Title: The Atonement by Beverly Lewis
Publisher: Bethany House Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A Must-Have Novel from the #1 Name in Amish Fiction
The mistakes of the past haunt Lucy Flaud, who years ago stopped attending the activities for courting-age young people in her hometown of Bird-in-Hand. Now twenty-five and solidly past the age of Amish courtship, Lucy has given up any hope of marriage, instead focusing her efforts on volunteering in both the Plain and fancy communities of Lancaster County. Yet no matter how hard Lucy strives, she feels uncertain that she’ll ever find redemption.
Dale Wyeth has a deep mistrust of modern-day “advances” and the dependency they create. The young Englisher’s interest in living off the grid is fueled further when he meets Christian Flaud, Lucy’s father. Dale appreciates the self-sufficient ways of the Old Order Amish, and Christian invites him to learn more about them by staying at the family farm.
As Christian and Dale grow closer, developing a father-son rapport, Lucy begins to question what Dale’s being there might mean for her. Could God be testing her? Or is it possible that even the most unworthy heart–and two people from very different walks of life–can somehow find a new beginning?
A beautifully written Amish novel, The Atonement is a thought-provoking journey of healing, forgiveness and atonement by Beverly Lewis.
Lucy Flaud is dedicated to helping others. In between volunteering at a local hospice center, serving food to the homeless and organizing donations, she helps her older sister Martie with chores around her house. She keeps up with her work at home but her twin sisters Lettie and Faye feel a little neglected since Lucy spends most of her days away from the house. When her father Christian befriends Englisher Dale Wyeth, her longheld anger and guilt over a dreadful mistake from her past can no longer be ignored. As she and Dale form their own friendship, her parents grow concerned that history is repeating itself. A surprise request from Lucy’s good friend Tobe Glick adds yet another complication to her life but this might just be the impetus she needs to finally make peace with her past.
Lucy has never forgiven herself for a misguided choice she made three years earlier. Her once close relationship with her father has also never recovered and she remains quite angry with him for the way he handled the incident. In an effort to keep her guilt and shame at bay, she throws herself into her charitable works and while she has made a difference in other people’s lives, she still has a huge hole in her heart. Meeting Dale brings back all of the painful memories she has avoided dealing with but, as he helps her with a homeless girl she has befriended, Lucy begins to repair her fractured relationship with God.
While Lucy is making strides in regaining her floundering faith, her relationship with her dad remains troubled. She never dealt with her grief over a tragic loss and because she does not want anyone, including the rest of her family, to know about her ill-fated decision, no one ever discusses what happened. When Christian invites her to join a grief support group, Lucy is at first reluctant to join him but she eventually agrees to go to one meeting. Although she still cannot bring herself to talk about her pain, she is pleasantly surprised by how comforted she feels by the support of other people in the group. As her bitterness and resentment begin to fade, Lucy finally opens to her father about her feelings despite his reluctance to revisit old wounds.
The Atonement is a heartfelt and moving novel of faith, love, family and redemption. Beverly Lewis skillfully handles difficult subjects in a realistic and sensitive manner. Lucy’s journey is gradual and occurs naturally as a result of her new friendships and an unexpected decision by a longtime friend. Watching her make peace with her past and regain her lost faith is gratifying and uplifting. All in all, a very heartwarming faith-based story that fans of Amish fiction are sure to love.