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At times I wonder what might've happened if I'd gone with Mamm that damp, hazy morning eleven years ago. She was so tired—she'd said it herself—preparing for market day. Such a bleak expression dulled her sweet face as she trudged out to the waiting horse and the enclosed gray carriage filled with gourds and squash and other garden vegetables.
A shudder rippled through me as I watched her step into the buggy, carrying the rectangular money tin for making change at market. Was I somehow sensing what was just ahead?
She set the tin box on the front seat next to her and picked up the reins as I stood on the back steps. Then she gave a faint wave and our eyes locked momentarily. In that burning second, I felt the urge to run out to the buggy and stop her, or at least offer to join her, as though my presence alone might keep Providence from having its way.
But before I could do so, Mamm clicked her tongue for Upsy- Daisy to move ahead, and the young mare trotted off by way of Salem Road, where our farm adjoins the bishop's own. Then over one road and down ... down the precarious Bridle Path Lane that rims the rocky ravine, our shortcut to the main roads leading to Quarryville.
Even now, as a young woman of twenty, I think back to that miserable hour and tremble, wishing I'd heeded the alarm clanging in my brain. Yet there I stood, watching silently in the mist and the fog.
How could I have known Mamm would be found sometime later, lying along the road and unable to walk, the family buggy turned upside down in the rugged ravine below?
* * *
Around that time, our neighbor, the bishop, brought home a foster child from Philadelphia. I'll never forget the day I met Nick Franco. He was just ten and scrawny as a stick ... his wavy hair as black as a raven. My mother had taken my sister and me next door to welcome him, a basketful of food tucked under her arm.
There, in the far corner of the big kitchen, Nick had sat all slumped over, as if someone had dropped a feed bag on his slight shoulders. He was dressed like any of the Amish schoolboys round here—the thin black suspenders and baggy pants out of place with his short English haircut. When he glanced up from his perch on a wooden stool, I caught the lost look in his dark, sad eyes and realized he must've been taken away from everything he'd known. Nick never so much as uttered a word when the bishop's wife introduced him as "our new son." Neither did he speak to a single soul the rest of that week, the bishop later told Dat.
Right away, I felt sorry for Nick Franco—an outsider come to live with our man of God. I learned later that his father had abandoned him when Nick was a toddler and that his mother was seriously ill, too sick to care for him. No other family members were willing or able to take him in, so he wound up in a foster program. Like it or not, the People hoped that he might become Amish.
Nick was sullen and quiet during those early months. Honestly, it irked me no end how aloof he could be. I occasionally got brave enough to attempt conversation, but he would turn away as if he hadn't heard me. Or didn't care to. Even so, I heeded my inner urge to treat him kindly, the way I'd want to be ... if I had to walk in his shoes.
And I kept trying to talk to him. About the time Nick turned eleven—a year after his arrival—his expression became a bit softer. Sometimes when he looked my way, there was even an inkling of a smile. But the misery lurking in his eyes never completely faded.
It was then he started working for my father on Saturdays and weekdays, after school. I'd wander out to the barn, if my sister was looking after Mamm, to watch him haul manure with Dat and my older brother Mose.
Quickly, I learned not to call hullo when I entered the barn, because there was just no getting a response from the bishop's second son. For the longest time, I actually assumed Nick Franco was partly deaf.
Eventually I tried talking to the horses, loud enough for Nick to hear. "You're growin' a thicker coat, ain't ya, Upsy-Daisy?" I might say, stroking the mare while glancing at Nick out of the corner of my eye. "Winter'll be here before we know it, ain't?"
Nick would sometimes snicker or cough. Now and again he might even mutter something back, like "Ain't even fall yet," and then quickly return to his apathetic whistling.
For the longest time this strange sort of game continued between us. Then one day he began to say a few words directly to me. I felt ever so proud—in a good way, of course. Jah, somehow we'd managed to become friends. And considering his sullen nature and the way he normally kept to himself—even during school recess—I daresay I was his only friend.
One afternoon, he surprised me by asking if I'd go riding horses with him, "just for fun." He was still quite standoffish, so I was taken aback at this invitation. And I resisted.
Nick persisted the next day, and the next, just as I had all those months trying to draw him out in conversation. At last I agreed. So he took one of the bishop's spirited colts, and I chose our feisty George, and we rode along the narrow treed section of Salem Road, west of our house, down past the Amish schoolhouse and Farmdale Road.
Oh, what a wonderful-gut time it was! I'd never felt so carefree in all of my young life, the wind on my face, my hair falling out of its formal bun. Much to Nick's and my own amusement ... but hopefully not to the Lord's dismay!
It was a turning point in our friendship. And, little by little, I began to feel more comfortable with the shy city boy who rarely spoke as he listened to me chatter on about whatever popped into my head.
* * *
Last month after Preaching service, Mamm eyed Nick while we sat out on the lawn waiting for the common meal. "I hope ya know that boy's trouble," she said softly from her wheelchair.
