The Parting: A Novel (The Courtship of Nellie Fisher, Book 1)
Bethany House (2007)
Reviewed by AJ Cooper for Reader Views (1/08)
The Amish Community is tight-knit, full of families that strive to follow and live an uncluttered and simple life. “The Parting” is about two sisters, one alive and one recently deceased. Nellie Mae ponders why her sister Suzy was taken away with so many unanswered questions and with a cloud of doubt in the community as to what she was really doing with the non-Amish (Englischers) kids.
Nellie Mae loves to bake and puts her skills towards baking items to sell in her family store. She wakes up early in the mornings to bake a wide variety of goods to sell to the Amish and Englischers. She also has hopes of spending time with a boy named Caleb. Nellie Mae starts to doubt what really happened with her sister and decides she must find her diary that she buried. While all of this is going on there is turmoil in her house because her father wants to read sections of the Bible that have been forbidden in the past and to hold meetings to discuss the readings.
Caleb wants to spend time with Nellie Mae to discover what really happened on the lake to Suzy. He decides the best way to find out is to court Nellie Mae. The Amish follow very strict rules on courting. They do end up spending time together and Nellie Mae becomes uncomfortable.
I enjoyed the first and the last parts of “The Parting.” The intrigue involved with this quiet and simple community was not what I expected and led to a surprise ending. The middle of the book was laborious to read and I had to stop reading many times because I lost interest. If you have a true interest in the Amish lifestyle and want to observe how change could occur in this type of community it is interesting. The mystery of Suzy kept my attention but some of the everyday depictions were lost to me.