Friday, March 6, 2015

"Anna's Crossing" by Suzanne Woods Fisher - an Amish Beginnings novel

Anna's CrossingSuzanne Woods Fisher delves into the history of the Amish in Anna's Crossing, a story of the Amish immigration to America. Being the only one of their village fluent in English and able to translate, Anna is pressured into taking the 2-month sea voyage, but she hopes to return home to Germany. As she travels, she attempts the impossible task of keeping an eye on a young boy whose mother has spiraled into depression, but Felix is skilled at disappearing. Through her translation skills and chasing after Felix, she keeps encountering the ship's carpenter, Bairn, a young man with more to him than meets the eye. Assuming  they survive the perilous voyage, will Anna be able to return home? Or has she found something better where she is?

With historical novels, I like to learn at least one new bit of history with each story, but this book contained a wealth of new information for me. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea that the Amish and Mennonite peoples were so old, and that they have been separate peoples since long before immigrating to America, which happened a good hundred years earlier than I had thought. I knew that those early crossings were long and dangerous, but I had not heard of the cunning people who took advantage of the naive immigrants and sold the poor and defenseless into slavery. It is a fascinating story, both in terms of the story and the history.

I think that the modern church could learn a lot from these people - a people who would give away half of their dwindling drinking water, not knowing if God would provide, and, more importantly, accepting that even if He doesn't provide and they all perish, His work will continue. They did what was right, regardless of the consequences. So often we want to take care of ourselves before taking care of others, but what God asks of us does not always follow worldly logic.

I don't read much Amish fiction, but I do read plenty of historicals, so this was a clever way to combine the two. I really liked young Felix's viewpoint, and I would enjoy reading more about him when he grows up, to see if he ever loses that over-developed sense of adventure. The love story between Anna and Bairn was sweet, and I was delighted to discover a hunch I had was true. It is a sweet, cross-genre novel.

Thank you Revell for providing a free copy for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.

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