Fiction — print. Ballantine Books, 2013. 370 pgs. Review copy.
Being the first responder on the scene of a tragic highway collision gives nursing student Haley Donovan the confidence she needs to be the kind of nurse she has always wanted to be. The experience introduces her to Lancaster County’s tight-knit Amish community of Halfway and allows her and psychologist Dylan Monroe to bring counseling services to the community torn apart by following this accident.
Elsie Lapp, owner of Halfway’s country store, once served as the source of cheer and goodwill for her community and her customers. But the crash combined turns her attitude inside out isolating her away from everyone but Ruben Zook. Yet Elsie’s dwarfism keeps her from connecting with Ruben in the way her father, her family, and her heart wants her to.
I started this book before bed expecting to read a few pages before following asleep. Instead, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning turning page after page in order to find some semblance of happy and happiness in this tragic tale. I certainly plan to read more of Lauer’s books as this was exactly what I needed following my long excursion into Westeros and the land beyond the Wall.
The book is rather evenly split between the story of Haley and Elsie, and while Haley grabbed my attention at the beginning of the tale, I ultimately wished the Englishers had taken more of a backseat to the Amish in this story. The complicated, emotional stories of Elsie and Ruben deserved way more attention than the portions dedicated to them at the end of this novel, particularly the story surrounding Ruben’s disfigurement.