Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Guardian

(Bethany House Publishers - March 26, 2013)


Beverly Lewis


Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, The Heritage of Lancaster County, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life.

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Beverly's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and spending time with their family. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."


When schoolteacher Jodi Winfield goes for a morning run, the last thing she expects is to find a disheveled little girl all alone on the side of the Pennsylvania road, clad only in her undergarments, her chubby cheeks streaked with tears. Jodi takes the preschooler home with her, intending to find out where she belongs. But Jodi is mystified when no one seems to know of a missing child, and the girl herself is no help, since she can't speak a word of English. It's as if the child appeared out of nowhere.

As the days pass, Jodi becomes increasingly attached to the mysterious girl, yet she is no closer to learning her identity. Then an unexpected opportunity brings Jodi to Hickory Hollow--and into the cloistered world of the Lancaster Old Order Amish. Might the answers lie there?


I instantly connected with this book, and especially Maryanna, as I unknowingly lost my then three-year-old daughter in the middle of a busy theme park. We were separated for maybe all of twenty minutes but to a frantic mother it seemed like an eternity. We both had a happy ending with a safe return of our children, but to this day I still have thoughts of what it could have been like to not have found her.

Jodi is facing hardship of her own...the loss of her sister and her beau heading to a foreign country to teach for a year...and has put God at arms' length. She is taking time away at her cousin's house in Lancaster County to regroup and prepare for her return to teaching in the fall. Her path changes in the course of a day, when she goes for a run to clear her mind and finds a missing child instead.

Jodi being at the right place at the right time seems providential in the return of young Sarah, and I love how Maryanna says this, "The Lord knew all about this day long before Sarah was even born - and all the many prayers God heard and answered." Little does Jodi know that her being a "guardian angel" for Sarah and meeting the Esh family have put her in a position not only where she is an answer to prayer, but other's prayers for her may be answered as well.

Amish fans will once again be delighted as Beverly Lewis returns them once again to Hickory Hollow. Even though there are some recurring characters, this series doesn't have to be read in succession, so even if readers haven't read "The Fiddler" or "The Bridesmaid" they won't miss a thing if they pick up this title first.

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and Bethany House Publishers for generously providing a copy of this novel for my review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Guardian, go HERE.

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