Beverly Lewis. The Wish. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 2016. See here to purchase the book.
The Wish is the latest Amish fiction novel by Beverly
Lewis. It is largely set in Lancaster County, where there is a sizeable
Leona Speicher enjoyed spending time with the Gingeriches more than
her own family, for she felt accepted among the Gingeriches. Leona
especially had a bond with Gloria Gingerich, the daughter of the
family. When the patriarch of the Gingerich family, Arkansas Joe, was
shunned by the Amish community, he and his family left. Leona did not
hear from Gloria for years, until one day, she received a letter from
Gloria. Leona paid a visit to the Gingerich family, which had ceased
being Amish and had instead embraced mainstream ways. When Gloria
visits the Amish community with Leona, Gloria comes to terms with what
she left behind, and her regret that her family left the Amish
This book covered beautiful themes. There is Leona’s eventual
embrace of her own taciturn family, and her parents’ acceptance of her.
Gloria’s visit to Lancaster County evoked a profound sense of nostalgia
and longing, though those elements were drawn out a bit too much. The
novel effectively conveyed Gloria’s feeling of being at home within the
Amish community. And the book was moving when it covered the themes of
accepting people on a different path, and making restitution to those
one has harmed.
The scene in which Leona visits the post-Amish Gingeriches and sees
them sitting at the table in the same order that they sat at it back
when they were Amish was rather eerie.
The book also had interesting details: there are Amish farmers who
follow the biblical land Sabbath by allowing their land to rest every
seventh year, for example.
Whereas a number of Amish fiction novels, including some of the ones
by Beverly Lewis, have a lot of characters and things going on, this
novel had a manageable number of characters, while still staying
In terms of critiques, the book would have been better had it gone
more deeply into certain spiritual themes. The question of whether one
needs to be Amish to be a Christian is raised in this book, but the book
should have at least attempted to provide an answer to that question,
or at least more wrestling with it. Gloria was drinking in from an
Amish devotional, and the book could have had more of a spiritual
content had it informed readers about what themes Gloria was learning
from her devotions.
The book was somewhat confusing in its characterization of Gloria.
On the one hand, the book portrays her as a devout, spiritual person:
she went to church after her family had ceased going, for instance. On
the other hand, the book depicts her as wanting to return to the Amish
to be with Leona, rather than for any spiritual reasons, and that
contradicted the book’s portrayal of Gloria elsewhere: as a spiritual
person who felt at home with Amish ways.
The book is still beautiful, however.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.