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Rose Ann's oldest brothers, Joshua and Enos, hurried into the house from the barn along with Dat as snowflakes flew thick early Friday morning. The brims of their black felt hats were nearly white as the men came inside for hot coffee, red-faced, their eyes alight at the aroma. Eagerly they warmed their big, callused hands around the cups, chattering in Deitsch about the upcoming Gordonville Spring Mud Sale.
Mamm sat primly in her wheelchair, wearing a green choring dress and long black apron, her brownish-blond hair pulled back into a perfect round bun at the nape of her neck. Her Kapp was perched on her head, the strings draped over her shoulders. From time to time, she gazed lovingly at Dat where he sat beside the gas lamp on this dreary day.
The winter solstice had brought with it exceptionally cold temperatures and plenty of snow, as foretold by the neighbors' chickens, which last fall had shed their feathers from the front of their bodies before the rest. Corn husks had been mighty thick at the harvest, too, and Aaron and Barbara Petersheim reported spotting caterpillars that were inky-black at both ends last summer. All of that had indicated a severe start to the bleakest season.
Quite unexpectedly, a bolt of lightning crisscrossed the snowy backyard from the west, ripping through the bitter storm. The smell of sulfur instantly pervaded the atmosphere, making rose tremble. Ach, such a rare thing in the wintertime. Is it an omen?
"Did ya see that?" she rushed to the window.
The wind howled noisily, too loud for her to hear the rumble of thunder sure to follow.
"Never point at lightning," Josh told her, a twinkle in his eyes as he came to stand beside her.
"That's silly." rose stared through the tufts of snow that clung to the window, looking out into the swirling world of white.
Enos chuckled. "Most superstitions are just that."
But nothing could have predicted what rose saw while standing at the icy window, peering out in the direction of the lightning strike. It was the unmistakable plume of ...
Could it be?
Smoke was rising from the roof of the woodshed. She squinted and frowned. How can this be, in the middle of winter?
Then suddenly, as if in answer to her unspoken question, the shingles on the woodshed burst into flames. "Ach, boys! Dat ... oh, hurry, Dat!" rose waved at the flames, stumbling for words. "Fire!"
Josh and Enos grabbed their black winter hats and darted out the back door, not bothering to put on work coats or woolen scarves. Dat hurried along, too, instructing them to dump buckets of snow onto the flaming roof, although they already seemed to know what to do.
"Rosie," Mamm called, her small voice high pitched. "stay right here with me, won't ya, dear?"
Quickly, rose moved to her side and took hold of her trembling hand. "Thank goodness it wasn't the barn."
"Or the house," Mamm added, eyes wide.
"Jah, 'tis just the ol' woodshed," rose said. "They'll have it out in no time."
"But the fire's so high," Mamm said. "How will they—"
"Don't fret, now." rose bowed her head and folded her hands. in another moment she heard Mamm's soft murmurings as she asked the lord God and heavenly Father to protect her sons and husband. rose stayed right next to her mother. Just the thought of not being able to walk and being trapped near—or in—a fire gave rose the shivers.
After she'd added her own silent prayer, rose raised her head to watch her brothers and Dat form a small line to douse the woodshed roof with snow. Josh was up on the tall ladder, but rose could tell by the look on Dat's face that he was not fearful.
A dozen or more buckets were filled with the heavy snow and thrown onto the woodshed roof as the wind wailed and snow flew in all directions.
Rose and Mamm watched anxiously as the men dumped even more snow than was necessary on the now-smoking roof, just to be sure. Or perhaps, was it for fun?
Then, of all things, enos threw a snowball at Joshua, who ducked, then leaned down and scooped a handful of snow as the boys laughed and carried on rambunctiously.
"Ach, such silliness." Mamm gave a relieved sigh, her hands no longer shaking.
"Thank goodness the fire's out."
"Praise be," Mamm said softly.
Rose moved the wheelchair away from the window. She observed her mother more closely. Dear long-suffering Mamm. It wouldn't be much longer before she and Dat would travel over the Susquehanna River to York for Mamm's back surgery. Only another thirteen days. Mamm seemed rather stoic about her situation as she counted the hours, hoping the constant pain from her buggy accident years ago could be alleviated soon. She had been given an epidural pain medication to decrease inflammation in the nerve endings, but the relief lasted mere days, so the doctor had dismissed such treatment as unsuccessful. In a case like Mamm's, he said, surgery was warranted.
