz can't seem to stop thinking about her intended Henry Mast. Henry has been drafted into the military and sent to a camp for conscientious objectors. The Amish have always been pacifist. When he returns home Miriam is shocked to find out he has decide to leave the camp and join the military and the war. He feels as if God has called him to fight in World War II. Miriam can not turn her back on her family and most importantly the her Amish beliefs. Will she turn her back on Henry the man she loves?
I have read many Amish books but this is the first where I get a better look at the Pacifist side during World War II. To me it is apparent men are bred to defend their families and country. Yet I understand the Amish's belief and the pacifist. Women want to nurture and prevent harm coming to anyone. But in times of war we have no choice but to defend. The author has done a wonderful job in depicting the Amish stand of remaining pacifist.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Howard Publishing/Simon & Schuster for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
In Promise to Return, author Elizabeth Byler Younts has crafted an unforgettable, soul-stirring tale of the consequences of sin, betrayal, and obedience in one Amish community during the turbulent World War II era.
Miriam and Henry are deeply in love and on the advent of their wedding Henry is drafted. Since the Amish are pacifists, Henry is sent to a Civilian Public Service camp, while Miriam patiently awaits the day he can come home and resume his life with her. But Henry commits the ultimate betrayal in Miriam's and the eyes of his Amish community when he decides to enlist. Hearing the plight and atrocities suffered by the Jews, Henry feels called by God to help fight for their cause. Will Henry's obedience cause him to be shunned by the Amish and drive Miriam to the arms of another?
This author is amazing and I can't wait to read the next book in this series! Ms. Younts was brought up in the Amish faith which lends so much authenticity to this novel. The characters are flawed and not sugar coated as in many Amish novels. Between the pages of this book lie sin, lusts, betrayal, lack of faith, and many other faults that define us as humans. I literally could not put this book down and read 75% of it in one sitting; it was just that good! Order your copy today!
Thank you to Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
I really enjoyed this book! I didn't want to stop reading. My heart ached with Miriam and I totally related to her struggle to want to please and obey her parents and yet still follow her heart. I don't need to be Amish to relate to the heart's longing to please our parents and their way of looking at the world. Miriam was so brave. Much braver than I would have been_waiting for letters for months without knowing if Henry was dead or alive_I would have gone crazy with worry. I worry when I don't get a text back in the same day! I think the author did a great job of exploring Miriam's world, carrying her story forward, and bringing her to a resolution. I look forward to reading more in this series!
Promise to Return is the debut novel of author Elizabeth Byler Younts, and my very first experience with this author as well. I went into this book with high hopes, having heard great things about her writing style and her technique in weaving together a very enticing and beautiful story. Now that I have read this book, I can officially say that I agree 100%! Promise to Return is a fresh new style for Amish fiction, with a look into the Amish lifestyle that is different from any other book I have read yet. Mrs. Younts brings such a delicate truth to this genre with twists and turns that definitely keep the reader on their toes.
Personally, my favorite part of this novel was Henry Mast. His character spoke to my heart in ways that will stay with me for a long time. His deep faith in God and hardcore belief in what he was doing was inspiring to me. Out of all of the characters in this book, and all the events written, Henry's part in it shone bright in comparison. Because of this remarkably written character, I will never forget this beautifully crafted story.
If you're looking for a fresh look at the Amish that holds nothing back, this is definitely the book for you. Elizabeth Byler Younts hit the nail on the head perfectly with this one, and I have very high hopes for her future in this business.