Patchwork Dreams by Laura V. Hilton

9566467A brief synopsis from GoodReads:

Ever since returning from her rumspringa pregnant and unwed, Becky Troyer has been a pariah in her Amish community in Missouri. Even after the young mother confesses her sin and rejoins the church, her peers continue to shun her, and she despairs the unlikelihood of marrying for love. It seems that her only hope is to eventually marry a widower with a family of his own.

And my own thoughts:

For anyone who enjoys Amish fiction, this is not the book or the series for you. In some parts it shows the absolute worst of the Amish culture and other bits show behavior that isn’t even remotely accurate.

I was unable to finish the entire book but I did skip through and read bits here and there – enough to get an accurate picture and the book is just not for me.

The writing is not at all realistic of the way the Amish speak or behave or interact. It’s more like someone wrote a “Christian” novel and threw in a few Amish words and phrases to make it work. The writing itself is not bad and I probably would have enjoyed it so much more if it had not been for the major inconsistencies.

For example: her peers would not shun her – especially if she had made a kneeling confession. And anyway, a shunning means that no one in the community is allowed to acknowledge her existence. She certainly would not be courting, even a widower.

For another thing, the Amish do not complain like we do. Jacob might have been a bit disgruntled but he would not have gone on for half the book about how unfair it all was.

And I know Becky’s mom would NEVER have challenged Daniel over something so silly as a dinner. That’s not the way Amish women are. It’s the way we English are though so I can see where the author might not have realized her mistake.

Even the synopsis/back cover blurb is written wrong. She would not have to “rejoin” the church. When a youth is on their runschpringe, they have not yet joined the church. That is one of the functions of that time – the youth get a good look at the “Englisch” world so that they can make an informed decision to JOIN the church or not. She might have been asked to make a kneeling confession but considering she was on her runschpringe, I doubt it. Joining the church would have been enough of a show of her commitment (and it typically involves asking forgiveness for sins anyway).

I had planned to finish the trilogy but I don’t see that happening now.

To be fair, I think this was the first book the author wrote/published, so it is possible her others have been better researched.

My suggestion: if you decide you want to read the book anyway, check it out from your local library.

2 Stars

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