Author: Jolina Petersheim
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A new view of dystopian literature that can leave you questioning your personal beliefs. Petersheim hooked me on the first page and never let me go!
Leora Ebersole is coping with her life in the Mt. Hebron Mennonite community after her father abandoned her family, then a year later her mother died. Suddenly, a plane comes streaking across the sky and crashes in the field near her house. As a group of Mennonite loggers pull the pilot free of the wreckage, Leora discovers that electronics are no longer working. One of the loggers is an Englischer and his cell phone doesn’t work, neither does the phone in the wood shop. Apparently, the customers at the community store, Field to Table, are also at a loss as their cars will no longer start. While the remaining Mennonites go to the school house to hold an assembly to make sense of what is happening, Leora stays at her house with the injured pilot. After he awakens, she learns that his name is Moses Hughes. She explains what she has heard of happening and he confides in her that it might be an electromagnetic pulse that has been set off. He explains that if this is the case, then the world is suddenly without power and humanity is going to get a lot worse. Food and water will become scarce and gangs will be on the rise to control what little there is. What would a pacifist community do if faced to choose between protecting their families or death? The answer might surprise you!
Two years is far too long to go with a new novel by Jolina Petersheim. Even so, the wait has well paid off. This story really dives to the heart of one of the beliefs of a Mennonite community. Pacifism is the belief that violence is unnecessary, even when faced with a threat. She does a great job of providing some history of how the beliefs originated and the past individuals that are revered for having the faith to stand strong in their beliefs as they were tortured or even killed. Throughout the entire book, I often found myself wondering if I would be strong enough to turn the cheek to the events happening.
Leora is the protagonist throughout the story that battles her own faith. She recites the beliefs and questions the community when they appear to consider compromising, but inside she is lost and hurting from her past. She blames herself for the events that have caused damage to her family and cannot seem to trust God. She is a very easy character to relate with as several of us have the same issues. Moses is the surprise character of the story. He begins by trying to run away from his problems and doesn’t want anything to go with God. However, by the end he is a different person who has learned from his mistakes.
There were plenty of twists throughout the book that kept it interesting and intriguing. By the time I was on the last chapter, I felt like I should only be about halfway through the book. How could this all wrap up in one more chapter? To my sincere happiness, the author let me know that there is going to be another book that will continue the story! I hope I can make it until it releases!