Summary from BN.com: Rose Kauffman is engaged to Silas Good, a well-liked Amish fellow, so why does she still pine for Nick Franco, the former foster son of the bishop? Especially now that Nick has left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion after the death of the bishop's biological son? Will Rose marry Silas, even while struggling with romantic feelings for Nick?
Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, has returned to live at her parents' farm with her young daughter. Hen and her modern husband, Brandon, are separated by mutual agreement, although he is threatening to sue for custody of their daughter if Hen does not return soon. Will the judge rule in Brandon's favor? Is there any way Hen can reestablish her place among the People without sacrificing her marriage?
I honestly have no idea what's gotten into Beverly Lewis. Normally I love her books because she usually isn't preachy in her books. She's one of the few Amish authors who shows how their faith might not be as ideal as other books make them out to be. Several of her other series have even shown how the teachings of the Amish aren't even Christian. Usually I can always go to her books to show an unromanticized and realistic portrayal of the Amish as a culture and not as a utopia. However, I have had MAJOR problems with this new series of hers. This series has been nothing BUT preachy!
First the good: Once again I enjoyed Rose's story and I look forward to seeing where it leads to. I'm not quite sure at this point where her eventual path will lead but I am quite invested in her part of the book and was eager to learn more about her. I didn't really get into the parts with Beth but her relationship with Silas and Nick is good stuff. I felt that Rose is a more dimensional character than Hen is and seems to be more compassionate and thoughtful.
However I still cannot stand Hen. She is still very wishy washy and again, i don't know why she wants to stay Amish other than her reasons of it's safe, it'll keep her daughter innocent or it's the "right and only" way to raise a child. I seriously almost threw this book up against the wall because I was so annoyed at Hen. I'm really not sure what Lewis is trying to say here because through Hen we are made to feel like everything that is not Amish is bad, even down to calling your parents Mom and Dad. I also do not like the implications that one cannot remain faithful to God or the church (have other issues with that) if they have higher education. Hen seems to be very fixated on how Madonna is evil as well. There just seems to be so much legalism in the book and not real issues of honest faith. I swear to God if Brandon becomes Amish in the last book, I am going to boycott Lewis' books from now on. It's just the heavy implication that the only right way is the Amish way that is bothering me very much.
From almost all the reviews of the first book that I have seen and all the reviews of this book, it seems that I am one of the very very few people who feels this way. Most other reviews have been praising everything that goes on in the books and keep talking about how they want to live the Amish way. After reading this book, if living the Amish way means living like Hen then I would run away with a pole as long as the United States.
The Judgment by Beverly Lewis is published by Bethany House (2011)
This review copy was provided for a tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance