Book Review ~ Promise to Return by Elizabeth Byler Younts

Promise of Sunrise Series, Book 1
Elizabeth Byler Younts
Contemporary Fiction/Amish

Back of the book:

When World War II breaks out, Miriam Coblentz's peaceful Amish world is turned upside down . . .

It's 1943, and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedding day when the unthinkable happens--Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp his gaping avsence turns Miriam's life upside down. Little does she know it's only the beginning . . .

When Henry returns home, he brings news that shakes Miriam and their Amish community to the core. Henry believes God has called him to enlist in the army and fight for his country, leaving her to make an important decision: whether to choose loyalty to the peaceful life she's always known or her love for Henry.

Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fascinating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. While Henry is battling enemies across the ocean, Miriam struggles between her devotion to Henry and her love of the Amish way of life. One question is at the bottom of it all: will she follow the rules of her religion or the leading of her heart?

My thoughts:

If you think you don't like Amish fiction, I would urge you to give this one a try before you write the whole genre off. To say it is different from the run of the mill Amish fiction book is an understatement. 

I never gave a thought to how World War II affected the Amish. I just assumed that since they were conscientious objectors that they would be exempt from service and then just carry on with their lives. In actuality, when an Amish man was drafted he had to go serve in a Civilian Public Service camp. Now if that isn't interesting enough, think about what would happen if an Amish man felt like God was telling him to join the Army.

That is the premise of this book. Henry Mast who has always been a caring and upstanding member of the Amish community has the deep conviction that God is requiring him to enlist and serve his country. This decision has very far reaching repercussions. He was just weeks away from marrying Miriam Coblentz when he was drafted. She was content to wait for him when he was at the CPS camp but now that he is going against the beliefs of the Amish community that she loves where does that leave her? What about Henry's parents and siblings? How will they withstand this shame that Henry has brought upon their family? What about when/if Henry returns from his service? How will he fit back in to the community?

This is an absolutely fascinating read. When I first began reading it I wasn't sure that I was going to like it at all. I am part of a very proud military family and the whole conscientious objector theme at the beginning of the novel just didn't set well with me. But the farther I got into the story the more I liked it. Elizabeth Younts' writing is captivating. Most likely this is because she is not only from an Amish family but she is an air force officer's wife. Both of those aspects bring an authenticity to the story.

For all the Amish fiction lovers out there this is a must read. For all the skeptics this is one to give a try . . . I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. I'm looking forward to book two in the series. It will contain the story of Eli Brenneman from Promise to Return, as he serves in the CPS at a mental asylum. Sounds like another unique book in this genre!

Connect with the author:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Designed by: NW Designs