This Amish novel was very different to me. I always pictured the Amish as staying in one place for their entire lives, never making a harrowing journey by wagon train to start a new life. Very thought-provoking!
The Schrock family has decided to move to Indiana from Pennsylvania. The promise of more and better farmland at good prices is the lure. Plus an Amish community has already been started there. It is courageous not only because of the dangers of the journey but they will be starting from scratch, nothing but land.
Friends, family, and some friends from the past come to join them. Mattie is excited to go. She has had a wanderlust for long time, to see the world and have adventure. Not the norm for a young Amish girl.
Jacob Yoder and his family come to be a part of the wagon train. He knew Mattie from when they lived in the same community. She has always had a part of his heart. Mattie finds herself drawn to Jacob too, but struggles with becoming the typical Amish wife and staying in one place forever or fulfilling her dream of travel. Faith, family, and the simple lifestyle are ingrained in her, but her youthfulness finds many temptations. One such temptation is a dark haired, wicked thief, one of three brothers that continue to follow them to steal their horses. She finds herself dangerously enticed by him.
The story gives explicit details of the life and hardships of wagon travel in the 1840’s. I learned so much!! I was awed by how they took the difficulties in stride. The travel was hard by itself, but caring for children, cooking, unexpected illness, and hazards were dealt with matter-of-factly. I found it heartwarming how everyone helped each other and if you were lacking another shared what they had.
Their strong faith was their driving force and they never questioned or wavered. This would explain their success against some insurmountable odds.
The novel brought to light spiritual struggles we face today. One was Mattie’s discontentment with what they Lord had provided. Her unhappiness had nothing to do with her situation or others, but within herself. It took some very hard lessons and a lot of prayer for Mattie to see she had all she needed.
A major highlight for me was seeing true forgiveness. This is something people battle every day. The entire Amish group not only forgave them men that tried to harm with and steal, but helped them when they were in need. What a sterling example that forgiveness is a choice.
Life in the trail was hard and fraught with numerous unexpected problems and hazards. The people did not shrink back or complain. Without questioning, the people dealt with each one trusting wholly in God. This book was exciting, historically educational, and very entertaining!
I received this book free from Revell Publishing.