Suzanne Woods Fisher
Historical Fiction / Amish
On a hot day in 1737 in Rotterdam, Anna König reluctantly sets foot on the Charming Nancy, a merchant ship that will carry her and her fellow Amish believers across the Atlantic to start a new life. As the only one in her community who can speak English, she feels compelled to go. But Anna is determined to complete this journey and return home--assuming she survives. She's heard horrific tales of ocean crossings and worse ones of what lay ahead in the New World. But fearfulness is something Anna has never known.
Ship's carpenter Bairn resents the somber people--dubbed Peculiars by the deckhands--who fill the lower deck of the Charming Nancy. All Bairn wants to do is to put his lonely past behind him, but that irksome and lovely lass Anna and her people keep intruding on him.
Delays, storms, illness, and diminishing provisions test the mettle and patience of everyone on board. When Anna is caught in a life-threatening situation, Bairn makes a discovery that shakes his entire foundation. But has the revelation come too late?
Bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher invites you back to the beginning of Amish life in America with this fascinating glimpse into the first ocean crossing--and the lives of two intrepid people who braved it.
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I really enjoy reading Amish fiction, but up until this book I don't think that I have ever read an account of the original crossing of the Amish from Germany to America. In the author's notes Suzanne shares that there is very little known about the crossing. But the facts that are known have been woven into a fascinating tale of courage for this persecuted band of believers.
Several years before this voyage Bishop Jacob Bauer crossed the Atlantic to secure land for his people. Minister Christian Muller is tasked with bringing the group to America to start their new community. Anna has no desire to go. She would much rather stay behind with her grandparents, but she is the only one that speaks English so she must go for the good of her people.
The journey just to get to the Atlantic is filled with delays and discouragement. How will they ever make it across the vast ocean if they can't even smoothly sail to England? Once they are on the open ocean the delays and dangers just seem to increase. But amid the disasters a tentative friendship strikes up between Anna and the ship's carpenter Bairn.
Bairn is drawn to Anna but refuses to acknowledge the God she serves. He is sure that God left him long ago and doesn't care anything for him. Anna's response to Bairn is priceless,
"You're trusting God by relating it to circumstances. Trust is much more than circumstances. Much, much more."God of course shows up and allows Bairn to realize that Anna's words are true. The enfolding story is a beautiful story of Providence. Every single hard thing in all of their lives works together to bring each of them to the exact point that God designed for them to be.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a brilliant writer and it is my hope that this is just the beginning of a series about these intriguing characters. She has included some very interesting facts at the end of the book to fill in some of the back story on the crossing. There is also a thought provoking set of discussion questions that will be beneficial to anyone that is reading this book with their book club.
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|Photo Credit: © Dan Davis Photography|
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