by Beverly Lewis

April 2009
ISBN: 978-0764205712
Reviewer Graphic Button Bethany House Publishers
Trade Paperback

Grace Byler has come of age and is hoping that her beau, Henry, will speak for her so they can marry in the fall, like most Amish couples do. Henry is quiet and soft-spoken, like Grace’s father, a man of few words.

Grace’s mother is suffering from depression, which seems to hit every year around the time of Grace’s birthday, and the anniversary of her aunt’s death. But this year, Graces mother, Lettie, is acting stranger than usual, going off for long walks, at night, alone, and sometimes crying for no apparent reason.

On the evening of Grace’s birthday, Lettie warns Grace that marriage to a reserved man is mighty difficult, seemingly warning Grace away from possibly marrying Henry. And the next morning, Grace wakes up and catches her mother leaving—a thing unheard of in the Amish community.

The family is shocked and dismayed over Lettie’s disappearance and can’t even begin to guess why she felt unhappy enough to walk out. Will they be able to find her and bring her home? Will they understand Lettie’s great secret that she’s carried all these years?

The Secret is the first book in Ms. Lewis’s newest series, Seasons of Grace. It is, as usually, an amazingly well-written story that completely engrossed me into the characters’ lives, and made me care for them completely from the beginning of the book.

Set in Pennsylvania Amish country, the book completely brings in the Amish heritage, and mind-set, while keeping in mind the differences between different Amish communities and cultures. Fans of Beverly Lewis will not want to miss The Secret. If you haven’t read any of Ms. Lewis’s books, or if you prefer to know the series is finished before starting a book, then perhaps you might want to wait for the next book in the series to come out before starting The Secret because you will be forced to wait another six to nine months before the second book in this series comes out.

It was really fun to read this book while in Pennsylvania on vacation, and as a result I could hear the differences in the speech patterns in this area, than the Midwestern dialect I am most familiar with. Don’t miss The Secret. It is a fantastic read. Highly recommended.

Reviewed in April 2009 by Laura.

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