The title The Lesson appears to refer directly to Mary Kate Lapp’s assignment to be the substitute teacher after her careless scooter driving causes the teacher’s injury. Clearly M.K.’s father and step-mother hope her rash behavior will diminish with the teaching responsibility. At first, M.K. sees the job as pure punishment and finds herself watching the clock and counting the days until the weekend even more often than her students. Then slowly, with the wisdom of one hundred year old Erma Yutsky, M.K. begins to find can find the best in each student.
The simple title has many other meanings: Mary Kate’s father learns that he needs to face sorrow and pain he has hidden away for more than a decade; young Chris Yoder, who appears suddenly in the Amish community, must learn that his life will only improve if he can trust others with the truth; and sadly, his little sister will learn that not everyone can be trusted, even if we love them. I didn't find this a fast moving story, but perhaps it is not meant to be. Amish life is slower paced, or so they say. I've been reading an Amish family's diary written for a Wisconsin magazine and I find their days filled to the brim with activities- plenty of work, but also time for family and friends. But back to The Lesson. I felt it to true to what I know of Amish culture. The romance is low key, but satisfying. There is an element of mystery at the beginning, and in the end, the book is a good one.
I haven’t read too much by Suzanne Woods Fisher, but know that her Amish fiction is quite popular. I’ve also seen her writings on Sherry Gore's blog, a blog about the Amish settlement in Sarasota, FL
Suzanne has a weekly radio program at toginet.com called Amish Wisdom. I just purchased her ebook Amish Peace. With her grandfather's Amish heritage, I consider Fisher's ties to the vast Amish communities to be strong enough to be reliable. She has also started a children's series that I have not had time to read, but plan to do. I'd suggest her website to anyone who wants to learn more about all her writings.
I obtained a copy of The Lesson through inter-library loan.