Reading The Bargain, It feels as if Ive been transported to the 70s!
Since I was born in 1979, I didnt really have the chance to experience them. Thanks to movies and television, Ive had a glimpse but theres something different about reading a book written about the era. It gives you an immersion that movies simply can not accomplish.
And this book shows the Amish as I have never seen them as many readers of popular Amish fiction probably have not. Why because most Amish fiction is written about the plain people of today
Even the few historical books written about the plain people, up to now, have focused on the time they put down roots in this country or even when they were on their way here from across the ocean.
Stephanie Reed gives us a glimpse into an era of our country that marked great change for everyone from a perspective that has certainly not been covered before (to my knowledge anyway).
I applaud her skill its clear she did her research! I am in awe of her writing not only is an incredibly difficult subject to tackle, but shes done it from an angle that offers little or no precedence. And I am in love with her characters! Betsie and Sheila and Michael and Charley Oh if get started, Ill never stop! Theyre wonderful! Just read it!
And how exciting that the 2nd book is out as well! Im so thrilled I dont have to wait to read it.
Of course Ill have to wait for the third book so if you hear a wail of agony in a day or so thats just me Ive finished the second one and Im lamenting the long wait until The Bride book 3 in the Plain City Peace series coming winter 2016!
By the way... I did NOT receive this book free for an honest review - I bought it.
Stephanie Reed has begun a winning new series, Plain City Peace, with The Bargain. It is not the typical Amish novel, for sure! I was surprised with many things not previously read about - it was a very worthwhile read.
As the 70's brought many changes to the US, it also rocked some of the Amish world. A few were drafted and served in non-combat positions, such as Betsie Troyer's cousin. The bargain included that Betsie would learn to work in and care for her cousin's harness shop until he returned from his tour of duty. She was taught the trade by the English man whose family had originally served the Amish for many years through this shop. His son, Michael, a troubled young man struggling to find his place in the brave new world of 1970's America. His sister Sheila also struggled as a young adult trying to find her way as a teen after here mother left the family to "find herself".
Betsie always knew that she would return home - home where her parents had left to seek - well, that will be a pleasant surprise for you! And she was probably going to return to the comfortable friendship with Charlie, who always looked out for her, she believed.
Characters are fully-developed, likable people who were each trying to find their way in an era where values changed dramatically through the hippie culture, Woodstock ideals, various peace and civil rights movements, and murders on college campuses horrified the first generation that would have such things brought into their homes on TV's nightly news. I truly enjoyed Betsie, Michael, and Sheila. I am probably most like Betsie, for whom any kind of change is difficult at best and try to continue to live in a yesterday that doesn't accept today's changes, good or not-so-good.
I highly recommend this novel to "older" young adults and adults of any age who appreciate good Amish fiction, and fiction from the Viet Nam era in Midwest US. The author has provided an excellent, non-typical look at a changing Amish community that is engaging with very strong characterizations and plot twists that keep the pages turning.
This story is about broken families, hearts and lives that are going in different directions as one of the families is English and the other is an Amish family. The time frame is during the Vietnam War where words like PEACE were spoken repeatedly and clashes between law enforcement and people from the English occurred frequently. Betsie Troyer was brought up in an Amish home that now is falling apart as older siblings have married and moved away. The bigger problem in Betsies eyes is her parents leaving the Amish faith, moving to a new town and learning to live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, discarding anything resembling being identified as people from the Amish community. However, to Betsie and her youngest sister Sadie, nothing but heartache follows them each moment of everyday.
Betsie works to learn a job in the leather store until her cousin Nathan returns from his time in the service while during the week Betsie is allowed to live with the family. There she learns a trade she doesnt really embrace and sees firsthand how an English family is torn apart due to seeking satisfaction of self. When the mother leaves to fulfill her dreams, it rips apart the very heart of the family. Betsie feels compelled to stay if only for the benefit of the young daughter, Sadie, who is broken hearted. Matthew, her older brother, has some deep heart issues and while he tries to push away all attempts of friendship by Betsie, a letter comes in the mail for Matthew that further tears up the hearts of the father, Shelia and Betsie.
This is a very compelling story of various characters with broken hearts and lives, seeking to find peace in the midst of deep pain. Sadies character draws very close to Betsie and in time becomes a Christian, which bothers Betsie something fierce. Betsie has been raised to believe that one cannot know their eternal destination until after death. With all the turmoil going on in the small town and the lives of the two families, what comes to the forefront is where each character seeks to find solace.
This is a very interesting tale that continues in book two, The Bachelor, which came out this year. I will share with you my thoughts on that book as well. In the meantime, grab a copy and get lost in the pages of the book that to me was a very unique story I hadnt encountered before in this genre.
It's 1971, and Betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.
When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truthâ€”a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charley Yoder.
Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.
Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?
This book was an absolute disaster for the characters! Reed takes a train wreck of a bargain and makes it a heck of a good story. The best way to describe this story is That 70's Show meets the Amish. I felt so bad for Betsie throughout the story, especially with how heartbroken she was when her parents bailed on the only life she knew. And when it came down to either marry the man she was supposed to wed, or forever live a life she was never meant to have, she has no idea which one is the right choice. A well written novel that reads like nothing else out there in the genre, colorful, vibrant, and a dynamic piece of fiction.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.