The Covenant (Abram's Daughters Series #1)

The Covenant (Abram's Daughters Series #1)

4.3 192
by Beverly Lewis
     
 

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Book 1 of Abram's Daughters series from bestselling author Beverly Lewis. Years of secrecy bind the tiny community of Gobbler's Knob together more than the present inhabitants know, and the Plain folk who farm the land rarely interact with the fancy locals. So when Sadie is beguiled by a dark-haired English boy, it is Sadie's younger sister, Leah, who suffers from…  See more details below

Overview

Book 1 of Abram's Daughters series from bestselling author Beverly Lewis. Years of secrecy bind the tiny community of Gobbler's Knob together more than the present inhabitants know, and the Plain folk who farm the land rarely interact with the fancy locals. So when Sadie is beguiled by a dark-haired English boy, it is Sadie's younger sister, Leah, who suffers from her sister's shameful loss of innocence. And what of Leah's sweetheart, Jonas Mast, sent to Ohio under the Bishop's command? Drawn into an incomprehensible pact with her older sister, Leah finds her dreams spinning out of control, even as she clings desperately to the promises of God. The Covenant begins a powerful Lancaster portrait of the power of family and the miracle of hope.\

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Inspirational novelist Lewis begins Abram's Daughters, a Lancaster County series about four Amish sisters, in the tradition of her previous novels. It should please her fans, while not offering much in the way of fresh material. It's 1946 in Gobbler's Knob, Pa., and Sadie Ebersol and her sister, Leah, are exploring the joys of "rumschpringe" the period of relaxed rules and running around that Amish teens enjoy prior to their baptism into the church. Tomboy Leah's first love is Jonas Mast, but her father Abram has determined she'll marry Gideon Peachey, whose father's farm adjoins the Ebersols'. Her beautiful sister Sadie's defiance crosses the boundaries when she becomes involved with Englischer Derek Schwartz. Heartache is inevitable. The dialect (perty, redd, Dat, ach, wonderful-gut, jah) is as dense as sugar cream pie, as are the italicized terms. There are further challenges for the reader: multiple points of view and cumbersome Amish definitions make the novel a bumpy read for the uninitiated. The characters are flat and unchanging, and the plot functions mostly as a setup for the series. There are factual errors, as when Ebersol's home garden produce stand features early spring vegetables in the month of August. Several events, including a hidden pregnancy that remains unobserved by the family until almost the eighth month, require enormous suspension of disbelief, and readers will see the key plot developments coming from the earliest pages. However, none of these troubles may deter Lewis's enthusiastic audience. (Sept.) Forecast: With nearly three million novels sold, Lewis is a staple on the CBA bestseller charts. Bethany plans a major marketing push for the new series.\
Library Journal
Fans of Lewis's "Heritage of Lancaster County" trilogy will cheer her return to Amish country with this new series. When the teenage daughters of Abram Ebersol begin courting during the summer of 1946, Sadie furtively sees smooth-talking, nonAmish Derry, who impregnates and then abandons her. After keeping her pregnancy hidden from all but her younger sister Leah and Aunt Lizzie, Sadie goes into premature labor, and Derry's father is the doctor called in to help. At the same time, Leah defies her father, who has chosen her future husband, by becoming engaged to Jonas Mast. Meanwhile, younger twin sisters Hannah and Mary Ruth struggle with their own hopes and fears for the future, and a fifth daughter is born to mother Ida. Unfortunately, Lewis's scattershot approach focuses too briefly on too many characters, making it hard for the reader to keep them straight. It's also difficult to be sympathetic to a family who weaves its own web of deception, but Lewis is a master of eliciting empathy for characters caught in troubles of their own making. The Amish community with all of its intricacies is vibrantly drawn (Lewis grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country), and the tension between it and the encroaching English world is palpable. "Jahe" readers will be impatient for the continuation, even if it won't be "perty." Recommended for all collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.\

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780764227172
Publisher:
Bethany House Publishers
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Series:
Abram's Daughters Series, #1
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.44(w) x 8.78(h) x 1.07(d)

Read an Excerpt

After the noon meal Leah helped Sadie wash and dry each one of the kerosene lamp chimneys in the house. The glass tubes had been rather cloudy last evening during Bible reading and evening prayers, and Leah and Mamma had both noticed the light was too soft and misty because of it. Dat hadn't complained at all, though he did have to adjust his reading glasses repeatedly, scooting close to the lamp in the kitchen, where they'd all gathered just before twilight, the back door flung wide, along with all the windows, coaxing the slightest breeze into the warm house.

"We really oughta clean these every day," Leah said, handing one to Sadie for drying. "No sense Dat struggling to see the Good Book, jah?"

Sadie nodded halfheartedly.

"Are you going out again tonight?" Leah whispered.

Sadie's eyes gave a sharp warning. "Ach, not now ..."

Glancing over her shoulder, Leah saw that Mamma was dusting the furniture in the sunroom. "Cleanliness is next to godliness," Mamma liked to say constantly. Hannah and Mary Ruth had run outside to hose off the back porch and sidewalk.

"You'll break Mamma's heart if you're sneaking out with English boys, ya know," she said softly.

"How do you know what I'm doin'?"

"I saw you come home last night—saw what you were wearing, too." But before she could ask where on earth Sadie had gotten such a getup, Mamma returned, and that brought a quick end to their conversation.

Leah washed the rest of the chimneys, turning her thoughts to the Preaching service tomorrow. Will Gid single me out again before the common meal? she wondered. He had been more thanforthright with his intentions toward her before, though discreetly enough. Yet she knew he was counting the weeks till she was old enough to attend Sunday singings. And so was she, but for a far different reason. "I'll be first in line to ask you to ride home with me," he'd said to her out in the barnyard two Sundays ago, when it was her family's turn to have house church.

Speechless at the time, she wished the Lord might give her something both wise and kind to say. To put him off gently. But not one word had come to mind and she just stood there, fidgeting while the smithy's only son grinned down at her.

What she was really looking forward to was next Sunday—the off-Sunday between church meetings—when the People spent the day visiting relatives. Mamma was awful eager to go to Grasshopper Level and see the Mast cousins again. It had been several months.

Leah remembered precisely where she was standing in the barn when Dat had given her the news of the visit. Looking down, in the haymow, she'd stopped short, holding her pitchfork just so in front of her, half leaning on it while she willed her heart to slow its pace.

She smiled, fondly recalling the first time she'd ever talked with Jonas. The two of them had nearly missed out on supper, standing out in the milk house talking about birds, especially the colorful varieties that lived on Aunt Lizzie's side of the woods, near where the wild flowers grew. She had told him her favorite was the bluebird. Jonas had wholeheartedly agreed, his blue eyes searching hers. And for a moment, she nearly forgot he was three years older. He was Sadie's age. Yet, unlike any other boy, he seemed to know and understand her heart—who Leah truly was. Not a tomboy, but a real girl.

In all truth, she hadn't experienced such a thing with anyone ever in her life. Not with Sadie, for sure. And not so much with Mamma, though on rare occasions her mother had opened up a bit. Hannah and Mary Ruth had each other and were constantly whispering private conversations. Only with Aunt Lizzie and Adah Peachey, Gid's younger sister, could Leah share confidentially.

So she and Jonas had a special something between them, which was too bad. At least Mamma would think so if she knew, because young women weren't supposed to open up much to young men, unless, of course, they were being courted or were married.

Just now, Sadie glanced nervously toward the sunroom, where Mamma was still busy dusting. "Walk me to the outhouse," Sadie whispered to Leah.

"What for?"

"Never mind, just come." Sadie led the way, through the utility room and enclosed porch, then down the back steps, past the twins, who laughed as they worked.

Silently they walked, till Sadie said, turning quickly, "Listen, if ya must know, I think I'm falling in love."

"In love? Ach, Sadie, who with?"

"Shh! He lives down the road a ways. His name is Derry."

"So, I'm right then, a fancy boy." Leah wanted to turn around right now and head back to the house. She didn't want to hear another filthy word. "What's happened to you? English boys are big trouble. You oughta know from going to high school and all."

"You sound too much like Dat."

"Well, somebody's got to talk sense to you! Having a wild rumschpringe's one thing, Sadie, but whatever ya do, don't go outside the boundaries of the Ordnung."

Sadie's eyes were ablaze. "Say whatcha want, but zip your lip."

"Maybe I should tell."

Their eyes locked. Sadie leaned closer. "You have a secret, too, Leah."

"Are you threatening me?"

"Call it what you will, but if Mamma finds out about me, I'll know it came from you. And if you go and tell Mamma on me, I'll tell Dat on you. And if Dat finds out you hope to marry Jonas 'stead of Smithy Gid, he'll put a stop to it."

Leah's heart sank. Sadie had her, for sure.

Glaring at her, Sadie opened the door to the outhouse and hurried inside. The second Leah heard the door latch shut, she turned and fled for home.

After the noon meal Leah helped Sadie wash and dry each one of the kerosene lamp chimneys in the house. The glass tubes had been rather cloudy last evening during Bible reading and evening prayers, and Leah and Mamma had both noticed the light was too soft and misty because of it. Dat hadn't complained at all, though he did have to adjust his reading glasses repeatedly, scooting close to the lamp in the kitchen, where they'd all gathered just before twilight, the back door flung wide, along with all the windows, coaxing the slightest breeze into the warm house.

