After five years as an Englisher, Amanda Dienner is shocked to learn her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. What’s more, the inn will only truly be hers if Mandy can successfully run it for twelve months. Reluctantly, Mandy accepts the challenge, no matter that it means facing the family she left behind–or that the inn’s clientele expect an Amish hostess! Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this prove a dreadful mistake?
(excerpt from back of book)
I'm always a little confused after reading a Beverly Lewis novel and this one is no exception. Although Lewis, undeniably, has talent as a writer crafting beautiful landscapes tapping into simpler lives and the Amish way, I find many of her story lines predictable to the point that pacing feels unbalanced and the characters seem underutilized.
Case in point, Trina and Arie Mae had the potential for wonderful counterbalances to Mandy's wrestling with both past, present, and future. Given the backstory I was eager to see how the sister's relationship would play out amid the larger family and community. However, Lewis rarely brought in the family as more than plot opportunities and sisters interactions didn't seem to have the emotional impact their history would imply.
The Proving had many characters that just seemed underutilized and therefore less than satisfying, perhaps due to my unfamiliarity with aspects of Amish culture? However, even that felt like a bit of a missed opportunity as Trina's obvious lack of familiarity with the Amish could have served as an easy inroad for reader instruction and was rarely seen either.
For fans of Lewis The Proving should prove to be a pleasant enough read, for those unfamiliar with the genre, there are too many unexplained nuances and missed developments for this to be a satisfying introduction into the genre.
3 out of 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."