Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Christmas Visitor

The Christmas Visitor

An Amish Romance

By Linda Byler

Published by Good Books, September 3rd, 2013


This is the story of Ruth Miller, left widowed when her beloved husband Ben died falling off a roof at a barn raising. Her youngest child, also named Ben after his father, was born several months after his death. 

She had to sell their farm as she was unable to work it herself with her very young family, and she could not afford to employ someone to do it for her; luckily a neighbour, Levi King, allowed her to live rent-free in a house he owned which made it just possible to scrimp by on the little money she had. She was regularly helped and supported by her family and friends in their Amish community, especially by her dear friend Mamie who provided comfort and practical help with the tasks of caring for her family.

Unlike some idealised Amish stories, this one pulls no punches at all about how hard she found it, being both mother and father to her children and desperately trying to make ends meet by herself without being too much of a burden on her extended family or her community. It also vividly portrays the absolute primal rawness of bereavement mixed with the joys of raising children and the sheer unrelenting hard work of  caring for a home  and  raising kids in the Amish tradition.

When John Beiler, a newcomer, who is believed to be courting a girl in the community seems to take a special interest in her, she is torn between being flattered at his courteous and low-key attentions and concerned at his apparent love interest in someone else - what sort of a man is he? When a mysterious benefactor starts leaving cash gifts in her mailbox and then food parcels, she starts to think about whether she should be remarrying, according to her community's tradition.....

 This is a lovely, lovely story, with huge amounts of fascinating detail about the day to day life of an Amish woman. 



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