Monday, March 2, 2015

Anna's Crossing! Worth the Wait!

10372283_867099466646927_3112724279182889122_nI waited for what seems like a long time to read Suzanne Woods Fisher'Anna's Crossing. It started as I finished up Christmas at Rose Hill Farm. Two reasons for this anticipation besides being a fan of Suzanne are learning more about the Charming Nancy, the ship on which Anna crosses the Atlantic and to find out about the real story behind Rose Hill Farm's famous rose.

What I didn't anticipate was learning so much more about the history of the Amish people. Anna Konig symbolizes many of the Amish who came to Penn's  Wood with the promise of a brighter future and plenty of land to start a new life.  It took courage to cross the ocean under the conditions on ships such as the Charming Nancy. This was no passenger ship with staterooms for families. It was dank and dingy and full of bunks stacked high in order to cram more passengers on board.

Anna is a reluctant heroine and Bairn, the ships carpenter the reluctant hero are drawn together by circumstance. He has no use for the Amish, or the "peculiars" as they are often referred to. She cannot befriend a man who is without faith. Yet their destiny is entwined as Anna is the only passenger who can speak English and is called upon to translate for all.  It is through Felix, the young son of her neighbor Dorothea that both Anna and Bairn can cooperate and make the crossing more bearable. 

Long delays, wild storms, an encounter with slave traders, surly crew members and growing disappointment would make any group of people difficult to live with. The under belly of a ship with no accommodations is unthinkable in our modern world of indoor plumbing.

I admire Suzanne's thorough research for her works. If you look for more information on the Charming Nancy you will find that in 1737, Captain Charles Steadman was at the helm of the same said ship carrying 21 Amish families to America.  He and his brother Captain John Steadman were both regarded as the best to sail with. 

I read a lot of American history and this book did not introduce me to the Charming Nancy.  In later years, The Charming Nancy was the ship that carried an exiled Margaret Kemble Gage, wife of General Thomas Gage back to England during the Revolutionary War. Her sympathies with the colonies, it seems gave her husband much displeasure.  The Charming Nancy was a ship rich with history.

Anna carried a rose from her home in Germany on board all the way to her new home in the colonies.  The rose gave me hope for Anna, and for all the people in the story who captured my heart. Suzanne has such a way of weaving her story line through her characters to create a community that for all its faults and misunderstandings come together when it is most important.   The ending had me saying "yes" while wanting for more. I hope there will be more books in this series that will include the same families and that Suzanne will tell us what could have happened next.

Many thanks to Suzanne Woods Fisher for writing this book and to Revell, who advanced me a copy for an honest review.

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