"Dat's had him workin' for us all these years," I replied too quickly.
Mamm waved her hand absently. "Workin' and socializin' are altogether different." She let out a long sigh, her eyes growing stern. "Just mark my words: Nick ain't our kind."
I considered that, surprised she was so pointed. "Bishop made him one of us by takin' him in, jah?"
"Plain clothes don't make ya Amish and never will. And just look at that ponytail he's got." Mamm clucked her tongue. "I honestly pity the girl who ends up married to him."
I nodded my head wholeheartedly. The way he was wearing his hair so long in back made anyone look twice, especially since the rest of him looked downright Amish.
"Hen's blunder oughta be a lesson to any girl," Mamm added.
Always, always, my parents set up my only sister as an example to encourage my ongoing compliance. "Look what Hen went and did," they'd say, "getting herself hitched to Brandon Orringer"—her Englischer husband.
"Don't worry, Mamm. I'd never marry someone who's not really Amish."
My mother gave me a fleeting glance, then turned to greet her many sisters and oodles of Kauffman and Blank cousins as they stopped to chat. The steady flow of womenfolk continued, all of them ever so fond of Mamm.
And as they came, I caught their unmistakably sympathetic gaze—since I was stuck there and not off with the other youth. And I couldn't help thinking how very different Mamm's life might now be—and mine, too—if I'd simply gone with my mother to market that long-ago autumn day.
Excerpted from The Thorn by Beverly Lewis Copyright © 2010 by Beverly Lewis. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. 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 September 6, 2010
Bethany Publishers sent me an advanced reading copy of this book to review. I decided to read it right away, since it was an advanced reading copy and all -- just seemed like the right thing to do. :)
The book is focused on two Amish sisters -- Rose Ann, who longs to be married and have a houseful of children of her own, and yet feels a duty to stay at home and take care of her mother, who had been involved in a terrible accident. As Rose Ann learns that it's okay to live her life, she finds herself torn between her best friend, Nick, and the man she feels she should love, Silas.
The second sister is Hen. She left the Amish community and married and Englischer. Now she feels that her life is missing something and has returned to her Amish roots, completely against her husband's wishes. Now she must decide between the Amish community she misses so dearly and her marriage. When she comes back home to visit, she begins to worry about Rose Ann and what life she will choose. She doesn't want her sister to make the mistake she did of leaving her heritage behind.
I actually really enjoyed this book. And of course, now I can't wait for Book 2! There is such a mix of English and Amish in this book that it really held my attention. As your reading this book, you will be torn between what you feel is best for each sister. I'm looking forward to reading this entire trilogy so that I can see what the resolution will be.
I highly recommend this book. If you are unsure of whether you will enjoy a book centered around the Amish community, this will be a great book for you to start with. It will be available for you to purchase on September 10th. Visit the Bethany House website for more information and to find out where you can purchase this book.
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Posted April 11, 2012
I enjoyed this whole series of books. I enjoy learning about the Amish way of life. I have never been disappointed by this author.
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Posted October 25, 2011
Posted April 8, 2011
Posted March 13, 2011
This story revolves around sisters Hannah (Hen) and Rose Ann Kauffman. Hen left the faith to marry Brandon, and Englisher, but after five years and a daughter she is longing for the life she left behind. She takes a job working in a fabric shop and soon starts wearing amish attire and making amish dresses for her daughter Mattie Sue, even though her husband is against it. When she decides to take a break from her marriage and move back home, will it be the end of her marriage, and how will the community accept her return?
Rose Ann has always known she wanted to stay in the faith, even skipping her rumspringa to join the church at fifteen. Her days are spent as the primary caregiver for her mother Emma, who was injured in a buggy accident several years prior that left her confined to a wheelchair with continuous pain. Rose works one day a week as a housekeeper/cook for an English neighbor Mr. Browning. There has always been stories that Mr. Browning's house is haunted, so when Rosie starts hearing noises upstairs, a place Mr. Browning has forbidden her to go, she is determined to figure out what is going on. When Rose has a bit of free time she is fond of reading and spending time with her best friend Nick Franco, and her love life starts to look promising when Silas Good starts calling on her, but Silas doesn't like the friendship she has with Nick. She also has Hen warning her against Nick, what will Rose do?
This story really moves along at a brisk pace, the author does a great job of giving us several different characters but presents them in such a way that you are drawn into each of their stories, giving us a glimpse of family structure, as well as the complexities of their daily life. While the main characters in the story are Rose and Hen, I found the secondary characters had rich stories of their own. The character of Nick, was compelling for me, plucked out of his English world to live among the amish had to be hard, and even though he had been with the community for years, he still longed for his English mother, although he was pretty good at hiding his feelings, Rose saw past his exterior and was the only friend he had.
