A solid start to the series: "The Tinderbox" by Beverly Lewis
about the book....
"I've marveled at Dat's ability to accept the Old Ways so readily, considering his modern upbringing. Mamma says it's like he was born to be Amish. Maybe so, but all the same, I wished I knew something more about his past."
With her parents' twentieth anniversary approaching, eighteen-year-old Sylvia Miller finds her father's cherished brass tinderbox left unlocked. Against her better judgment, Sylvia opens the heirloom, not realizing that what she is about to discover will splinter apart her happy life and alter everything for her close-knit Old Order Amish family. As the long-kept secret emerges into the light of day, can the Millers find a way forward through the turmoil to a place of forgiveness?
Filled with characters that readers will love getting to know, "The Tinderbox" is a heart-warming novel that is sure to please Beverly Lewis' large fan base. I quite enjoyed the unique plot that Lewis has crafted, where Sylvia's dad had left the English life behind to become Amish, but also left a secret buried that will impact everyone in the family and their close-knit community. I found myself quite moved as I read about her dad's experience of being shunned, as I've never seen it betrayed in this type of context before where her dad's own young children experience a separation from him. Shunning is a practice that is difficult to imagine in our modern church settings, and there are elements of it that seem overly harsh. And yet when I watch the grace that is poured out once the shunning is over and see how deep and meaningful it is when the person is restored in the community, I cannot help but see that there is some wisdom in the process as well.
I will admit that the first third of the novel moved a tad slowly for my liking, and I'm not sure if this is because this novel is the first in a two part series and so the author took their time laying the ground work for the story. But the pace certainly picked up once the secret is out, and the final chapter leaves quite the cliffhanger indeed! I am now extra eager to see what is going to next be in store for the Miller family with this new development, though I dare not say more for fear of ruining the story for you.
All in all, "The Tinderbox" is a solid addition to Lewis' ever growing repertoire of novels, with moving themes of grace and forgiveness that make for an enjoyable read. I award this novel 4 out of 5 stars.