I rarely read novels in the heavily saturated Amish genre but I have enjoyed the ones from Chapman. I find them to be a good exploration of the Plain lifestyle as it intersects with the “Englisch.” I always like a good mystery and Chapman has included one here.
Part of what I find attractive in Chapman's writing is how she informs readers of the Plain lifestyle. Like urban families who deal with the increase in technology, so do those in this segment of the Amish. Some have phones in their workshops. All use a communal telephone shack. Some use solar panels, the blessing of which the bishop gives in this novel. There is a reference to American life in the decade before WW I and how it is similar to Plain life today.
Chapman centers on a problem we all face at some time. People may not be who they seem to be. Such is the case in the Plain community in Monte Vista, Colorado. It leads to murder and danger to members of the community. I like how Henry, the bishop of the book's title, enlists the entire community to help solve the mystery.
Chapman has placed a few transcripts of sheriff interviews within the narrative. I really felt that broke the rhythm of the plot. I would have rather had her write the scenes as regular action. Other than that, I enjoyed the plot and the good character development. It has been fun getting to know Henry, Emma, and the others in the community. I do recommend this novel to mystery lovers but start with the first in the series. This novel reads well on its own but following Henry's experiences from the beginning is even better.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Vannetta Chapman was a teacher for fifteen years and now writes full time. She writes romantic suspense and Amish novels. She and her husband live in the Texas Hill Country. You can find out more atwww.vannettachapman.com.
Harvest House, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.