I felt like this book was a great beginning for the Rose Trilogy, and since there are many unanswered questions I am anxious to read the next book in the series titled "The Judgement" due out April 1st.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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Posted March 8, 2011
Rose Kauffman is sure she will always be Amish, in fact she is so positive, she did not have a rumschpringe. She joined the church without having one. Will she regret doing that? She is positive that she will not regret it, she loves her life, and she loves being Amish. Rose is stretched a bit thin with all the things she has to do, taking care of her mother, and her regular chores. Plus working for Mr. Browning cooking and cleaning, time often is not a commodity that is plentiful for Rose, but she takes time to read, and takes time for her friend Nick.
Nick is the bishop's adopted son, he has not joined the church, and seems rebellious.While he does seem unappreciative of the fact the bishop took him into his own family, Rose knows that he is really a good guy down deep. They spend alot of time together cleaning in the barn, working with the animals. They also like to go horseback riding together, but not everyone is seeing their friendship as a good thing.
Hen, Rose's older sister left the community during her running around marrying an Englischer, but now she is looking back and missing her roots. She does not like the stuff her husband watches on tv, and lets little Mattie watch. However divorce is not something you hear about in Amish families, so when she and little Mattie shows up at her parent's home, they are worried. They push Hen and make sure that she knows her place is with her husband.
A great story of friendship, regrets and life decisions, this is a great book. I know this will surprise alot of people, but this is the first Beverly Lewis book I have ever reviewed. I totally enjoyed the book and do look forward to book two of this triology which is due out in April. 344 pages US $14.99 5 stars.
Thanks to Jim Hart at Bethany House, for providing this book for me to review!!
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Posted November 3, 2014
There will be two parts to this RP. The Inquisition Axis/Royal Family, and then there will be the Rose Society. They work against each other. The Inquisition Axis is the army for the king, and they work together to kill off Malfettos. They are the evil force. The Royal Family [ Exept the Princess, of course, ] is the head of the Inquisition Axis. The Rose society is led by Caterina until further notice, and the Inquisition Axis leader postition hasn't ben filled yetm unless there is a post above this stating otherwise. <p>
1- You MUST have good grammar. I'm sorry if you have some sort of dislexia something, but you can't join without atleast posting with quotes and punctuation. <br>
Right- "Hello, my name is Catterina. What's yours?" She inquired softly, holding out her hand so that the girl could shake it.<br>
Wrong- " hi im catterina who r u" she said<br>
A few spelling mistakes are okay here and there, and maybe you don't have the best keyboard to type on, but whatever it is, you must atleast have quotes without spaces between the quotes and the words, decent spelling, and punctuation.<p>
2- To become a Thorn, you must pass the test given by a superior member. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. <p>
3- To be part of the Inquisition Axis, you must obey the King and Queen at all costs, and cohere to your duties as the King's army. The Inquisition leader is ALWAYS your leader, exept when over thrown by the king.<p>
4- To be a Thorn, you must take the oath.<p>
5- No spooning in public. Seriously? A kiss on the cheek or something is fine, but this isn't a romance RP.<p>
6- You musn't use your abilities for anything other than what they are ment to be used for. Missions.<p>
7- Embrace and Emelish your flaws. Your malfetto marks should be masked at all times to keep the obiousness of your alligence to the Rose society.<p>
9- This is a Victorian Era RP. Atleast sorta the tine of Kings and Queen. Sorry, guys. No iPhones or Laptops for you. You can go pee in a pot, though.<p>
10- You get one ability. Not, I can fly, and talk to birds. First off, nao. There will be no flying. Or invisibility, or super strength. This is not a marvel RP. This is a Young Elites RP. Some examples of powers are-<br>
Future Prediction could be one for a real YE, but it doesn't work in RP.<br>
The ability to see in the dark<br>
The ability to reform objects with ones mind<br>
The abitity to sense energy<br>
11- You must have a Kenettran name. Kenetran names are Italian or French. If you want to be Beldish, [ Irish/sweedish, ] or Tamouran, [ Asian/Indian. . . Sorta a cream skinned Indian person. . . Tamouran people don't really live on earth, if you know what I mean,] Then you must talk to the leader of the society or a senior memeber.<p>
12- Cllothing is an asset. Kenettran cloting is like european clothng, mostly od english, but more cors, and less 'colonial'. Corsetts and stiff silks. Sometimes people will wear Tamouran silks, which are dlowing clothes of indian or asian inspiration. Just don't walk in with a crop top and blue jeans, or a miniskirt and a hoodie or something. <p>
Thanks for joining! I'm running out of characters, so the map of the RP will be posted in the next res. <p>
Posted October 28, 2014
Posted October 1, 2013
Posted December 31, 2012
Posted August 16, 2012
Posted July 20, 2012
This series is most definanitly one of my favorites! A easy read and verry romantic! It's perfect for all ages and it's clean (something hard to find these days). So read The Thorn and check out the rest of The Rose Trilagy series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 26, 2012
I hadn't read any books about Amish before but I was recommended by a friend to read this series by Lewis. I am very glad she referred me to reading them! I can't put them down!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2012
Posted April 12, 2012
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Posted December 11, 2011