The Sound of Distant Thunder By Jan Drexler

This book is a very unusual historical fiction. Many of the Amish steadfast beliefs are well known and one of those is non-resistance concerning military service. Any form of violence even self-defense is avoided. The story is centered around the time of the Civil War. When men in Jonas’s community were drafted the elders received permission to pay $200 per man to excuse them from fighting. Twenty year old Jonas has been hearing a lot about the war on slavery, even sneaking newspapers to learn more. His heart becomes conflicted between the principles his faith holds dear and what he believes God would have him do. His brother, Samuel, boasts that if he were drafted he would not pay the fine because it would be contributing to the war. You guessed it, his name is drawn. His bravado turns to fear. Not only would he have to leave his wife and children, but if he went to fight he would be shunned. Jonas having settled what he should do tells his brother he will take his place.
Jonas has no doubt he is doing the right thing, but his sweetheart Katie is heartbroken. All that stood between them being married is her 18th birthday and him finishing their home he is building. As with any man going to war it is horrific for his family, but in this case the family is even more distraught because they believe the young soldier is sinning against God.
I admired Jonas’s courage not only to go battle but also facing his family’s disapproval to do as he felt God led him. The historical detail was incredible. What had a great impact on me was seeing the eyes of not only the world but war’s horrific experiences through the eyes of an innocent, sheltered young man. My heart ached for Katie, waiting at home, fearing the worst and facing some battles of her own without her beloved Jonas. I saw both of them grow up quickly in many ways. There are also unexpected twists and turns you won’t want to miss. A wonderful heartfelt read.

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