When his partner is murdered, 1920s detective Rollin Wells goes into hiding. Taking refuge in an Amish home in Sugarcreek, Ohio, he works to discover who in the police force is collaborating with Cleveland's notorious mob. But when he befriends a young Amish mother named Katie, will he unearth an even more shocking secret?
This is not your average Amish book. In fact, I really don't consider this an Amish book at all. Yes one of the main characters is Amish and lives in an Amish community. However the main focus of the book is on the 1920s Italian American gangster crime families so prevalent during this era. It's an absolutely different look at the Amish culture than most other books are focusing on and it was greatly appreciated by this reader.
The story focuses on Rollin Wells who is a detective that finds himself among the Amish at Sugar Creek in Ohio. He soon finds out that there is a connection between the family he is staying with and the Cardano family, well known for their gangster activity. Wells finds this even more intriguing because of a personal connection he had with the daughters of the Cardanos. Katie is a young Amish mother who carries a secret and is surprised with Rollin comes into her life. Their interaction and relationship throughout the story was done very well. I could see the mystery and intrigue between the two of them as well as a growing chemistry. I thought I knew the secret but I was wrong. The eventual outcome of the story is sad. All I will say is that crime is not the way to go and will never lead to a happy ending.
This book included a line that I wish either every Amish book would realize or even the Amish themselves would come to understand. There's a scene in the book where Rollin gently confronts one of of Katie's Amish relatives for not wanting to help protect and defend his family from evil men but he will use a gun to protect his sheep from wolves. Rollin tells him that "God gave us the ability to protect our women and children from men like the Cardanos, and I believe it's more important to keep them safe than to keep coyotes away from chickens or cows." Reading that line literally made me stop reading and cheer. What he said is so true. I totally understand the Amish way of life that they are passive and don't want to seek revenge and I respect that. However I have read accounts where they would rather allow their families to be hurt physically but they will save their own livestock. If they are doing this in accordance to God's word, then didn't God say that humans were more important than animals? I just though this section of the book was so interesting and I wish more Amish books would incorporate this thinking in their stories.
Overall this is a really good historical fiction story with some romance added to it. Dobson has taken a unique spin on the Amish fad and put it in a time period that I personally am fascinated with. I really enjoyed learning while reading this book about the history of area and of the crimes that were taking place during then. It's an absolutely fascinating read and I would love to read more stories that are like this. Summerside Press has a winner with this historical read.
The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson is published by Summerside Press (2010)
This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance