About the Book:
Spend a day with sisters.
Once a week Darla Weaver bundles her children into the buggy, hitches up her spirited mare, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters, Weavers writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women's gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.
The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.
Weaver shares her Tuesday conversations and activities with her sisters. They reflect a slower life and strong family ties. In Weaver's own words, the conversations were not of any momentous importance. (1553/2671) They were sharing daily thoughts, what they were reading, and comments about the children. Most of the conversations are of the ordinary things sisters talk about when together. Most of the activities are the ordinary things sisters do when they spend a day together, such as crafting, cooking, and washing dishes. (I hope I never have to wash silicone cupcake papers.) Many delicious (and not so delicious) foods are mentioned and a few recipes are included.
I was a little surprised at the children's behavior Weaver recorded. They consistently had trouble playing together and frequently damaged flowering plants, such as those in the greenhouses. They even made soup out of mud and grass and succulent leaves, stripping the plants in their grandmother's front garden. Discipline was never mentioned. And there was a noted lack of “please” and “thank you” kind of words from the children.
I was disappointed that there was not more information about how the Old Order Mennonites actually live. There was mention of refrigerators and freezers but not whether they were electric or gas or powered some other way. The oven, I found out, did have a pilot light so was propane. There was also mention of a lawn mower that needed to be primed. (838/2671) Does that mean it was gas powered? I was curious, since they use horses or bicycles for transportation. I would have also liked to know more about her parents' greenhouses, growing plants, and the selling of them.
Readers who would enjoy the everyday conversations and events the sisters experience will enjoy this book. Readers looking for more insights into the Old Order Mennonite lifestyle may have to look elsewhere.
You can read the author's introduction to the book here.
My rating: 3/5 stars.
About the author:
Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer, and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul and Many Lighted Windows, and she has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.
Herald Press, 272 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through I Read With Audra. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by I Read With Audra.