The book is about a struggling settlement in Colorado. Amish families have come there in hopes of a good life. But the harsh winter, howling winds and lack of rain has discouraged many families. Abbie and her family have strong beliefs and keep praying for a minister. Abbie knows with a minister among the group, the community will thrive.
Hope starts to vanish as the long drought devours farmland and hopes of a wealthy and prosperous community diminish. It seems that Abbie is the only one determined that God will provide. She has hopes of marrying Willem but soon discovers something that will pull them apart. Her strong Amish beliefs will be tested when a man joins the settlement. He is a Mennonite pastor who will change the settlement and bring division.
Abbie's father is not persuaded to follow the Mennonite ways and is fiercely against his family partaking in their beliefs. Abbie has her hands full helping her mom on the farm, while helping her best friend Ruthanna care for her sick husband. Ruthanna is pregnant and is unable to do much to keep the farm running. Abbie seeks out help for her friend. She knows that she can count on Willem and her friend Rudy to lend a hand but she is surprised by who steps up to help .
The story is rich in Amish culture and is beautifully written with tenderness and hope in God. Abbie is a strong determined young woman who will fight for what she believes the Lord has called the settlement to become. There are struggles, loss, disappointment, forgiveness , and a hope of a new beginning in this masterfully written story . I loved the characters and how the author stayed true to the culture . She has given us a story of depth and courage for those who stand on convictions. This is the first book in the series "Amish Turns of Time." I will eagerly be waiting for the next book in this series.
This book is about a young Amish lady that has a lot of bad circumstances overtake her. A lot of family and friends pull up stakes and leave. Abbie doesn't want to.
There are a few surprising twists and turns in the story.
It was a good book, but not great. I do like that the setting was in 1914, so not in modern day times, but not too far back. It was also nice to read about an area I have been. The book was a bit tedious at times, but overall a nice read.
I have read a couple of Olivia Newports books before and probably will read more.
All of Olivia Newport's books have a strong historical theme, and this volume is no exception. Set in 1914, we meet a dozen Old Order Amish households trying to establish a small settlement in Colorado. They battle discouragement as they face drought and disease and poverty without the comfort of "church" - why will no bishop stay and minister to them? It turns out this community of plain believers isn't so homogenous as they'd like to think. Slowly, each of the main characters is defined by what he or she loves most: family, land, church, prosperity, even God Himself. I enjoyed how Newport reveals the hearts of these folks as they undergo trials and make difficult choices. Each person is down-to-earth and easy to identify with - I found myself really caring about what happened to them. I look forward to the next book in this series, and I hope it follows the lives of Abbie, Willem, Jake and Rudy. I also hope the drought is over - the setting was so realistic I felt thirsty and anxious as if in a drought myself!
I dont normally read Amish fiction, but the title, Wonderful Lonesome, caught my attention, and the setting and historical nature of this book drew me in. In 1914, Abigail Weaver and her family struggle in an Amish settlement on the Colorado plain that faces numerous challenges. That was all it took for me to want to read this novel.
One thing that sets this novel apart from other Amish fiction I have read is its historical settingit was unique for me as many of the other Amish novels seem to rely heavily on the clash between modern society and the Amish shunning of these ways. In this story, the Amish are not much different from those they live near: everyone rides horses or in buggies and wagons, there is no electricity, and life is just plain hard in the harsh climate of eastern Colorado.
A lot of the tension instead comes from the lack of a church service. The settlement is too small and distant to be attractive to an established minister or bishop, and the visiting ones have stopped coming months ago for some mysterious reason. Some of the families consider going to a new Mennonite congregation to worship, but there is a deep divide within the community as to whether any denomination outside of the Amish tradition can lead to salvation or if those who worship in another way are risking their souls.
A beautiful thread running throughout this story is the quilt Abigail makes as a symbol of their community: when she finishes, it will contain 12 squares, one for each of the families that make up the settlement. It becomes a metaphor for the struggles of the group, and even Abbies dreams that seem doomed to failure without a living, breathing church as the center of their lives. There is a larger lesson in that for believers as a wholetrying to live apart from the church leads to all kinds of problems we do not have to experience when living in community with other Christians.
Gods will is paramount to this tale, as is how we as humans interpret what His will is. Our perceptions often get in the way, and how we realign our will with His will largely determine an outcome in any given situation. Abbie especially struggles with reconciling her own hopes and dreams for the settlement with what Gods plan appears to be. Largely, this novel could be any womans story as she tries to determine the path her life will take.
I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy Amish fiction, but also to people who enjoy historical fiction in general. I thoroughly enjoyed this novelit was very different from any other Amish storyline I have read so I think it will appeal across genre lines as long as someone is willing to give it a chance.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for this honest review.
It would take a miracle for the settlement to survive
January 6, 2015
Wonderful Lonesome is refreshingly different from much of the Amish fiction Ive read so far. Not what I anticipated, the values and very tenets of the Amish faith are examined and studied in an environment is changing in ways that those in the settlement had not intended when braving the move to Colorado. Yet to search the scriptures is what we are encouraged to do in the Bible, in which case perhaps living without a visiting bishop or regular minister has been for the benefit rather than detriment of those in this great wonderful lonesome place.
Based on events that occurred in a real eastern Colorado settlement in the 1900s, we are drawn into the fictional characters of Abbie Weaver, her family, and her friends within the settlement. Included is a childhood friend who had moved there with her husband, Ruthanna, friends she met in the settlement, Mary Miller, Willem Peters, and Rudy Stutzman. The lives of the Amish are focused on God and their church, their family, and their community; when the elements of church, minister, and bishop are lacking, can the rest of the settlement thrive?
The characters were so well defined that this reader could step into their shoes. They are complex, searching and evolving to survive within a community that was not what they anticipated. They earnestly desired the leadership of a minister, and were unaware of the reasons why no minister would move there. Abbie, in her own way, struggled to try to keep everyone to remain in the settlement in spite of their desire for spiritual leadership; I found it interesting and at times frustrating to walk in her shoes as she grasped at a dream that refused to take place. I very much appreciated seeing how each character sought the Lord and His will, and was willing to do what was necessary to stay true to their faith in the Lord and receive the spiritual leadership they needed.
The Weaver family had been in this settlement for five years, the last year without a minister. Hail and drought had been the unwelcome companions to the farmers, the loss of crops being but one of the struggles they faced. Some families were choosing to leave, and the lack of eligible men or women of similar ages was made more difficult with their departure. Some were leaving to find other Amish settlements. Some who remained considered attending the Mennonite church that was forming in a nearby town. Was the Amish faith truly the only way to salvation or could salvation be found within the other denominations? There were two schools of thought, some being totally convinced that to leave the Amish and the Ordnung was the same as choosing hell over heaven.
This novel was intriguing, showing me new depths of the Amish faith. The part of me that loves American historical fiction learned of the Amish in Colorado, where I had not been aware of there being settlements before perhaps for reasons shown in this book. I could also see how mainstream denominations today still believe that they are the only way of salvation, and the fears that many face about their beloved relatives who fully believe in the Lord yet do not worship within what they see as the only true church. I highly recommend this novel to young adults and adults of any age who appreciate excellent Amish fiction and historical settlements in America. It is also appealing to those who question some of the challenges that are introduced in this book, including what the true church is, how community is formed and nourished, and seeking the Lords will for their future. Olivia Newport has penned an excellent drama that is fascinating and compelling, a worthy read.
With a grateful heart, I received a copy of this book through the For Readers Only group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.