"Folks daresn't ever use wood struck by lightning to build a barn or house, ya know," Mamm said, a glint in her golden-brown eyes. "Lest that building be struck by lightning, too."
Another superstition, thought Rose, wondering about all the strange sayings she'd heard as a girl. Her sister, Hen, had mocked such Amish old wives' tales in her teens. Now, however, Hen had come nearly full circle, realizing too late that there was more to the Old ways than superstition. Her sister wished with all of her heart for her English husband to join church with her. Far as rose could tell, that seemed downright hopeless.
As if sensing whom she was thinking about, Mamm asked how Brandon was feeling today. "Hen says he still can't see a stitch." rose paraphrased her sister's remark from earlier that morning, when rose was over in the Dawdi Haus where her sister lived, helping make bread. The small house was attached to their father's large home.
"Isn't it odd?" Mamm replied. "Whoever heard of a man goin' blind after a blow to the head?"
"According to the doctor, Brandon had some swelling in his brain." It is strange for the blindness to go on this long, rose thought. But these are strange times....
"You and Hen seem to be getting along nicely, ain't?" Mamm said. "like when you were girls."
"Jah, I missed her something awful when she lived in town."
Mamm dipped her head. "We all did."
Rose told her Brandon was itching to talk to his business partner again. "land development is booming, Hen says. And with Brandon still out of the office, he and his partner have discussed that they might have to hire someone to cover for him. Just till he can return to work."
Till his sight returns ...
A little frown crossed Mamm's brow. "Surely that won't be long."
Rose wondered what would happen when Brandon could see well enough to drive a car once more ... and to live on his own in the house he and Hen had once shared. Separated again. She shuddered.
"He must have cabin fever after all this time in the Dawdi Haus." Mamm sighed. "I won't stop prayin' for him."
"Might still be weeks yet," Rose reminded her of the original doctor's assessment. She stared outside and watched the snow continue to fall. "It's surprising he's not as outspoken against stayin' here as Hen first thought."
Mamm's face brightened. "Could it be he's getting accustomed to our ways?"
"Not to discourage ya, Mamm, but I doubt it. He seems pretty low, almost despairing. More so each time I visit Hen and Mattie sue."
"Poor man. Who can blame him?"
It was odd hearing Mamm speak so sympathetically about Brandon when he had chosen not to have any contact with their family during the years of his marriage to Hen. But since he was Hen's husband, what else could Mamm say?
Abruptly, Mamm said, "I hope you're plannin' to attend the next singing, dear."
Rose hesitated. "Haven't decided, really." She felt sure Dat had told Mamm about the parting of ways between her and Silas Good. Close as Dat was to Silas's father, he must have been one of the first to know, particularly when he had helped to encourage their relationship.
"I understand your reluctance." Mamm paused and glanced at her. "But ya might want to think about going ... you know, make yourself available right away."
For a new fella, she means.
Thoughtfully, rose nodded her head. "Just wouldn't be the same."
"Rosie ... honey-girl, you'll get over Silas soon enough," Mamm surprised her by saying right out.
"Well, it's not Silas I was thinkin' about." Rose caught herself too late, and Mamm's astonished eyes held Rose's gaze.
Rose looked away and wheeled her mother closer to the cook-stove, to ward off the chill of the room ... not all of it from the cold.
Just that quick, Mamm changed the subject. "It's the second time that ol' shed's been hit."
"I thought lightning didn't strike twice in the same spot." But as soon as she said it, rose knew better. Where people's lives were concerned, lightning sometimes struck repeatedly. Bishop Aaron and Barbara had to know this, bless their hearts. Their family had been struck nigh unto three times now, including the loss of their only sons: Christian, their natural-born son, who'd died in a so-called accident, and Nick, who ran off to the world not long afterward. And Aaron himself had suffered a direct blow, as well, when his divine calling was taken away from him as a punishment for Nick's refusal to join church—a sign of his foster son's willfulness against God and the People.
So much pain ...
Rose disliked thinking about all that had happened since Christian's untimely death ... and Nick's sudden leaving.
Only the dear Lord knows what may befall us, just around the bend.
