Beverly Lewis,
The Heritage of Lancaster County #2:
The Confession

(Bethany House, 2008)

The Confession is not The Shunning. It's not as interesting, nor is it as well-written, but it's waaaay more preachy. I know this is Christian lit, but that doesn't mean it should lack depth.

The story picks up with Katie (now going by Katherine, her birth name) in Lancaster, searching for her birth mother. Soon enough she's off to New York, address in hand. When she gets there, however, all is not as it would seem, and she finds her mother needs her just as much. But, although Katherine does her best to get close to Laura Mayfield Bennett, her mother is always just out of reach. And there appears to be an impostor in the house.

Meanwhile, her heartsick Amish mother's health deteriorates. She is unable to face the harsh shunning the Amish bishop has ordered against her beloved daughter. Though family draws together to try to console poor Rebecca, her grasp on reality becomes more and more tenuous.

There are two major problems with this book, but neither one is the story, which remains interesting throughout.

First, there's the preachiness mentioned above. We get that Jesus is Laura's savior, and she's been saved along with all of her household. That fact is critical to the story. But the number of times and ways this is mentioned is completely over the top.

The other is the saintliness with which Laura is described. Never is her presence mentioned that it is not commented that she is so good, so uncomplaining, so long-suffering. Her fatal illness is of course tragic (she's afflicted with multiple sclerosis) but a deeper look into her personality might have yielded a more sympathetic character.

Over all, The Confession is readable, but it's not up to the standard set by the first book in Lewis's The Heritage of Lancaster County series. I'm holding out hope for the third book, The Reckoning.

book review by
Katie Knapp

8 January 2011

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