The Thorn by Beverly Lewis, is book one of a much anticipated new Amish fiction trilogy, entitled the Rose Trilogy. Releasing today, September 7th, The Thorn is expected to rise quickly into the best seller list due to the author’s reputation is the top name in Amish fiction. And, after reading an advanced reader copy sent to me for review by Bethany House, I can see why! Beverly Lewis continues to keep the Amish fiction genre fresh by interweaving complex character problems into a seemingly simple/plain cultural background.
What I found most intriguing about book one is that, unlike ‘the Shunning‘, her first Amish fiction novel – which has sold over one million copies – ‘the Thorn‘ actually tackles the issue of what would happen if someone who has left the Amish order for the life of the English wants to return to it? Especially if they are married to an Englisher and have a child?
In previous Amish fiction I had read, it was always assumed that the person who left to be English would be shunned by even their closest family members, and therefore there was no opportunity to return. This book certainly handles that in a different light, and is worth reading for that aspect alone.
However, one of the other main plots in this book deals with an Amish girl who is torn between caring for two very different men. The choice between living English or living Amish is there for her … but Rose has seen what that choice did to her sister Hen’s life, and she knows that her sister is struggling to live in the gap in between the two lifestyles.
Is that even possible? This book is the first book of a trilogy that seems to tackle that topic head on. If you love Amish fiction, this book is a ‘must read’. There are enough twists to keep you reading, but overall it is a peaceful read, full of details about living Amish and the peaceful simplicity of a faith filled with tradition and the importance of family.
Book Cover Review
It’s a little harder to give a review on the cover this time. The advanced reader copy only gives me a glimpse of the front cover, however, it appears to be a very typical cover for a piece of Amish fiction. The large image of the young woman, sporting Amish dress and head coverings will certainly draw any readers who are already Amish fiction readers, or anyone who has always been curious about the Amish. Beverly Lewis is perhaps the best known Amish fiction writer there is – so the choice to show her name even larger than the title of the book itself is no surprise. Very little of the background is showing, but it appears to be an open field of either tall grasses or wheat beneath a cloudy blue sky. An antique treatment has been applied to the background – helping to give the novel the look of an instant classic.
The only negative I will state about this cover is the fact that it is instantly forgettable – there is nothing about it that will stand out in a reader’s memory. If you were unable to remember the title of the book there is nothing on the cover that will make it stand out from any other piece of Amish fiction. If there had been a way to work a thorn photo, or a thorn-like embellishment into the cover … I think that would have made the cover more customized, and possibly more memorable, even if handled in a subtle way.
* Advanced Reader Copy received for review from Bethany House Publishers.