This is my first book to read from this author and I enjoyed it very much. I did enjoy the book, at first I kept thinking this is like another author's story that I recently read, but as I read on, I saw that Elizabeth had a totally different story. I loved Henry, and wanted to smack Eli. He was not a good friend to Henry, nor Miriam. I enjoyed the realistic view we had of an Amish family, with Elizabeth's family being Amish, she was able to give us a great view of that. My favorite side story in this book, was Kathryn. It really spoke to me that while she was banned, her mother still kept in touch with her. Overall I loved the book, and enjoyed it very much. Most definitely worthy of a five star review!
This book was provided by Howard Books for my honest review. No payment was received for this review.
When World War II breaks out, Miriam Coblentz's peaceful Amish world is turned upside down...
It's 1943, and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedÂ¬ding day when the unthinkable happensâ€”Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp, his gaping absence turns Miriam's life upside down. Little does she know it's only the beginning...
When Henry returns home, he brings news that shakes Miriam and their Amish community to the core. Henry believes God has called him to enlist in the army and fight for his country, leaving her to make an imporÂ¬tant decision: whether to choose loyalty to the peaceful life she's always known or her love for Henry.
Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fasciÂ¬nating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. While Henry is battling enemies across the ocean, Miriam struggles between her devotion to Henry and her love of the Amish way of life. One question is at the bottom of it all: will she follow the rules of her religion or the leading of her heart?
PROMISE TO RETURN is Ms. Younts debut fiction novelâ€”and the first book in her The Promise of Sunrise series. I fell in love with Henry - such a wonderful young man who was willing to be led by God despite the rules of the church - and Miriam who is afraid to do anything but toe-the-line. I wanted her to break free a few times and do what Henry wished for her to do. And I got upset at her and Henry's best friend several times.
Fans of Amish fiction will devour Ms. Younts' PROMISE TO RETURN. Having Amish family, Ms. Younts writes things that the average Amish writer wouldn't think to include. And the threat of WWII and the quiet lives of the Amishâ€”it is fascinating to read how they might interact. I knew Amish served as conscientious objectors or were drafted, but it is totally believable that one might've enlisted on his own. Discussion questions and an interview with Ms. Younts are included at the end of the book.
On the day that Miriam Coblentz and Henry Matz are meeting with the bishops to discuss their upcoming wedding plans, Henry receives his draft notice. They had almost made it, but now the war will be what keeps them apart for now. Since Henry is Amish and killing others goes against his religious beliefs in the Ten Commandments, he is assigned tasks as a conscientious objector in the Civillian Public Service camp, digging trenches and other tasks. However it isn't without risks.
Will Miriam be able to find the same man after Henry serves his time during World War II, or will the horrors he witnesses take a toll on the man he used to be? How will the men that Henry deals with, the English, see him as one who refuses to fight? Will they have any respect for a man who refuses to defend his own country?
In the novel, Promise to Return by author Elizabeth Byler Younts, this novel picks at a subject most don't come to think about, how the Amish dealt with World War II. I think Elizabeth utilizes all her knowledge and experience both being raised Amish and having a husband who serves in the armed service to blend together a wonderful and compelling story of how much we are willing to risk to serve not only others but our country as well.
Miriam is feeling overwhelmed because of what she has been brought up to believe as well as what the Amish community has been saying not only about Henry but about what will come of their wedding when Henry returns. She takes to heart what people are saying not only to her but about Henry and at times is at odds trying to defend their beliefs. She worries that she might not ever see her dreams about being married and raising a family come to pass especially when Henry returns on a short leave at Christmas and tells her about the discrimination facing the Amish men by the English and their beliefs in not wanting to fight when they are so desperately needed. Henry surprises Miriam when he tells her that he has decided to enlist because it is something he believes God is calling him to do. But is it really?
Now Henry will face shunning by the Amish community when he returns because he has taken it upon himself to enter the war efforts and it is simply more than Miriam can take. Meanwhile there is a man who has an interest in her, Eli and now with Henry out of the picture, will he be able to persuade Miriam that her best interests lie in marrying him instead? You'll have to pick up this novel and find out.
