Like her other Amish series, this first book in her new series was wonderful to read! Her characters are so likeable and I love the setting in Amish country with hardworking men and women who live simple lives. It makes you want to give up this hectic, materialistic life we live and slow down with a more simplistic lifestyle (except for the outhouse - wouldn't want one of those!). A note to the author, though, it takes too long until the next one comes out! Can't wait!!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Heartwarming and satisfying!March 11 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
What can I say about this wonderful-gut book that hasn't already been said? I immediately felt absorbed into this community and into an emotional connection with the characters. The unlikely friendship and sisterly bonds between Annie and Louisa was so heartwarming! How could I not relate to Louisa and her desire to escape the rat-race and simplify her life to find a deeper meaning? I usually don't like endings that leave loose ends unresolved, but in this case, the author has achieved her purpose in leaving me longing for more, and I'm glad the follow-up book is only two months away. Annie's People is destined to be a series as compelling as Abram's Daughters. It is equally as well-written and absorbing, with wonderful insight into this often mysterous and misunderstood culture.
I hope it's ok to add this here, but I want to recommend an obscure book that Beverly Lewis fans are sure to embrace. Don't cringe or overlook it because it's a harlequin book - It will provide a highly satisfying fix while waiting for the next installment in the Annie's People series: Reluctant Witness by Linda Markowiak
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A True Story Of Friendship!!!Oct. 12 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
This is the second book by Ms. Lewis that I've managed to read and I was truly impressed with the multiple storylines that she managed to introduce in this story, which is the first in a new series. This story tackles some very important issues as well as demonstrates how a strong friendship can be very important in the grand scheme of things.
Annie Zook is the daughter of an Amish preacher and her place in her Amish community doesn't seem readily apparent to this young girl. In order take her rightful place in the community and to marry the boy that she has always loved she must give up the one thing that means the most to her. Her art. But, Annie can't let this part of her soul go and as a result of this she has lost Rudy to someone else and she finds that this secret of hers is costing her more than she ever thought possible. The only one that seems to understand her fears and anxieties is her friend Louisa.
Louisa is a pen pal that Annie has had for years and their friendship has grown with them. They are each at a cross roads in their lives and they turn to the other. What makes this hard is the fact that Louisa is from the outside. Louisa on the other hand is getting ready to walk down the aisle but she's finding that the life she dreamed of just doesn't exist. In a world of opulence she finds that she has nothing. Her friend Annie seems to have the perfect life living in Paradise, Pennsylvania. After canceling the wedding Louisa travels east to spend time with her good friend. This is just what these two young women need. Along the way these two must make adjustments but their friendship will see them through.
This was an amazing read. Louisa and Annie were truly wonderfully drawn characters that the reader will care about. Although their storyline is the main one throughout the read, Ms. Lewis does introduce the touch subject of spousal abuse and the Amish way of dealing with this topic. This secondary storyline is very important to the storyline between Louisa and Annie. Ms. Lewis brings to life the Amish world. This first book in "Annie's People" series is a wonderful introduction to this wonderful community made up of not perfect people.
Official Reviewer for Romance Design
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Another Great Book by Beverly LewisOct. 30 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
At first, I didn't expect this book to be near as good as the Abram's Daughters series. However, by the end of the book I was proven wrong. I love how Ms. Lewis puts a little bit of mystery into her books that make you want to keep reading. I was quite suprised at the ending of this book! I wish the second one was out already. I loved reading about Louisa's attempt to fit into the Amish lifestyle. I have always been fascinated by it, as well, so it was interesting to read what it would truly be like to give up being a "fancy" girl, even for a little bit. This was a very entertaining read!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A sweet and interesting tale exploring the conflicts of an Amish womanDec 1 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
New York Times bestselling author Beverly Lewis has made a name for herself exploring the lives of Amish women, and in THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER, the first installment of her Annie's People series, she shows why she's become one of inspirational fiction's queens of the gentle read.
