Missing, The Paperback – Sep 1 2009
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From the Inside Flap
BEVERLY LEWIS, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, is The New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books. Her stories have been published in nine languages worldwide. A keen interest in her mother's Plain heritage has inspired Beverly to write many Amish-related novels, beginning with The Shunning, which has sold more than one million copies. The Brethren was honored with a 2007 Christy Award. Beverly lives with her husband, David, in Colorado.
From the Back Cover
A Painful Absence, a Desperate Heart... Is It Too Late to Find Lettie Byler?
Grace Byler longs to uncover the secret that drove her mother to leave the family weeks ago. When all hopes are dashed for such a search, an unlikely friendship leads to a surprising invitation. Meanwhile, the young Amishman Grace thought was courting her best friend takes a sudden interest in her, and Grace's decision to remain single is challenged even as her determination to find her mother grows.
The Heart-Warming Sequel From New York Times Best-Selling Author Beverly Lewis
"No one does Amish-based inspirationals better than Lewis." Booklist
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Book 1 of the series was very promising, but Book 2, The Missing, feels like a stretched out chapter. Not much moves forward in this book; although the subplots plod along a bit, the overall plot is near-static. It feels like a bridge between the first and third books - you have to wonder if the writer was assigned a series and tried to stretch a story into three books, when one long one would have done just fine. It is a lot of saying the same things over and over and over. For me, to be marketed as a series, these books need to stand alone, or they should be labeled as Volume 1, 2 and 3. This book does not stand alone. I will be reading Book 3, and I certainly hope it is worth it.
Another small thing has bothered me throughout the series. I am a veterinary nurse; the writer needed to do some more research on livestock. We have a horse here, lying on her side for weeks. Horses cannot do that or they die. (You keep them on their feet, injured leg or not; that is why an injured leg is so critical.) And there is a lot of interference with ewes trying to give birth. In these books, the humans hover around like it's a delivery room, when in reality there would be little human intervention unless a lamb is apt to be rejected and starve, or freeze. This hovering would be stressing the animals something terrible. There is plenty to do in a sheep operation, but it doesn't involve that. The writer implies that hooves are trimmed only when it's shearing time. That is interesting. Most goats and sheep are trimmed much more frequently. And we have no feel for whether these are sheep grown for wool or for meat. (Yes, different breeds are for different uses!) In Lewis' mind, sheep are sheep are sheep. Curiously, no one ever gets slaughtered or sold. This farmer seems to have no idea that he can use the skin of a dead lamb to entice another ewe into adopting a rejected lamb - ANY sheep farmer knows this! Instead these men are carrying lambs around like babies stuffing bottles into their mouths - which in actuality would be a last resort. And birthing at this farm is very predictable. I had to laugh at the vision of this farmer scrambling around to make a bed for a given ewe to give birth! In reality, it is predictable within a few days - but not the exact day, and sheep generally give birth in the pasture. This must all sound very picky, but it drove me crazy. Anyone who grew up on a farm would be senstive to these innaccuracies, and it is grating. It seems that it would not have been difficult to do some more homework and make the farm scene more authentic and true. No wonder the men in this book are always exhausted - they are acting like mother hens around these sheep! Sure, you need to be checking to make sure each baby (which represents money) is going to be okay. But the majority are, and hovering stresses the sheep out! Again, if you are going to write about a livestock operation, do some homework.
The author seems to push natural methods for treatment for cancer. I don't have a problem with that. Having had family who have gone through aggressive chemo and the chemo maybe prolonging life for a few months, but that life being very ravaged by the chemo - one has to wonder if maybe the holistic methods might offer as good as chance of survival, or at least, a more pleasant existence for the time one has left.
Besides the issue of cancer, issues addressed in the book include communication in marriage, effects of marriage disharmony on family, unwed births and the hole left in the mother's life, adoption and the damage secrets do on both the person and family.