I eagerly snatched up the second book in Lewis’ Annie’s People series, after the first book, The Preacher’s Daughter, left me yearning for more. This sequel picks up right where the first book left off, but don’t expect The Englisher to solve all problems left from The Preacher’s Daughter — it answers none and only adds more.
Annie has promised her father she would never paint again and would take the kneed, baptismal acceptance of her faith, but she begins to fall for the Englisher, Ben. Louisa, Annie’s longtime pen-pal, struggles to decide between her “fancy” life and becoming Amish, an idea that both entices her and worries her as she falls for an Amish boy, Sam. Jesse, Annie’ father, forces Esther back together with her troubled husband, Zeke, who is still traumatized by the disappearance of his younger brother, Isaac, much to the chagrin of Annie’s Mennonite cousins, Julia and Irvin.
Lewis’ novel still retains the struggling mash-up of people that its predecessor had, and the flaws in Lewis’ writing become more abundantly clear — run-on sentences, sentences without verbs, and overly simple sentences — but more of the Amish culture is explored in this novel. Every book about the Amish has had a bann, or shunning, amongst its pages, but The Englisher looks more at why the Amish do what they do through the stories of Annie — who struggles with the obedience required of her because of her sex — and Louisa and Ben, both outsiders who fall in love with Amish and struggle with the idea of forcing themselves to leave everything they know or demanding that of the one they love.
The novel also served as a bridge between the first and third novels rather than a true stand-alone novel, and I’m so grateful that I thought ahead and checked out the third book, The Brethren.
- Lewis, Beverly. The Englisher. Grand Rapids, MI: Beverly House, 2006. Print. 344 pgs. ISBN: 9780764202162. Source: Library.