Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stephanie Reed's The Bargain ~ Reviewed

Stephanie Reed
Series: Plain City Peace (Book 1)
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (September 19, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082544215X


It’s 1971, and Betsie Troyer’s peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.
When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth—a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie’s marriage to Charley Yoder.
Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.
Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?


The Bargain takes place in 1971, a time when America was still involved in the Vietnam War. We meet a young Amish woman named Betsie Troyer, who's life is turned upside down when her parent's “find Jesus” and leave the community. On top of trying to keep it a secret from the community, she is also starting a new job with an “Englisch” family, running the harness show her cousin bought from them while her cousin is away in the war. Betsie tries to distance herself from the family, but finds herself becoming attached, particularly to young Sheila. Without meaning for it to happen, she also gets close to Sheila's older brother, Michael, a hippie and known protester of the Vietnam War who comes and goes as he pleases, wears his hair long, and dresses in a way completely opposite from Amish men. Betsie begins to find herself torn between her Amish life and this new Englisch world she's been thrown into.

I haven't yet read an Amish story in this time period, so I thought it quite interesting. I was really interested in Betsie's parents and their new faith in Christ. The Amish are all viewed as so religious, yet when confronted with the truth, many, like Betsie, want nothing to do with it. She is afraid her parents are now going to hell for leaving the community, yet she herself is unsure of what she really believes. I'm really looking forward to reading book two to see what happens next, as the story really leaves you hanging!

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

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