Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Atonement - Beverly Lewis

Lucy Flaud has a past that haunts her.

Despite the years passing, time has not healed her wounds nor repaired her relationships with her family, her community, or God. Instead she pours herself into her charities and sister's family trying to find a peace that eludes her. When her father Christian begins going to a support group with Englischers, Lucy finds herself pulled into a crossroads where her past can either engulf her future or redemption can pull her into the present - if she's brave enough to risk it.

Ack! I'm so torn on this book.

I've said it before, Amish literature is not my favourite. That said, there's something intriguing in the simpler way of life that still bears witness to deep and complex emotions.

This book confuses me though it has some wonderful strong story-telling elements and then some elements that continually jarred me out of the narrative.

I really did enjoy the gradual storytelling. Although most readers could probably guess what Lucy's secret was early on, I enjoyed how Lewis gives glimpses, little tidbits through observers and most importantly Lucy. It felt real and very close to how someone with a trauma or grief would unravel their story.

I also enjoyed Lewis' twist on Christian's motivation for attending the group and the honest wrestling presented by his character. That mixture of strength and brokenness was a great addition to the cast of characters.

The text, however, distracted from the story. The language felt more jarring than usual and I often wanted to correct the spelling before I comprehended the sentence itself. In fact, partially because of this Dorothea and the story of the bridge felt like a stronger element to the story then the illustration it was supposed to serve for Lucy.

Lucy was a darling mystery but again, it sometimes felt jarring as some behaviours seemed so conflicting despite the readers ability to see the greater picture. This could be, in part, due to my own unfamiliarity with the Amish way of life but, since the book was not written to an Amish audience a little more explanation of the rationale behind key decision would have been welcome, especially with so many Englischers running around the plot to form natural points of connection.

3 out of 5 stars

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."