...from the publisher...
It's the summer of 1951, and Maggie Esh is in need of some hope. Sweet-spirited and uncommonly pretty despite struggling with chronic illness, she is used to being treated kindly by the young men of her Old Order Amish church district. Yet Maggie wishes she were more like other courting-age girls so she could live a normal, healthy life.
To make matters more complicated, Dat has recently remarried, less than a year after her mother died. And while her stepmother is kind, Rachel is much younger than Mamm, and she simply doesn't understand Maggie or her illness the way Mamm did.
When tent revival meetings come to the area, Maggie is curious, and the words of the Mennonite preacher challenge her to reconsider what she knows about faith. Can she learn to trust God even when hope seems a distant dream?
I was inspired after reading The First Love by Beverly Lewis. Maggie is such a wonderful young woman. She doesn't wish to be defined by her illness although she could be if she weren't so determined to be thought of as whole. Her faith is strong yet when she is offered a chance to attend the tent revival meetings there is a turning point. Her Old Order Amish faith is accustomed to silent prayer, not the exuberant prayer she encounters. It is intriguing and she is led to learn more about prayers for healing. Once she begins to seek healing scriptures she is surprised at who reveals their own discoveries of faith and healing. When she begins to feel stronger it is a wonder...did her faith heal her or was it the new herbal supplements that were recommended she try?
Maggie is one of my favorite Beverly Lewis characters. She is pivot-able in this story not just because of her health issues but because she is a magnet for her family. They are drawn to her for her wisdom. In our story she celebrates her 18th birthday but she is mature beyond her years. She is patient to her elderly aunt, kind to her stepmother, while acting as a buffer between her and the other children. She listens first and offers advice only when it is sought. She is a glue that bonds deep. I appreciate how her family respected her and helped her on her bad days with patience and love. I think we have all had a Maggie in our life. I recommend this story for those who enjoy a story rich with faith, hope and love. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Fiction in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own.