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Posted February 4, 2014
Caught at a Crossroads ¿ Choices, Consequences, Conscience, and
Caught at a Crossroads – Choices, Consequences, Conscience, and Self-Discovery
Award winning author Barbara Cameron introduces Elizabeth Bontrager in her book “A Road Unknown,” the first in the new “Amish Road” series of novels, based on the traditions of the Amish. Elizabeth is at a crossroad. The practices of her faith allow for a “rumschpringe” an opportunity to live outside of the protection of the community for a time before embracing the Amish way of life and joining the church.
Unsettled at home and responsible for the caring of her younger siblings, Elizabeth opts to join her friend Paula in Paradise, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth’s physical attractiveness, simple innocence, curious nature, polite manners, shyness, and spiritual inner beauty are quickly noticed by Paula’s friend Bruce, and by Saul Miller, the supervisor who helped her get a job at a store selling Amish products in the local community.
As the two young competitors vie for her attention Elizabeth is faced with uncertainty, and feelings of ambivalence; she realizes Bruce is looking for more than friendship while her feelings toward Saul are deepening. She is also experiencing an overwhelming sense of homesickness. She is again at a crossroads. She now has another choice to make; to pursue making a life for herself in Paradise with the possibility of romance or to return to the love and responsibility of the family and a commitment to the church.
Cameron brilliantly uses the dialog in the development a strong character driven plot. Her characters become three dimensional as they show growth in self-awareness, work through conflict resolution, and a commitment to deeply engrained spiritual convictions.
“A Road Unknown” is written for anyone who is working through the uncertainties of relationships, life’s circumstances, and the conflicts that arise while reexamining inner convictions and matters of faith, family, and destiny. Cameron’s writing is provocative, soul-searching, and inspirational without losing the heartwarming entertainment value of well written fiction.
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Posted June 27, 2014
I enjoyed going with Elizabeth on her journey. She basically jum
I enjoyed going with Elizabeth on her journey. She basically jumped on a bus after some quick good-byes to family, and ventured into the unknown to start living her own life. She meets Saul in a sweet way, and they slowly build a friendship as a foundation for something more. Paula is one of my favorite characters- what a loyal and supportive friend through all of the transition Elizabeth goes through. The message that God watches over each of us was inspirational.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
(Thank you to Abingdon Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)
Posted March 16, 2014
In Barbara Cameron's new series, Amish Roads, we meet three youn
In Barbara Cameron's new series, Amish Roads, we meet three young women during a coming-of-age time in their lives called rumschpringe, a time which becomes one of resistance and contemplation of staying - or leaving - the Amish community.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Book one's title, A Road Unknown, is descriptive of what Elizabeth faces as she leaves her home and community to room with her Englisch friend, Paula. While I have no idea what the responsibility of taking care of several younger siblings would feel like, a lot of us can surely identify with Elizabeth's frustration, that feeling of wanting to be independent, understand what God is calling her to, and freely use the talents and abilities He has given her. Barbara knows how to tell a sweet, entertaining story and I've always enjoyed her easily-flowing writing style.
Saul is such a likeable character, a young man who enjoyed working in the Amish craft store his father started. Saul cared about his parents, and he cared about his community - always searching for special products or crafts and helping to find a market for them. I enjoyed seeing the growing attraction, friendship and trust between Saul and Elizabeth.
The friendship between Elizabeth and the Englisch Paula is another delightful theme. "Sometimes family was made of those you were connected to through birth and sometimes, Elizabeth thought, it was made of people like Paula." Having a day off was a rarity to Elizabeth, and she hardly knew what to do with herself. Although Paula's apartment survived, the results are hilarious! Barbara did a great job at blending the Amish and Englisch worlds, and I found the honesty of Elizabeth's character refreshing - her feelings of being tired and wanting to escape responsibility of helping with younger siblings.
I loved how the symbolism of a sparrow was woven throughout the story, reminding Elizabeth about God's provision and the comfort that gave her . . . for "If He cared about little creatures like a sparrow, she felt He'd provide for her, too. Parents did it for their children and He was, after all, her Father." I couldn't help but think of the words of the beautiful hymn, His eyes are on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Just as Elizabeth faced the struggles of growing up, her parents needed to learn to let go and allow her to find her own way - and this is something that all parents eventually have to deal with.
I would describe A Road Unknown as a cozy, comfortable read - not a lot of action or adventure - but one that I enjoyed very much. The ending felt abrupt, but I hope to see more of Saul and Elizabeth in the next book, Crossroads, which comes out in August 2014. Recommended to fans of Amish fiction.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Posted February 25, 2014
Elizabeth is an easy character to get to know and like. As the
Elizabeth is an easy character to get to know and like. As the oldest child in a family of nine children she has been helping to care for her younger siblings and do chores for years and has felt like she is never going to get to live her own life. She has not had the time to go to singings or to meet a suitor. Her favorite time of the day is when she goes to work at a fabric store, and even then she has to hand her paycheck over to her parents. She wonders if she is being selfish or if it is normal to want to have a life of her own. Through corresponding with an Englisch friend she made over the summer, Elizabeth decides to move from Goshen, Indiana to Paradise, Pennsylvania to start living for herself. Her parents are shocked and her grandmother thinks she is the most ungrateful child, but she still boards a bus. While waiting on the bus she looks for signs from God as to whether she should stay or go and sees some birds outside the bus window. The birds don't worry about being selfish, they know that God will provide for them and she relaxes a bit more with her decision.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Living in Paradise is different from how she has lived before. Paula has a dishwasher! Elizabeth is a good roommate, sharing chores and being a friend and finds a job very quickly in a shop that sells Amish goods. She makes friends and finds joy in sewing herself a new dress on a borrowed sewing machine. Now she had four dresses to choose from!
Two men vie for her attention, on Englisch and one Amish. She has decisions to make and relies on her belief in God to guide her to the right path. Elizabeth has believed in the church teachings all along, she just wanted to freedom to make her own way within the church parameters and to have a say in her own life. the growing and changing she does by taking a stand and being her own person give her the personal growth she needs to make the right choice and be herself.