But the biggest change of all is threatening the small Mennonite town. Violence.
Someone has it in for the Christians in Kansas. A church was recently burned and another vandalized. Then trouble comes to the citizens of Kingdom. The driver of a powerful red pickup tries to run Hope and her buggy off the dirt road. She is not badly hurt but a few days later, an older man in the Mennonite community dies when his buggy is forced off the road.
There is division in the town as some advocate patrols on the nearby roads – patrols by men with guns. Others are appalled that Mennonites would forsake their strongly held belief of nonviolence. God will protect us, they argue. It is in overcoming adverse times like this that will make Kingdom residents stronger.
Such is the theme of this novel. Does one believe God for protection or reach for a hunting rifle? When Hope and her friend Lizzy see the red pickup slowly rolling through Kingdom late in the evening, Lizzy thinks of reaching for her rifle. “There is was again, the dichotomy of faith. Believe in God but have another plan in case He fails you.”
I usually don't like novels of the Amish/Mennonite genre but this is the second I've read of Mehl's and enjoyed it as much as the first in this series. (See my review of Inescapable here.) The novel gave me much to think about. When do you trust God and when do you just get to work yourself? What does it really mean to “turn the other cheek”? If my household was threatened, what would I do, how would I react?
There is a bit of romance in this novel too. Hope is engaged to a traditional Mennonite man but has feelings for a more progressive man. Hope having to make a decision between the two parallels the theme of tradition verses a move toward more modern actions.
There is a reading group guide included in this novel. I would anticipate a very interesting group discussion resulting from reading this novel. The book will give you much to think about too.
Nancy Mehl is the author of 14 books and received an ACFW Carol Award in 2009. She has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Wichita, Kansas, where she lives with her husband and their puggle. Find out more at www.nancymehl.com.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this title. You can see other reviews of this book here.
Bethany House Publishers, 336 pages. Please visit your local Christian bookstore to purchase this book.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.