Title: The Waiting (Lancaster County Secrets series)
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
My synopsis: This book is set in Pennsylvania in the mid-1960's in an Amish community. It centers around Jorie King. Jorie lives with her grandparents as the rest of her family has relocated to Canada. She helps her grandfather raise Percheron horses and has just accepted the school teacher position at the one-room school house for her Amish neighbors.
She has been waiting for Ben Zook, a boy she has loved since she was a teenager, to come back from Vietnam, finally join the church and ask her to marry him. He is serving in the military as a conscientious objector. Her best friend Mary Ann, is married to Ben's older brother Caleb. They have a little girl Maggie and also take care of the two youngest Zook brothers, Matthew and Ephraim. The Zook's parents were killed instantly when the buggy they were in was hit by a car. Caleb took over the farm and has been running it and taking care of his brothers ever since.
Mary Ann becomes ill and is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She is given just a matter of weeks to live. Before she dies, she tells Caleb that she wants him to marry Jorie, as she doesn't believe Ben will ever be the man Jorie needs him to be. Soon after that, word comes that Ben has been killed in Vietnam and his body cremated. Tragedy isn't over though as Mary Ann dies about a week after Ben's funeral.
As you can imagine, the whole family is left numb and in shock. Caleb can't seem to get back to any routine and is letting his duties as father as well as farmer slide. (Before Mary Ann became ill, he had been chosen as the new minister of the district as well). Well, you guessed it. Caleb soon proposes to Jorie because he knows it is what Mary Ann wanted and knows she would be good for Maggie and Ephraim. Jorie turns him down as she is looking for a proposal from the heart.
Jorie and Caleb continue to grow closer together and Jorie realizes she is falling in love with him. Those closest to them realize that they are perfect for each other. When Caleb works up the courage to ask Jorie to marry him (for the third time) she accepts. Before they can announce their engagement, trouble surfaces that throws all their lives in turmoil. Will Jorie end up with Caleb? or one who might need her even more?
My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this book and found myself picturing these characters in my mind as I was reading about them. (This would make a great Hallmark movie.) It was cool for me to actually be able to see the Amish in a different light. They may live simplier lives, but have the same emotions and complications of the heart as the English. There are still decisions to be made as to what one wants to do (or what God wants them to do) with their lives. Shoot, I struggle with this myself even as a grown woman with 3 children! I could relate to Jorie as a young woman finding herself falling in love and having complications and misunderstandings arise that seem to thwart her plans.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Donna at Baker Publishing.~
Waiting, The: A Novel (Lancaster County Secrets)
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Oct 2010