Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family's rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans--but then she never had to. Not until the night she's taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she's developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy's captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans's hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
(excerpt from back of book)
I am not a natural fan of Amish fiction. That's why it takes a very special author to draw me back into that world. Suzanne Woods Fisher is just such an author and The Return is the latest of her books to bring me in.
One of the things I appreciate most about Fisher's books is her characters. Without fail she brings forward characters with hopes, dreams, and emotions that transcend the genre and are simply human. In The Return she offers multiple characters, most notably Tessa and Betsy. I really enjoyed Tessa's character and I have a feeling Fisher remembers that age well as she writes it with such accuracy. Tessa's hopes and dreams regarding Hans, her envy of Betsy, her own wrestling with her own maturing made for great reading and held the story solidly together.
Betsy also shone in both in her own way as she wrestled through grief and forgiveness as well as a contrast to both Tessa and Hans. While I found Tessa more engaging it's Betsy that begs reflection and shows her strength in that manner.
The plot was also interesting. I appreciated Fisher's use of Bairn to advocate for both the settlers and the aboriginals in the story. While I am unfamiliar with the events the story was based around, Fisher includes lots of fun details including the Conestoga wagons and horses as well as people like Benjamin Franklin helped anchor the story within its setting helping and richness and depth to the events. I love when a story adds enough history to inspire me to do further research and I've definitely been inspired to read up on the real life accounts.
Overall, Fisher has brought another solid book that serves to add to its series or act as an enjoyable stand alone.
4 out 5 stars
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."