Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Thorn (Beverly Lewis) Book Review

2016 Reading Challenge

47. The Thorn by Beverly Lewis
      Theme/Topic: book set in your home state
Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. THE ROSE TRILOGY is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters on the fringes of the church, and the unforeseen discoveries that change their lives.
Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding?
Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick?

My Review:
Every rose has its thorn. I think everyone's familiar with this old adage that means that despite how perfect something may seem, it still has its flaws. The Thorn is based on exactly that. 

In case anyone doesn't know, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is known for its Amish population. The Amish, like everybody else, have their secrets and flaws and people make mistakes. And then there are those who struggle with that lifestyle and faith. In this story, Hen was one of those. She felt too secluded and grew tired of the ways of the Amish. Doing so, she fell for the wrong man and married an Englishman. After marriage and having a daughter, Hen feels drawn back to the lifestyle that she wanted to get away from. 

On the other side of this, Rose has always stayed true to the Amish lifestyle. This was especially true after Hen abandoned her family. Rose didn't want to see her parents disappointed again. Although Rose is courted by an Amish male, she can't help but feel a growing attraction to the town's rebel. Nick is the bishop's foster son, who feels like he has been forced into the Amish instead of being born into it. And feels like he doesn't belong and has no problem showing it. As much as Rose tries to avoid Nick to prevent herself from going down the wrong road, he keeps showing up in times of need. 

Troubles arise for both sisters and they both try to figure out where they belong in society: either within the Amish or away from it. They both want to please their parents, but also be happy with their own needs and wants, their own lives.

In Amish, "Pennsylvania Dutch", the time of figuring out who they want to be is called rumspringa. By definition, rumspringa means a period of adolescence in which boys and girls are given greater personal freedom and allowed to form romantic relationships, usually ending with the choice of baptism into the church or leaving the community.

The Thorn depicted a more truer reality to what people go through. Who hasn't questioned who they are, what they believe in, what makes them happy? And which family doesn't have their problems and secrets? Perfection doesn't exist and this book proved just that. Sometimes it takes being away from something to realize how much you miss it and how much you cherish it. I mentioned above how Hen and Rose wanted to please their parents. Most of us want to do just that. The realization is all the same and I'm going to give you this gentle reminder. Parents just want their children to be happy, no matter what path they choose, what they believe in, etc. 

Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a nuanced depiction. Unlike how I usually see stories where the Amish play a specific role that's very stereotypical.