The Proving

Amish Fiction’s #1 Author Presents a Touching Story of Perseverance and Second Chances

Amanda Dienner hasn’t seen her Old Order family in five years when she receives word that her mother has passed away and left her Lancaster County’s most popular Amish bed-and-breakfast. Now an Englisher, Mandy is shocked: Her twin sister should have been the obvious choice! What’s more, the inheritance comes with a catch: The farmhouse inn will only truly be hers if she is able to successfully run it for twelve consecutive months.

Mandy accepts the challenge even though it means returning to Gordonville and the painful memories she left behind at eighteen. Still, she’s determined to prove she is more than capable of running the bed-and-breakfast, no matter that its loyal clientele are expecting an Amish hostess!

The inn isn’t Mandy’s sole test, however. Rubbing shoulders with her married twin sister reopens wounds that Mandy isn’t ready to forgive. And an Englisher guest with a difficult past of her own just complicates matters.

Can Mandy fulfill the terms of her inheritance? Or will this year in Amish country prove a dreadful mistake?

If you’re a well-read fan of Beverly Lewis then you walk into her novels knowing what to expect. Of course it’ll be centered on the Amish way of life, there will be some kind of heartbreak that needs resolving through Christian principles, there will be bold statements about God and/or prayers and if you can find the silence to listen you might learn something.

Lewis uses her talent for descriptive and metaphorical language to create vivid images so you can actually feel like you’ve been to Amish country. Even if you’ve never read a Lewis book it’ll be easy to get used to her use of the particular language and dialect her Amish characters use thanks to her detailed context. She paints their way of life as something beautiful and full rather than lacking as you might believe since they aren’t held together through social media, video games, comic movies or our warring political parties. She creates a world that even the tech and Starbucks addicts can envy even just a little.

Lewis tried something new in this novel compared to most of her other ones by using an Inn as the setting and it worked very well because it provided a chance to see more of how the Amish and ‘English’ might interact and what each other’s expectations might be. The way it was described you felt like you were walking through the rooms and meadows outdoors, made me wish I could make a reservation.

Typical for Lewis the family dynamics involved that she spun through her well-developed characters was both dramatic and heartwarming at once. At times I felt irritated with the choices being made but once you understand the full story and how each character viewed their part in it you can see how very logical and realistic their actions were.

The nice thing about a Lewis novel is no matter what goes on you’re guaranteed a good ending so the plot, dialogue and characters can just whisk you away from whatever stressful reality you may be dealing with to one where peaceful endings are just around the turn of the page.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers for allowing me to review this!

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*synopsis and image from Netgalley

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