Where does responsibility to family, church, and community give way to an individual's God-given gifts and talents? Lewis explores this question through the character of 20-year-old Annie Zook, the daughter of an Old Order Amish preacher. Annie and her family live in a remote area of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, appropriately called "Paradise" (a real place, by the way). From her earliest years, Annie has loved to draw and paint, but at six, her father shamed her when she drew a black kitten. Since then, Annie has hidden her artwork from her family. She despairs of choosing between her art and her desire to be a dutiful daughter, and doesn't understand why her church has forced her into making this choice. "It annoys me no end that some Amish bishops allow for artistic expression, permitting their people to create and sell art, while our bishop does not."
There's more guilt. Although Annie loves Rudy Esh, she isn't willing to put aside her art, join the church, and marry him. He's moved on to a new sweetheart, and Annie finds herself obliged to be polite to them both, although she still cares for him.
It's impossible to carry a load of guilt like this alone, and Annie's safety valve is her pen-pal relationship of more than a decade with the newly engaged 22-year-old Louisa Stratford, an art teacher who lives in Colorado. Lewis compellingly shows how both women idealize the life of the other. Louisa, who's chafing against her mother's opulent wedding plans for her, finds that "Excessive extravagance had begun to slowly sicken her toward all she had grown accustomed to." Annie is convinced that Louisa has everything anyone could want since she's free to express herself through art; Louisa pines for the simplicity and tight-knit family ways of Annie's Plain folks' life.
The subplots create some nice parallel tension to Annie's narrative. Among these are the mysterious disappearance of a young child years ago, perceived rebellion against the church, unsuitable love interests, the long-term effects of tragedy on a family, and the abuse of a young mother. Readers new to Amish culture may be surprised by some of the controversies faced by the characters, especially the "rebellion" against her church by Esther Hochstetler for her belief that her salvation is sure.
The multiple storylines and points of view, part of Lewis's setting up the new series, are handled fairly adeptly, although two "prologues" may be a bit much. There are a few other quibbles. An emergency home birth is rather a cliché for fiction fans (how many novels has this scene been a part of?). Sometimes the description of food at each meal seems more like a menu than a natural part of the narrative ("Following a supper of lamb loaf, scalloped asparagus, buttered carrots, and homemade bread with Sarah Mae's blueberry jam, and topped off with Mamm's well-loved misty mint salad."), although some readers may find this to their liking. Plentiful adjectives describe each scene.
THE PREACHER'S DAUGHTER is a sweet tale told with Lewis's practiced hand and sure to delight her fans. Those new to Lewis's novels will especially enjoy the glimpses of Amish life and culture, while longtime fans will appreciate the start of a new series.
--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby. Contact Cindy at email@example.com.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Thrilled this is the first in a series!!Oct. 16 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
Annie Zook is wound up over the most important decision in her 20 year life - one that will commit her path for the rest of her life. Does she go forward with her passion for painting and the creative force that wells within her or does she get baptized into her Amish church? This is no small dilemma. As the dutiful daughter of an ordained minister, the community and her family look on her with high expectations, yet, if she does, her art will be forever denied. Can she live that way?
Her indecision has already cost her the lost of her first and only true love, Rudy Esh, and Annie is at a loss for what to do. Unexpectedly, she receives a letter from her longtime pen pal, 22-year-old Louisa Stratford, a renowned art teacher, who is facing her own difficulties and wants to visit her and her Amish community.
Arriving in her designer jeans and make-up, Louisa shocks Annie's family who is already afraid of the influence she will have on their daughter and community. Seeking time and distance to think about her own love and work problems, Louisa outwardly transforms and mingles in the Old Order Plain community while learning about their private, public and ceremonial life. Her humour and spunk supports Annie and others, but at what impact?
Though Louisa's eyes and actions, I delighted in the author's gentle humour as Louisa adapts to the austere lifestyle without electricity and modern conveniences while experiencing every aspect of life from the Plain style of dress (which is an expression of their faith) to the family order to take the Saturday night family bath. Beverley Lewis does a skillful and well-crafted job in bringing Annie's Amish community of Paradise to life. This is a very enjoyable read with well-drawn characters, an underlying intriguing mystery and moral dilemmas. At the end of the book, I just wanted to pick up another, so I was thrilled to learn that this is to be the first in a series.