Book One of The Rose Trilogy
Beverly Lewis is queen of the Amish Fiction genre having been the first author to set her stories in Amish communities before there was even the genre. Knowing this and having read nearly all of her Amish stories, I was a little disappointed and dismayed when I read the first 3 or 4 chapters of this book. It seemed to take an awfully long time for the story to really get rolling and I was even becoming quite irritated by a couple of the characters who seemed to be revisiting the same issues and repeating the same words again and again. For example, “my precious Mattie Sue” or “Mattie Sue’s sweet voice” or “her daughter’s sweet face” seemed to be popping up continually making me feel that the book was maybe too sweet to take. I persevered and by the last few pages of the book, I was already dreading to turn the next page for fear it would be the last. I was once again distressed that I’d have to wait until April, 2011, for the second book of the series to arrive in stores. (The Judgement, The Rose Trilogy #2)
Why the book is named The Thorn seems to have more to do with the “Rose” trilogy name than it does with the actual story material. Strange.
The main 2 characters, the sisters, Rose and Hen are the best developed out of all. The story revolves around each of their lives and how they intersect at the family home. While we are privileged to hear what each is thinking and feeling through out the story, we are not so privileged to see the thoughts and actions of the other characters. Rose is at one point questioning if she really knows Nick at all and I was wondering the same thing – do I, as reader, know what Nick is like? Silas is another that is difficult to know – what is it about him that Rose likes? He seems to be fairly personality-less. What is really going on with their mother and why does her Mamm treat her like a child again?
As for other characters, I was somewhat surprised about the character of Brandon as he seems to clearly depict an emotionally abusive husband what with the newspaper article on ADD and insinuating that Hen had ADD. The sneers, sarcastic responses never mind the manipulative puppy incident all seem to support the idea of an abusive person. I’m not sure if this is what Beverly Lewis is intending or if she is just trying to illustrate how difficult he is and the difficult road Hen has before her. While I may cringe and think it awful for him to accuse Hen of not being home to cook his dinner, other readers may see this as a normal expectation between husbands and wives. Such a viewpoint would likely change the interpretation of the character of Brandon.
Some readers might argue that Brandon has a right to be angry because he married a girl who definitely did not want to be Amish and then here she is 5 years later and is seeking her Amish roots once again. Doesn’t he have a right to expect her to maintain her attitude of indifference or remain a despiser of Amish life, insisting they raise their daughter in his modern world? My answer would be a resounding no, but that’s because I come from a much more emphatic Christian feminist view.
Anyways, I digress. Stepping down from my soap box now.
Besides the main plot lines of Hen being inexplicably drawn back to her Amish roots and facing her husband’s opposition and Rose’s relationships with Nick and Silas, there are a few sub plots that are interesting like the mystery about the house Rose cleans and the mysterious buggy disaster leaving Rose and Hen’s mother ill. The mystery around the conflict between brothers Nick and Christian was intriguing and made me wonder what Christian wanted to talk to Rose about so urgently. I was also wondering what nefarious things Hen’s husband, Brandon, was into with the cryptic phone messages. I was disappointed that very few (one, I believe) of the plot lines were ever resolved. I guess that’s why there is a book 2, but I wish that the book took less time gathering steam and had more on the intense action – and not just near the end.
That was the long about the novel, The Thorn. The short of it is that it is another great Amish book by Beverly Lewis and if you’re a fan you will love it.
But caution, dear readers, Beverly Lewis may have created the genre of Amish Christian Fiction, but there are several other authors rising as stars in their own right.
Tracy’s Pick of the Best Reviews