Monday, October 19, 2015

The Photograph by Beverly Lewis

The PhotographBeverly Lewis's latest book THE PHOTOGRAPH takes readers to  1980's Lancaster County. Following the death of both their parents, a trio of unmarried Amish sisters are living together in the home where they had been raised. Middle sister Eva has a candy shop attached to the house and her confections  are a main source of income.  When their brother says he is coming to visit, all three sisters believe they know the reason.  He wants to move into the house, which by tradition is rightly his and his wife's, and he makes clear that there will not be enough room for three single sisters.

Of the three sisters, only Eva has been seeing a fellow, and then only casually, so she certainly doesn't want to rush into a courting relationship just to marry and have a place to live.  The day after their brother's visit youngest sister Lily disappears and the remaining girls fear she has gone "fancy" and joined the English.  Then a young buggy maker named Jed arrives by train from Ohio.  In his possession is a photograph of an attractive Amish girl that he found in a discarded book on the train.  When he meets Eva at a doings, he mistakes her for the girl in the photo, and wonders what would prompt a proper Amish to have her photograph taken.

Although Beverly Lewis is one of the best authors of Amish fiction, this story was quite predictable.
The only surprise for me was seeing the name of my hometown, Kingston, Wisconsin, in the story.
Early in the book Eva's sometimes suitor tells her that he is leaving to work in a woodworking shop in Kingston, Wisconsin.  I kept hoping that meant the story would move to Kingston, but it didn't, and although the suitor calls and writes Eva, no real details about the Amish community in Kingston are given.  Beverly Lewis must know her Amish settlements because the first Amish came to the Kingston area in the 1970s (later in the decade) so by 1980, there were quite a few families and woodworkers were among the earliest businesses.

I did like the friendship between Eva and her older next door neighbor, plus I liked this story included a positive relationship between parents and a grown daughter (herself a mother) who had left for a life outside the group.  If you are a huge Beverly Lewis fan, you will enjoy this title, even if many of the happenings will feel familiar.

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