My rating: 5 of 5 stars
‘The Shunning’ is book one in The Heritage of Lancaster County
trilogy by Beverly Lewis and is inspired by the true story of the
Author’s grandmother who left her plain community.
Katie Lapp is a 22 year old Amish girl who has lost her first love,
Daniel, in a tragic boating accident. Katie doesn’t fit in; she’s
unhappy with her plain life and feels drawn to a “fancy” way of life.
However, she’s already made her vows to the faith and is set to marry
the local widowed bishop and become a mama to his children, more-so
out of duty to being an upstanding member of her society instead of
marrying for love. She feels trapped but is determined to go through
with things and become a good Amish woman.
When Katie finds a satin baby garment in the attic she begins to
question herself about her love for fancy things and her love for
music. This puts her in a bad place with her parents, and with the
bishop she is set to marry. Eventually her rebellion leads to her
shunning. The shunning is a practice that is observed by Old Order
Amish and some Mennonite churches. In a society that is very social,
the shunning is particularly painful for the individuals who must
endure it. The entire community is forbidden to speak to or have any
contact with the Shunned. The Amish call the act of shunning- Meidung,
which translates from German, avoidance.
The book wraps up with Katie leaving her plain community and leaves us
with a surprising cliffhanger which I am sure will be explored in the
next installment, The Confession. Unlike other authors, who shy from
addressing issues of shunning or religious practices of the Amish,
Beverly Lewis writes about these issues and gives a realistic view of
what the Amish believe and not just a look at their lifestyle.