I am a fan of Amish Fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed reading Meek and Mild by Olivia Newport. The story is about the Amish but is rich with complex issues you aren't looking for in the plain lifestyle. Clara Kuhns' is in love with Andrew Raber but is hesitant to wed. Clara's mother passed away in childbirth, leaving her worried and anxious about having children of her own. Her family is part of an Old Order Amish community. Her mother's family is part of a growing Mennonite group who believe in teaching Sunday School. The Bishop of Clara's community has made it difficult for her to visit with her aunt and cousins by instituting the age old custom of shunning people with different beliefs. As the story developed, I felt impatient with the old order because of this practice.
Truth about a change that began by a vote when Clara was very young comes to light and sends the community on the brink of big change. Reading about what happened was not predictable and the outcome was surprising enough to lead me to appreciate Olivia's writing style. The characters are very well written and I found myself disappointed to put the book down.
I really liked this book because of how it dealt with the heart of the young heroine who has so many questions about life and her faith and feels quite alone. Her stepmother seems to be pushing her out of the home by making her feel unneeded for even the simplest task around the house. Andrew has been tempting fate and the Ordnung with his acquisition of a car found by the side of the road bearing a note asking the finder to please take the car. Cars are not part of the simple life and Clara is worried it may get Andrew Shunned. Andrew takes everything in stride which worries Clara more. It is a twist of fate that changes her heart toward love and marriage.
This new glimpse into the Amish people has given me a chance to do a little extra research afterwards. Suffice it to say that not only is this a wonderful love story, it is a nice work of historical fiction on a difficult period for the Amish. They have succeeded in continuing to live good lives of strong faith and adherence to a lifestyle that has survived since it began in 1693.