An author friend, Evie Yoder Miller, has a new book out that may interest readers here. What follows is my review for Good Reads.
From five Mennonite, Amish, or German Baptist settings during the American Civil War, Miller’s book, Shadows, raises questions of how to live one’s scruples in yet another time of challenge. There are foreshadowings of today’s American Cold Civil War while staying true to its time.
The current context was on the author’s mind from the dedication, “to all who seek freedom for self and others, refusing the power trappings of weapons and words that kill, of labels that divide and discriminate” to the closing sentence of this trilogy’s Book 1, “A letter that left us straining for certainty.” We will see if more certainly is available as the war grows closer and more deadly. Yet the story stands on its own without a reader making such connections.
Whether from a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where the Union and Confederate soldiers ebb and flow around and through, a booming business in Chicago, Illinois, or an Iowa frontier, each of the well-drawn figures wrestles with conscience, received tradition, and current national conflict.
I found myself most drawn to J. Fretz Funk and expect others would find more in common with one of the other four narrators. The voices and situations of the characters ring clear. The questions they face are persistent, their responses, all too familiar.
Sometimes immediate choices need to be made, while some have the luxury of letting life slowly percolate. In either case, meaning is continually sought within whatever options are open at the moment.
I look forward to Books 2 and 3 and further journeys with Esther, Jacob, Fretz, David, and Betsey. I fully expect their lives will continue to be helpful in the uncertainties of this day.
Shadows, Book 1 of a trilogy, “Scruples on the Line,” a fictional series set during the Civil War, is available from your independent bookstore (choice 1), the publisher (choice 2), or peddlers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Evie’s website will give more clues about this book and others she has written.