The Brethren by Beverly Lewis

brethrenWithin the first five pages of the third and final novel in Lewis’ Annie’s People series, I was kicking myself for being so oblivious. The mysterious disappearance of Isaac, Zeke’s younger brother, that was dragged out throughout the first two books was cleared up within the first five pages of this one. Then the reader is left wondering how Lewis could possible fill up an additional 347 pages of this book to finish the series when she did so within the first five pages — and she can’t.

The ending falls flat on its face, and the book as a whole feels like Lewis wrote the whole thing as one story, imposed a page limit on herself, and the when she went over the limit when she split the manuscript in two, threw in a whole lot of fluff to reach the right page count.

One of the things I liked about this series was the struggle to decide whether or not to stay with the Amish, but Lewis makes this decision easier for Annie {and Ben} in the end. Sam, Louisa’s beau, is unceremoniously thrown out, which is against his character, and you can forget about seeing Louisa in this novel — she’s rarely mentioned and clearly got the short-end of the stick when it comes to the narrative.

While I realize that Lewis’ book is technically classified as “Christian fiction,” which has never really been my thing, The Brethren is only book in this series where Lewis’ beliefs become a central part of the novel. Annie, Ben, Esther, Zeke, and Louisa all decide to be Disciples of Christ, which is against Amish beliefs, as “secret believers” within the community or believers in their “fancy” lives. Something that also bugged me was Louisa’s Palm; I’m quite sure that Lewis has no idea what a Palm Pilot is.

Still, there’s quite a bit about Old Order and New Order Amish that I found fascinating, and there is more of an authentic feel to this book, and this series, compared to other books about the Amish I’ve read.

Book Mentioned:

  • Lewis, Beverly. The Brethren. Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House, 2006. Print. 352 pgs. ISBN: 9780764202315. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Bethany House. Retrieved: April 29, 2010.
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