I received Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster Publishers for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Being a huge fan of World War II fiction as well as Amish Romance, I was thrilled to be able to read this one. I never really considered how the Amish had to deal with the war effort until picking this one up and really loved the conflict for Henry. Trying to decide what is the right thing to do without all the added peer pressure not only from the American soldiers but also from his Amish community. Definitely a hard place to be and trying to convince Miriam that he still plans on marrying her when he returns if she will wait for him. Definitely a task worthy of faith in God and one that takes the reader on an unforgettable journey! I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars! There is a great reading guide that is perfect for book clubs as well as a letter to readers from the author explaining her idea in writing this book being a former Amish member and what people had to deal with regarding entering the war as Amish residents.
I just finished it ten minutes ago and I have been telling everyone in earshot for the last hours: This is an out-of-the-ballpark Amish novel.
In fact, for those of us who are wary of Amish "bonnet" novels, let me put it this way:
Promise to Return is a grand story.
Promise to Return is a complex love story. I found it extremely believable in its hopes and confusions. It was agonizing at times, as Miriam tried to find a steady guide in this crazy world to navigate the paths laid out before her. More than once, I feared that the craziness would cause a heart to break beyond repair. This is one of the few books I have read where the relationship triangle was spot-on and added depth instead of taking it away. There were times when I was unsure, like Miriam herself, of who I wanted her to love... although not *too* unsure, because Henry is a fine character and a very good man.
May I repeat: This romance was well done.
Promise to Return is a war story. That is why I really wanted this book, because it's about World War Two soldiers. The author, Elizabeth Byler Younts, was raised Amish as a child and is now a home-schooling Mom and the wife of an Air Force Officer. The authenticity of this book that I could feel bone-deep as I read, that comes from her life experience. This is why her story shines when she writes about soldiers and the people who love them, and why she was able to bring Miriam's inner world to life. No matter how the times and places changes from then to know, the heart of the matter doesn't.
There are some books that are okay to stay in for a vacation, other that I've wanted to live in them. Seeds of Evidence, The Ollie Chandler Series, Burning Sky, Small Town Girl...I can think of a few books I would live inside. Right now, this is one of them.
Promise to Return is a book full of characters I would love to meet. Miriam herself, who's power to make decisions seems frail at times, and I'd cheer for her and then say "I'd have been torn the same way she was." Henry, who is a giver. He gives grace and forgiveness and care. And then Eli who seems to be a taker, used to taking whatever he wants. And Mrs. Poole, a non-Amish woman whose Christianity is a beautiful thing. And a whole bunch of other folks I can't name by name because they're part of the plot.
I'm afraid of saying too much more. Just go read the book.
Thank you Howard Books for sending me my copy to review!!!
Miriam Coblentz is a young Amish woman who wants nothing more than to be obedient to her church, get married to the love of her life, Henry Mast, and to become a mother. However, shortly before their marriage, Henry is drafted and everything becomes complicated.
At first Henry is serving as a conscientious objector at a Civilian Public Service camp, but during this time there he learns how bad the war in Europe really is and he feels God's call to enlist. Before his training starts, he comes home on leave and tells his family and Miriam that he's going to fight in the war. His family is hurt and doesn't want him to stay under their roof anymore. Miriam doesn't understand why Henry made this decision. His attitude towards God seems to be changing as wellâ€”he so easily talks about praying to God and hearing His voice.
Miriam is so confusedâ€”is she going to wait for Henry's return? And when he comes back, will he confess to the church he was wrong? He seems to be so sure he was right to enlist and go to war.
Her childhood friend, Eli, is trying to win her hand while Henry is away. Although Miriam likes him, she doesn't love him, but he can offer her the life she has always wanted. Is she going to wait for Henry, or does she give in to her longing to get married in the church; to become a wife and mother, like she has always dreamed?
Against her parents' wishes, Miriam frequently writes to Henry and she anticipates his return letters, but then months go by without a word from him_ Is he still alive? Then one day Henry's mother and sister visit with news from Europe_
One of the best books I have read this year! This author knows how to keep the suspense high and keep the reader guessing. Miriam's struggle was well done and I really felt for her. I have shed several tears while reading this fantastic book, so I advise keeping the tissues handy. I'm going to keep my eye on this author and I'm surely going to read the next book in this series.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.*