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Monday, June 18, 2012

Leaving Lancaster

When Esther Gingerich left her Amish community in Lancaster, PA during her rumspringa, with the love of her life Samuel Fisher, the rest of their family expected them to return. Yet they didn't. Instead, they headed for a completely new life in San Francisco and would later move to Seattle where life again would take an unexpected turn. In this case, Samuel would be drafted into the Vietnam War and would never be found again. He would remain forever Missing in Action, just like Esther and Samuel did when they left their families.

Now many years later, Esther receives word from her ailing mother, Anna to return home to help take care of her before the rest of the family sells the farm and moves to Montana to begin a new life all over again. If Esther can only find a way to tell her daughter, Holly, that everything she has believed up to this point has been a complete lie. How funny that she would fail to tell her about her Amish upbringing while running an Amish Shoppe? Or that her grandmother is still living when she was told she was dead? How can she ever find a way to return home and expect Holly to come with her?

In the novel, Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd, Esther has to find a way to return home and face up to the past she's not only been lying about, but also running away from. Holly has a right to get to know the family she has hidden from her including many grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. But will it be as easy as believing that the Amish are so easy to forgive her, or will there be no place for Esther and Holly to return to. Just how sick is her mother anyway and why does she want them to come home now? This is truly a story about forgiveness and what the seeds of bitterness will grow if we allow them to continue uninterrupted in our lives. It is a wonderful story of starting new chapters in our lives and learning the importance of family, of putting aside grudges and accepting forgiveness.

I received Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd compliments of David C Cook Publishers and Net Galley for my honest review. Too often we can't see beyond our anger and resentment to see what we are missing if we are willing to let go and forgive. This novel does the perfect job at that through the alternating chapters that Esther and Holly share in this Amish fiction, conveying for the reader just what each of them in going through as they work towards resolving their own issues. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my personal opinion and loved how the story finally ended.

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