Saturday, 27 September 2008

A Sister's Test by Wanda E Brunstetter ~ Tracy's Take

What is it about?

Ruth is the middle daughter of the Hostettler family. Her heart’s desire is to marry and fill her home with children. After a bit of a false start Ruth and Martin Gingerich begin courting. Ruth has much to look forward to as she and Martin begin planning their future together.

Amid the joy of planning a wedding and looking ahead to a life that fulfils and satisfies, the Hostettler home is vandalised on more than one occasion, marring their otherwise peaceful life. Who is responsible for the attacks, and what is their motivation? As the attacks continue and tragedy strikes, the family is left feeling insecure and vulnerable, their peace threatened and their Amish faith tested.

What I thought

I love novels about the Amish. Their way of life is so simple and unhurried. ‘A Sister’s Test’ takes the reader into the lives of the Hostettler family and reminds you of the things that are truly important in life. When Ruth faces tragedy, the faith of her family around her sustains her until she is able to see the light at the end of the tunnel for herself. The way she responds to her devastating loss is completely realistic. I loved how her plucky determined nature comes through as she seeks to rise above her pain and find a way forward in life. I was often frustrated at the way Ruth’s father, Roman, was so passive about the vandalism and attacks on his property and wished he might become a little more proactive. I also found the about face in his response to his sister’s sudden return to Holmes County a little unrealistic, considering his stubborn refusal to speak with her until forced into a position where he is essentially a captive audience.

Wanda E Brustetter weaves a tale that immerses the reader in the Amish lifestyle and reveals that which is otherwise hidden away from the modern world. I was reminded how busy we become chasing things that seem important at the time, and yet when trials come, it is faith and family that hold us together and those seemingly important things become insignificant. I did struggle a little with the way Wanda infused Amish words into conversations and felt it left things a little stilted and unnatural. However, this did not detract from the story so much that I did not enjoy the book.

I loved the way the book ended with the promise of good things to come for Ruth, but with the unresolved attacks left to be dealt with in the final book of the Sister of Holmes County series. I am looking forward to the final instalment of this series and finally discovering “who done it”.

Guest reviewer: Tracy from Beyond My Picket Fence


SmilingSally said...

I'd like to read this one!

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