Friday, October 11, 2013

"the bargain" by stephanie reed

About the book (from Amazon): Book one in the Plain City Peace series.

It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.

Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.

Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?

My take: These days, it seems that Amish books are a dime a dozen. So what makes Stephanie Reed's new novel stand out from the crowd? Two things: first, the novel is set during the Vietnam War. Never before have I read an Amish novel set during that time period. Second, the novel begins with Betsie's parents leaving the Amish because they have found Christ. Not many Amish books point out the legalism that is rampant in the religion, and Reed isn't afraid to make it clear that many Amish follow "the rules" while having no idea what it means to have a relationship with Christ. Those two aspects made this novel very intriguing to me.

Honestly, I didn't enjoy Betsie very much at first because I was so frustrated with her insistence that the Amish way was the only way to God. Yet she did grow on me as she began to show some chinks in that armor, enjoying the Englisch way of life and becoming close to the Sullivan family. And, eventually, she began building her own relationship with God. I will be interested to see where her story takes her—and the Sullivans—next.

The Bargain is book one in the Plain City Peace series, and it ends rather abruptly ... making me anxious for the release of the second book! If you're looking for a book that isn't your typical Amish romance, The Bargain is the book for you!

My rating: 4 stars

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my review of Reed's Across the Wide River.

About the author: Stephanie Reed lives on the outskirts of Plain City, Ohio, site of a once-thriving Amish community. She gleans ideas for her novels from signs glimpsed along the byways of Ohio, as she did for her previous books, Across the Wide River and The Light Across the River.

Learn more at Stephanie's website:

About the giveaway:  Stephanie L. Reed is celebrating the release of The Bargain, the first book in her new series, Plain City Peace, with a Kindle Fire 'Bargain Bundle' giveaway!
  One winner will receive a 'Bargain Bundle':
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Bargain by Stephanie Reed
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 27th. Winner will be announced at the Litfuse blog on October 28th.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the Litfuse blog on the 28th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to their blog {enter your email in the blog sidebar} and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox)!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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