By Jolina Petersheim
Published by Tyndale
365 Pages

BACK COVER: When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it's a foreshadowing of things to come. Soon after the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won't start.

Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.

In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they're willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life.

REVIEW: I was hooked from page one when Leora desperately seeks help from her community to save a man trapped in a small plane as it burst into flames. It was fascinating and scary to read how this situation might play out inside the Amish/Mennonite community and out. I appreciated how this author had readers see everyone’s faith be tested and how the outside community might react. I was surprised there was a mystery to solve in the middle of the suspense and drama as the end of “life” as everyone knew it was over.

This is a sobering look at an all too real crisis situation. One thing the other books I’ve read about on this topic had in common was the fact they mention the Amish community and how it would not be affected by an EMP- Electronic Magnetic Pulse. The pulse would wipe out all technology which they don’t use. This is a unique look at the disaster from within the Amish/Mennonite community.

A plane drops out of the sky and lands in an Amish community’s empty field. Leora and others help the pilot; an Englisher survive. No one knows what’s going on and why Englishers’ cars have stopped running.

Moses (the Englisher) knows exactly what’s up. When he’s physically able he speaks to the Mennonite council. He tells them, “Life as we knew it might be extinct. Honestly this is way beyond all of us…what I see is this: the cities will get hit hardest first. Food will run out in the grocery stores in a day or two, and there’ll be looting and crime almost instantly. Most Americans are so reliant on fast food or stopping at the Supermarket after work…when food runs out… then the exodus out of the city will begin…”

The council says to Moses, “We will not fight these – locusts, as you call them…fighting back is not our way and is certainly not Gott’s way. Our people have been practicing nonresistance since the 1600’s…If these strangers come as you say they will… we will be like Christ, we will love one another…””If that is a problem, anyone is free to leave at any time.”

There’s the rub Moses has been in combat, has seen the locusts up-close and personal. Matters can get pretty ugly and deadly real quick. He knew the danger. He wasn’t going to sit by and watch this community be demolished. They had no idea what was instore! He continues, “If I’m right, it’s a huge benefit that everyone will be prepared when things really get tough…if, I’m wrong – and I doubt that I am, but if I am wrong – what’s the problem with running people through a drill of worst-case scenarios?”

I enjoyed how this author unfolds the situation. I also liked that it was written from the POV of an Englisher – Moses – x-military, suffered from PSTD and someone who walked away from his faith and through the POV of a young nineteen year old Mennonite girl named Leora. Leora has cared for her siblings since their father disappeared and her mother died. She is an independent woman with a strong faith that is tested to the max.

Unexpected complications arise for this young lady as her feelings for the Englisher grow strong and Jabil a young Mennonite boy who’s had feelings for her for years; notices that attraction. He’s wanted to court Leora and is sad she doesn’t feel for him what he’s noticed she feels for this outsider. She told him they were friends, good friends, he was a safe man, not someone she’d love that way. Was Leora wrong to hold out for true love? Both Leora and Moses and Jabil agree this is not a time for romance. Leora is passionate about her view on love. She says, …”I’d rather die knowing there is a possibility of love than live in safety without it.”

I liked how these characters evolved as they faced new challenges, tough issues and choices that had to be made. This is a scenario everyone needs to learn about so they can be prepared. Many in our country are making plans to survive an EMP even now. .

The author ended the novel on a hopeful note and in such a way that left it open for a sequel. This would make a great read and/or book club pick. There are twelve discussion questions to help ignite a lively discussion for your book club meeting. This is the first novel I’ve read by this author it won’t be the last. Add it to your summer reading list. This is a must read!

ABOUT AUTHOR: JOLINA PETERSHEIM is the bestselling author of The Midwife and The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. Her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications such as Reader's Digest, Writer's Digest, and Today's Christian Woman. Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live on a solar-powered farm in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin with their young daughters. Follow Jolina and her blog at 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from The Book Club Network; Tyndale publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 
The Book Club Network blog 
Book Fun Magazine 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this fantastic review, Nora! I am so grateful! :)