Thursday, March 1, 2012

Leaving Lancaster

Years ago, during their time of running free, Esther and Samuel snuck away from their home among the Amish.  They married before Samuel went to fight in Vietnam and Esther gave birth to Holly.  When Samuel did not return, Esther went on living the best life she knew how under the circumstances.  Holly grew up without her father and became a successful business woman.  As the book begins, the rug is pulled out from beneath both of them.  They journey to Lancaster.  Will Esther make peace with her past?  Will Holly find the answers she is looking for?  Where does their future lie?  Leaving Lancaster is a tale of regret, hope, and forgiveness.

Over all, I like this book.  The characters are realistic and personable.  The setting is your typical Amish community.  The plot could have easily been taken from some one's life story.  The writing is mostly solid.  The issues I do have surround the timeline (I believe a few happenings do not match the timeline) and some unanswered questions.  I have tried to see if there is to be a sequel to this book and from what I can tell, there is not, but there could be because not all questions are answered.  Overall, those two problems do not ruin the book.

As I read Leaving Lancaster I finally put my finger on an issue that is common with novels set in the Amish Community.  The characters are drawn to the community based on the community itself, the simplicity in which it lives, and the character's tie to family.  It isn't often that we get an in depth view of the character's relationship with God.  It seems that the Amish are more known for living off the grid than they are for their faith.  Leaving Lancaster hints at spirituality, but doesn't fully deliver.   I rarely give a rating that is not a whole number, but I just cannot decide this time, so I say 3.5 stars out of 5.

Kate Lloyd lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest but spends time on the East coast with her friends in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In college she studied painting and sculpture, then began working a series of jobs including car salesman.  This is her second book.

Leaving Lancaster written by Kate Lloyd, published by David C. Cook