The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall is an enjoyable read with interesting characters. It's not great literature, but, then, I don't think anyone picks up a book in this genre with the hope of discovering The Great American Novel. It's the kind of thing to read when you are curled up in bed with a cold, and you want to enjoy something sweet, predictable, and soothing. I have many such moments in my life, and, apparently, a lot of other women do, too, for there are shelves upon shelves of Amish literature.
I have read a few novels in this particular genre that I really have enjoyed. I wonder, though, if the Amish are amazed that fictional tales of their lifestyle fill so many bookshelves. I also wonder if they are surprised to see their doctrine mixed with the doctrine of modern evangelicalism. It seems ironic, given their desire for simplicity, that they have received so much publicity in this form. I also hope that neither writers nor readers believe that Amish novels are the limit of Christian fiction.
Perhaps, one reason why we are drawn to reading and writing Amish fiction today is that the Amish culture presents a way to develop modern characters who are wholesome. I think women today are craving more wholesome subjects for reading. Is that why Jane Austen has been so popular in the last few decades? I wonder. Despite her satirical themes, her characters can be counted on to behave themselves tolerably well in your drawing room. There is a place for wholesome characters who live wholesome lives and who overcome their struggles by their faith.
By the way, I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, but my opinions are my own.