Excerpted from The Mercy by Beverly Lewis Copyright © 2011 by Beverly M. Lewis. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted October 5, 2011
The Mercy by Beverly Lewis is the final book in The Rose Trilogy about Rose Kauffman, a young Amish woman struggling to let go of her feelings for a man who has left the faith behind. The Kauffman family has faced many challenges over the previous books. Rose's elder sister Hen left her Englischer husband to return to the faith she left. Just as he was about to divorce her and file for custody of their daughter, he was in a car accident that left him temporarily blind and in need of Hen's care. Emma, Rose's mother, is facing dangerous surgery to free her from the pain she's suffered for a decade. And Sol, Rose's father, is hurting at his friend Aaron Petersheim's removal as bishop of their community because his foster son, Nick, refused to be baptized into the faith. Rose has finally put her feelings for Nick behind her and seeks out a relationship with a new man, Isaac, in hopes of finally finding the life she has always dreamed of as a wife and mother. I read a lot of Amish series, and after awhile, many of the plots and characters tend to run together. The Rose Trilogy is such a powerful story, even after several months between books, I was able to fall right back into the story. Lewis does a wonderful job of creating fully fleshed characters with real flaws and emotions that readers can empathize with. The ending to the series is very satisfying and in many ways surprising.
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Posted October 2, 2011
In Beverly Lewis' final book in The Rose Trilogy series, The Mercy, picks up just right where The Judgment left off. By the way, if you haven't read the previous two books in this series, Beverly provides a prologue that gets the reader up to speed, but trust me, you'll definitely want to go back and read the other two in the series, The Thorn and The Judgment.
The story finishes up the stories surrounding Rose and Hen, two sisters that are at a crossroads in their life. For Hen, she struggles with the life she walked away from as she married an English man. Torn between her old ways and her new life, she wants the life of simplicity she found growing up Amish. The problem is that her husband, Brandon has no desire to live that way nor will he stay married to Hen if she insists on remaining at her parents. He will also take custody of their daughter, Mattie Sue if she won't come home. After a devastating accident that almost took, Brandon's life, he's been recovering with Hen and Mattie Sue at her parent's Amish farm. Hoping that God will work on his heart, Hen continues to pray for him and helps take care of him. But will this change of lifestyle and prayer work to heal Brandon and Hen's marriage?
Rose is struggling with finding a man who will complete her life now that she has released Silas Good from his engagement to her to marry Rebekah instead. Only she is still locked to her past, with the only boy she has ever given her heart to, Nick. A boy that has now left the Amish community after the death of his brother Christian. Nick is the adopted son of Bishop Aaron Petersheim and with Nick's absence leaving so many unanswered questions, the Church board wants to silence Aaron for good, taking away his title of Bishop since he can't seem to control his own family, what good will he do for those in the community as a leader of the church. However, Nick has no desire to return home and wants to pursue a college education instead. Will Rose be able to ever forget Nick long enough to find love in her own future?
I received The Mercy by Beverly Lewis compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review and LOVED it! I love how Beverly completed the lives of the characters she made us fall in love with in the Thorn. Through difficult times, tears and lots of prayer, these characters have become a part of our own lives. I personally felt part of this community as though I spent my life growing up Amish with them. I think that is what makes Beverly's novels so popular. This is now a permanent part of my own personal library and one I hope you'll all take the time to read and enjoy as much as I have. For that reason, this one rates a 5 out of 5 stars.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2013
Beverly Lewis is an absolutely wonderful author. She takes you there, i felt the struggles of the people. The victory of the identity battle of Nick. Felt poor mamms pain and never ending faith. Felt the joy of Hen, Brandon, and Mattie Sue. Can relate to the struggles of Rosie. Just loved this series. Will definetly read it again!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 3, 2013
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Posted June 30, 2012
Nobody knows their stuff like beverly lewis! She keeps you captivated and you always learn new things! God bless you and keep you safe in this horrible time of wild fires around you in colorado!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2012
I absoluetly loved these books. Everything happened the way I wanted it too, and I was very happy about that. I cried, laughed, smiled and got goosebumps throughout reading these books. I am sad that the series is only three books but I will recommend this series and will be reading more of Beverly Lewis' books in the future.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2012
I purchased this book along with the other two books in the Rose Trilogy
Series as a gift for a dear friend's birthday. She has told me several
times that she really enjoyed reading them and had a hard time putting them down.
Posted April 12, 2012
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Posted March 30, 2012
A beautiful series of books showing the simple faith of precious people who may seem different from "Englishers" - but have many of the same challenges. They meet them with a precious trust in their God and are a sweet example that "things" that seem to mean so much are not really that important in the long run. A sweet series, well written.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2012
Posted February 14, 2012
This book is the third part of a book series. Many christian book lover's of Beverly Lewis will enjoy the conclusion with lots suspense. I have enjoyed the book as well as others by the same author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 20, 2012