The Bachelor By Stephanie Reed

Seventeen old Betsie Troyer, and her teenage brother and sister, Abijah and Sadie, are left to fend for themselves when their parents leave the Amish faith and move away. They are faced with the shame of their parent’s shunning because they accepted Christ as their Savior. The children pray fervently that their parents will see the error of their ways and return. In the mean time they must carry on with Betsy trying to be both father and mother to her siblings. The pressure she faces is incredible.
Charley, Betsie’s intended beau since childhood, comes frequently to assist with the chores and repairs that require a man. He seems sincerely devoted in helping her, but is he? Michael, an Englisher friend of many years who has moved away continues to write her. She treasures his friendship, as he truly understands her.
To add to her already heavy load, a man she has worked for in the past leaves his 12 year old daughter Shelia to stay with the Troyers. He is leaving town to try and bring his wife back that has left them. This creates conflict not only with her siblings, but also with her church and Charley. A shocking tragedy reveals who really has Betsie’s best interest at heart.
Just when I thought no one could come up with an Amish novel with a unique story line, Ms. Reed has managed to! Most of the time it is the youth leaving the church for the world, but this time it is the parents. I was shocked and upset with her parents for abandoning their children. Especially with all the responsibilities that are a part of an Amish household.
The story was made even more interesting by all the details of the situations the author so vividly describes. So much so in fact, I felt pressure with all Betsie was dealing with! She was a brave and dedicated young woman, but there were so many decisions that she needed her parent’s wisdom for. All in all, she does an incredible job.
The characters were interesting. I enjoyed Shelia. Her youthful innocence, candidness and strong, childlike Christian faith unaffected by others, was delightful! Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength . . .” aptly describes this little lady!
As the story progresses, the integrity and motives of each individual was gradually revealed. I liked this because it added suspense, and excitement to the plot. I was inspired by Betsie’s taking every problem and decision to the Lord in prayer. She continued trusting and asking even though circumstances seemed unchanged. Through her trials she begins making her own choices separate from the opinions of other and the rules of her culture.
I did not read the previous book but I feel this one stood alone. I look forward to reading it and the 3rd sequel to come in 2016. Well written, entertaining and hard to put down!
I received this book free from the publisher through Kregel Publications which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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