She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna’s death, it had been such a barrier . . . a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.
A line I can’t move beyond…
Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn’t entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.
Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can’t undo?
Unsure of what the title “The River” had to do with an Amish story, my choice to read this book was easily made when I saw Beverly Lewis was the author. This story is written with twists and turns different from other Amish writings. The Point of View was about two Amish sisters who had left Eden Valley, Lancaster, Pennsylvania before their baptisms to live the “fancy” life – in the English world. The Conestoga River plays its part as the location where little sister Anna drowned one July afternoon leaving behind broken emotions on the entire family. Tilly blamed herself that she was unable to save Anna and locked her feelings deeply within. Tilly left her plain life behind – the memories of Anna’s drowning still raw and real. She couldn’t face seeing the Conestoga every day. She moved to Rockport, Massachusetts and eventually married Kris and gave birth to twin daughters, Jenya and Tavani. Tilly’s younger sister Ruth left for different reasons two years after Tilly. Will Kauffman had been courting her for a couple of years and suddenly jilted her. With damaged emotions Ruth sought Tilly’s help to move to Massachusetts.
In 1977, eight years since Tilly had left; the Amish family was planning an anniversary celebration for their parents, Lester and Sylvia Lantz. An older brother Melvin wrote a note to Tilly about their plans. Tilly and Ruth decided to ignore the invitation and not attend – until Melvin called Ruth and told her of the recent news that their father was very ill and needed a pacemaker. They reluctantly decided to go for the four day weekend. They were apprehensive about being accepted and dreading their time in Eden Valley for different reasons. For reasons unknown to Tilly, she and her father batted heads constantly and no love shown in Daed’s sternness toward Tilly. Ruth did not want to see Will. Particularly because she had a new love interest in her life, Jim Montgomery who was quite active in the church she and Tilly had joined.
Ruth planned to stay in her parent’s home, but Tilly decided it was best to stay with her favorite Uncle Abner and Aunt Naomi. The large Lantz family spread over Eden Valley included twins Melvin and Joseph, Chester, Sam and his wife Josie who had been Tilly’s best friend. The reunion did not go well at first mainly for Tilly – but wait – there is plenty to come!! Tilly had kept Anna’s kapp without telling her Mamm and decided she needed to risk the telling of that secret. It seems everyone had secrets and I wondered how the web would ever be unwound. Ruth sees Will again and resists him at first, but finally joins him for a meeting at his insistence. Uh oh, would she be tempted to return to the plain life? You will need to find that out by reading the book.
Unresolved issues and relationships continue to plague all concerned. It is not as though the sisters forgot the values and good upbringing they had, they remembered and still kept a deep faith In God. Unexpected circumstances complicated life even further when Daed had an attack and needed to spend time in the hospital. The sisters found out that their parent’s property had been deeded to Sam and plans were to move their Mamm and Daed into the Dawdy house. They decided to stay a week longer to help. Tilly moves to her parent’s house and sleeps in the Anna’s room where nothing had been changed since her death. It was there that Tilly discovered a box which holds a long kept secret. Now I must stop, because I’ll be telling you the entire story.
Let me just add that I felt much anger at the father for his treatment of Tilly. I speak from experience of a relationship close to me where the father treated his step-daughter in that manner. It is impossible to tolerate – only constant prayer will help. I was also angry with Mamm for allowing it. The truth will shock you, but good things begin to happen when God takes over. Ms. Lewis has indeed written a very intriguing story and I am thankful from a personal standpoint to have read it. There were some parts of the book that I deemed unnecessary to the story. Overall it was excellent and I congratulate Beverly Lewis for still coming through with new ideas after the numerous novels she has written.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….
Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in eleven languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family. Learn more at www.beverlylewis.com