Hope in the Land, Olivia Newport.
This is an Amish lifestyle story with a bit of a difference – it’s set in the Depression, and documents a time when Amish and Englische alike were finding times difficult. The story revolves around the family and community where Polly Grabill lives. Polly is the eldest daughter trying to play her part in the running of the family farm, but not really cut out for the farming life. Their Englische neighbours, the Swains are struggling to keep their business afloat, though wife Minerva doesn’t appreciate how close to collapse they are, and is keen to keep up appearances. Add another Englischer to the mix when government agent Henry Edison turns up in a dilapidated car to interview local farmers to report on how efficient they are.
Things soon start to get complex when Polly’s love interest, Thomas, seems to become distant, food begins to disappear from the farm, and Henry needs help with his interviews and record keeping.
This is an engaging book – easy to read and straightforward despite the apparent complexities of the plot. I haven’t read any work from this author before, but will certainly look for more; this novel doesn’t end with the usual resolution for all concerned, looking to me very much like it is setting the scene for a series of books following the fortunes of the main characters. I look forward to future stories – the characters are likeable (mostly) and varied – potential for at least four or five spin off novels, I think.
Thanks are due to the publishers, Barbour Publishing Inc. for providing a pre-release copy via Netgalley for review.