"We really oughta clean these every day," Leah said, handing one to Sadie for drying. "No sense Dat struggling to see the Good Book, jah?"

Sadie nodded halfheartedly.

"Are you going out again tonight?" Leah whispered.

Sadie's eyes gave a sharp warning. "Ach, not now ..."

Glancing over her shoulder, Leah saw that Mamma was dusting the furniture in the sunroom. "Cleanliness is next to godliness," Mamma liked to say constantly. Hannah and Mary Ruth had run outside to hose off the back porch and sidewalk.

"You'll break Mamma's heart if you're sneaking out with English boys, ya know," she said softly.

"How do you know what I'm doin'?"

"I saw you come home last night—saw what you were wearing, too." But before she could ask where on earth Sadie had gotten such a getup, Mamma returned, and that brought a quick end to their conversation.

Leah washed the rest of the chimneys, turning her thoughts to the Preaching service tomorrow. Will Gid single me out again before the common meal? she wondered. He had been more than forthright with his intentions toward her before, though discreetly enough. Yet she knew he was counting the weeks till she was old enough to attend Sunday singings. And so was she, but for a far different reason. "I'll be first in line to ask you to ride home with me," he'd said to her out in the barnyard two Sundays ago, when it was her family's turn to have house church.

Speechless at the time, she wished the Lord might give her something both wise and kind to say. To put him off gently. But not one word had come to mind and she just stood there, fidgeting while the smithy's only son grinned down at her.

What she was really looking forward to was next Sunday—the off-Sunday between church meetings—when the People spent the day visiting relatives. Mamma was awful eager to go to Grasshopper Level and see the Mast cousins again. It had been several months.

Leah remembered precisely where she was standing in the barn when Dat had given her the news of the visit. Looking down, in the haymow, she'd stopped short, holding her pitchfork just so in front of her, half leaning on it while she willed her heart to slow its pace.

She smiled, fondly recalling the first time she'd ever talked with Jonas. The two of them had nearly missed out on supper, standing out in the milk house talking about birds, especially the colorful varieties that lived on Aunt Lizzie's side of the woods, near where the wild flowers grew. She had told him her favorite was the bluebird. Jonas had wholeheartedly agreed, his blue eyes searching hers. And for a moment, she nearly forgot he was three years older. He was Sadie's age. Yet, unlike any other boy, he seemed to know and understand her heart—who Leah truly was. Not a tomboy, but a real girl.

In all truth, she hadn't experienced such a thing with anyone ever in her life. Not with Sadie, for sure. And not so much with Mamma, though on rare occasions her mother had opened up a bit. Hannah and Mary Ruth had each other and were constantly whispering private conversations. Only with Aunt Lizzie and Adah Peachey, Gid's younger sister, could Leah share confidentially.

So she and Jonas had a special something between them, which was too bad. At least Mamma would think so if she knew, because young women weren't supposed to open up much to young men, unless, of course, they were being courted or were married.

Just now, Sadie glanced nervously toward the sunroom, where Mamma was still busy dusting. "Walk me to the outhouse," Sadie whispered to Leah.

"What for?"

"Never mind, just come." Sadie led the way, through the utility room and enclosed porch, then down the back steps, past the twins, who laughed as they worked.

Silently they walked, till Sadie said, turning quickly, "Listen, if ya must know, I think I'm falling in love."

"In love? Ach, Sadie, who with?"

"Shh! He lives down the road a ways. His name is Derry."

"So, I'm right then, a fancy boy." Leah wanted to turn around right now and head back to the house. She didn't want to hear another filthy word. "What's happened to you? English boys are big trouble. You oughta know from going to high school and all."

"You sound too much like Dat."

"Well, somebody's got to talk sense to you! Having a wild rumschpringe's one thing, Sadie, but whatever ya do, don't go outside the boundaries of the Ordnung."

Sadie's eyes were ablaze. "Say whatcha want, but zip your lip."

"Maybe I should tell."

Their eyes locked. Sadie leaned closer. "You have a secret, too, Leah."

"Are you threatening me?"

"Call it what you will, but if Mamma finds out about me, I'll know it came from you. And if you go and tell Mamma on me, I'll tell Dat on you. And if Dat finds out you hope to marry Jonas 'stead of Smithy Gid, he'll put a stop to it."

Leah's heart sank. Sadie had her, for sure.

Glaring at her, Sadie opened the door to the outhouse and hurried inside. The second Leah heard the door latch shut, she turned and fled for home.

Excerpted from:
The Covenant (ABRAM'S DAUGHTERS) by Beverly Lewis
Copyright © 2002, Beverly Lewis
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.

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Meet the Author

Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in 11 languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. The Brethren won a 2007 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family. Learn more atwww.beverlylewis.com.

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