Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review - The Lesson

The Lesson

By Suzanne Woods Fisher
Published by Revell, 1st January, 2013

Mary Kate Lapp - known to many as M.K. - is Amish. In theory, her life should be simple, straightforward and pretty much mapped out for her: grow up, make a committment to God and her community, get baptised, get married and settle down.

 In reality, she is headstrong, clever and very much a free spirit, all of which tend to conspire to land her in sticky situations, much to her family's consternation. She can't quite make the decision to be baptised and settle down Amish for the rest of her life, and even gets a passport application form just in case she decides to flee the country and go travelling!

The day she comes across a murder victim and later manages to mow down the community's hypochondriacal schoolteacher seems to be her worst day yet, but when she is appointed to be the substitute schoolteacher, her life gets much, much worse.

Chris Yoder, the mysterious newcomer who is employed to help her father with the heavy harvest jobs on their farm has a complex and tangled backstory of his very own, and a young sister nursing her own secrets. Together with MK's determination to solve the murder and a spate of petty crimes as well as get to grips with having to teach youngsters who are all too well aware of M.K.'s mischievous proclivities when she was a school student herself, our heroine is faced with a set of challenges which would daunt many an adult, let alone an Amish teen.

 Little is as it seems at first glance, and Mary Kate's well-meaning efforts seem doomed to cause failure and chaos, to her dismay. M.K means so well, yet nothing ever goes according to plan. She is loveable, brave, funny, infuriating and flits from one near-disaster to another - but will she ever be truly content to stay Amish?

As one mystery is solved, things become more and more complicated, and the shocking tragic history which links the Lapps and the Yoder family finally becomes clear. This was an absolute pleasure to read, from the first page to the last.

 I was so sad to reach the end of the book, and hope we will re-visit Mary Kate's life in another volume.
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