I always find it interesting when reading an Amish novel because I try to compare them with the Amish community and culture in my town. What is interesting is that each Amish community is different – they all have different rules to abide by through the Ordung, but yet they are similar in their mannerisms and character traits. A Seat by the Hearth is an Amish Homestead about a young woman who had left the Amish community. She then ended up in an abusive relationship and having a child out of wedlock. The only way that she could escape her abusive relationship and provide for her child was to go back to the Amish community and hope that they would accept her back in. The story writes that many accepted her back right away but that her father was very harsh and did not show acceptance because of what her story did to the reputation of their family name. He in a sense forces her to marry someone she initially did not want to marry. You see that is where the book I feel is inconsistent with the true Amish culture. There are assumptions that the Amish have prearranged marriages but they do not. The Amish culture does not force anyone to get married. Anyways in the book this young woman marries a man and they grow from a relationship of friendship to one where they have a true love for one another. The father stops bitterness towards his daughter and the ending is happy. It seems that in the majority of the Amish fiction books that I have read, the father always is portrayed as harsh and bitter. I do not like how Amish fiction portrays this for the majority of the story- lines. I feel it gives the Amish community a bad reputation and encourages assumptions from those outside of the Amish community. Although I understand the authors do this for a plot – I feel if an author was to write a fictional Amish story that it should maybe be a bit more accurate with the pure character traits the Amish strive for. I did like this book but I give it a 4 out of 5 stars because I wish the father wasn’t portrayed as so mean. This is not what the real Amish are like.
I received this book from its publisher in exchange for a review.