Elsie Yoder can’t forgive her sister, Katie, for leaving the community. Unable to let go of her sadness, she withdraws from her friends and family, nursing her feelings of betrayal.
Gideon Lapp has held a special place in his heart for Elsie and longs to help her get through her troubles. Together they find comfort in their study of the Martyr’s Mirror, a centuries-old book that describes their ancestors’ sacrifices for their faith through years of persecution.
As Elsie opens up and begins to put her trust in Gideon, she tells him about the harassment she and her sister received at the hands of some local men. When the men return and threaten the community, Elsie and Gideon must stand together to do what is right. But can Elsie learn to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well?
I have read the first two books in this series and enjoyed both. Beth's writing differs from a lot of Amish fiction that I've read in that she deals with difficult, sensitive themes and she does it well.
In Grace Given, many Amish families have migrated to Texas in order to build new lives where land was available. "The land was cheaper here, and when a man had three or more sons to parcel his land off, it wasn't enough in their former community." Problems often arose because these families represented both the Old Order and New Order faiths, so these beliefs had to be reconciled.
Not everyone welcomed them in Texas, however. This story contrasts the harassment some families received with the Amish vow of no resistance. As one character states, "It's much harder to resist retaliation than to abide by it."
Beth does a good job at shining the light on the fact that, although the Amish don't retaliate or press charges, this can be a difficult and costly decision in certain circumstances. But persecution is something the Amish are familiar with, as Gideon and Elsie's study of the Martyr’s Mirror shows. I felt for these characters and the Amish community as they were continually harassed and vandalized. And I loved how Beth portrayed Gideon's personal struggle so convincingly, and then how he reached out to the young boy, Nick.
Elsie also struggles with her sister Katie leaving the community, along with a young man who she cared about. I felt that there was more to come in this storyline and hope we see more of Katie and Jake in book 3, Healing Grace, which is available now.
This quote from Beth's website beautifully describes Grace Given: "Grace saves. Even in a world where retribution is almost expected, the Amish demonstrate that all can be pardoned, by following their vow of no resistance which shows the deep-rooted forgiveness within them."
Grace Given is a book that will make you think and reflect on persecution today, and I recommend it to readers of inspirational fiction.
Childhood memories of her grandfather’s ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she appreciates pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She visits a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!
Visit Beth's website at bethshriverwriter.com to learn more.
This book was provided by Booketeria and Realms in exchange for my honest review.