Book Review: The Longing


The Longing is the third installment in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series by Beverly Lewis. I reviewed the first book, The Parting, here and the second, The Forbidden, here.

In the previous books, Nellie Fisher’s parents and several others in the community have embraced the truth of salvation. Their bishop has allowed an unusual time of for people to think and make up their minds, but that time is over, and everyone who has embraced the gospel is under the ban, which divides some families.

Nellie came to know the Lord in the previous book, dividing her from her Old Order beau, Caleb. Caleb’s father, a stubborn, authoritarian man, has disinherited Caleb for his involvement with Nellie, so now Caleb is without both his land and his girl, living with his grandparents.

Then suddenly Caleb’s father has a tragic accident — he is kicked in the head by a mule and becomes paralyzed. He calls Caleb home to help the family but makes it clear their relationship is not restored.

Caleb’s cousin, Chris, whose family became Christians years before and transferred to a Mennonite church, comes to help Caleb with the farm chores and in the mean time gets to know Nellie May, not knowing of Caleb’s previous involvement with her.

Nellie’s heart breaks for Caleb, yet his family shuns her family’s offers of help, so they still have no contact. Chris becomes more of a presence in her life, and she is attracted to him, delighting in the fact that they share the same faith, yet they live in different worlds, and she is not sure which, if either of them, would be willing to cross over to the other.

Meanwhile Nellie’s sister, Rhoda, has left home to deliberately go into the world, and Nellie’s friend, Rosanna, who has been unable to maintain a pregnancy and who suffered an unspeakable loss when the woman who gave Rosanna her twins to raise decided she wanted them back, finds herself once again pregnant and faces the fears and sorrow of what she feels will surely be another loss.

In previous series by Lewis, one or two family members would come to faith in Christ, trusting His grace rather than their own works, and either would have to leave home, or would remain quietly trying to be a witness as they were able. In this series, the father was the first to believe rather than the one opposing newfound faith. I was delighted to find in the author’s notes that this story was based on an actual revival in Lancaster Count, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s.

I rejoiced in the new believers’ steps of faith, their kind yet firm stand on the truth, and the joy and seriousness in the way they live out their faith.

Semicolon hosts a weekly roundup of book reviews on Saturadays, and Callapidder Days has a place here for those involved in the Fall Into Reading challenge to post their reviews here. They are both good sources for learning more about books you might be interested in or getting ideas for new books to read.

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12 thoughts on “Book Review: The Longing

  1. I need to get this series. I love all of Beverly Lewis’ writings, but I’d love to read a series in which the father of the family gets saved. Sounds like a good one!

  2. I haven’t started this series yet. It sounds like a very nice read. I’m one of those who likes to read series books one after the other so I usually wait until the whole thing has been published and then go and get them. These are definitely on my list.

  3. I love Beverly Lewis … I know I read the Katie Lapp series… but I don’t remember Nellie Fisher – however – the STORY your relaying sounds SO familiar… especially the part about the father getting kicked in the head by the mule… I think I MAY have read it and just don’t remember it all… Anyway – she is a wonderful author and her tails are so engaging!

  4. I’ve seen Beverly Lewis’ name but haven’t ever read one of her books. I think this is the first review I’ve read, too. Sounds like an inspiring book.

  5. Pingback: Booking Through Thursday « Stray Thoughts

  6. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: October 4, 2008 at Semicolon

  7. Pingback: Fall Into Reading 2008: Book Reviews — Callapidder Days

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