Author: Beverly Lewis
Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: September 6, 2022
"She realized there was peace right here in the midst of this heavenly sort of place, despite the unpredictable storm churning around her family."
For generations, Ellie Hostetler's family has tended their Lancaster County orchard, a tradition her twin brother, Evan, will someday continue. Yet when Evan's draft number is called up in the lottery for the Vietnam War, the family is shocked to learn he has not sought conscientious objector status, despite their Old Order Amish belief in non-resistance. The faraway war that has caused so much turmoil and grief among their Englisher neighbors threatens too close to home.
As Evan departs for boot camp, Ellie confides her disappointment to Sol Bontrager, the brother of her best friend and cousin to her new beau, Menno. In contrast to Evan, Sol is a conscientious objector. Despite Ellie's attraction to Menno, she finds herself drawn to Sol's steady presence as they work together in the orchard. Suddenly, it feels as if everything in Ellie's world is shifting, and the plans she held so dear seem increasingly uncertain. Can she and her family find the courage to face a future unlike any they could have imagined?
Reviewer: Marta Aldrighetti
The Amish family Hostetler owns an orchard full of fruits in Bird-in-Hand that sells at the market and restaurants. The main characters are Ellie and Evan. They are twins and young. Both love work and walking around the orchard. But their lives will go through a different way.
The different personalities of Ellie and Evan are well described by the author. The Vietnam war starts, and Amish men sign as CO status (conscientious objector). Except Evan doesn't sign. He'll soon realize war is a dangerous, awful thing that causes a lot of pain.
The author describes Evan as a courageous, brave, energetic young man. The war has changed him and his beliefs. I think the book is nice, but sometimes a bit slow. I appreciate reading about the Amish, their traditions, and their beliefs about war.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publisher through Netgalley for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Orchard by Beverly Lewis is a heartwarming look at what happens when our children go astray.
Set in the world of the Amish, the author introduces us to the Hostetler family. Ellie and Evan Hostetler are twins that couldn't be more different. While Ellie is looking forward to her baptism and officially joining the church, her brother Evan is fully involved in Rumschpringe. He is refusing to get baptized and is dating an English girl. When Evan decides to enlist and fight in Vietnam, his entire family and Amish neighbours are devastated as it goes against the church's pacifist teachings.
Mostly, I found this book to be rather dull. The love life of Ellie, her letters to Leah, and the work in the orchard all seemed like filler to me until the situation with Evan was resolved. The lack of action until halfway through the book made it hard for me to keep reading.
However, once things did start happening, the author had my attention. The characters' faith and resolve to trust in God during difficult times also added to my enjoyment of this book.
If you love reading about the Amish, you will undoubtedly enjoy this book.
I received a review copy from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley for my honest opinion.
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