Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Reviewer: Jen Roman
In this second installment of the Bishop’s Family series, David Stoltzfus faces a tough moral dilemma. He knows that one of the church leaders, Freeman Glick, has rigged the ballot system to make himself the new bishop of Stoney Ridge. David knows he has to speak up to right the wrong, especially since Freeman does not see the error of his ways, but he wants to be sure he is doing the right thing. Meanwhile, his meddling and overbearing mother, known as Mammi, arrives to “help” him and brings his two nieces, Laura and Abigail, in tow. Laura quickly fits in with David’s family, but Abigail, intelligent, direct, and honest to a fault, manages to set herself apart from everyone else by her know-it-all attitude and blunt observations. While helping her father with a genealogy project, she meets someone who finds her ways to be refreshing and even admirable. Just as she starts to get close to him, however, she learns some interesting secrets about his family that might cause him to rethink his high esteem of Abigail.
Many readers of Amish fiction know a lot about the Amish ways and the various differences between communities, but not many have read about a quieting, in which a church leader is removed from his position and a new leader is chosen. The details of how it happens and the meetings leading up to the quieting are discussed, and readers get to see how agonizing of a decision it really is. While it may seem cut and dry, there are many gray areas that make the decision, even if it is right, difficult to carry out. David toys with the idea of just ignoring the information he has about Freeman’s actions, but he knows that the problem will just fester if not addressed head-on. Knowing that Freeman’s sister Birdy, also David’s love interest, is the one who brought Freeman’s deception to David’s attention also causes concern. David wants to be with Birdy, but doesn’t know what a quieting on her brother will do to their relationship.
This is a second installment of a series, and The Quieting picks up just as David learns that Freeman has rigged the ballots used to choose the next bishop. Rather than recount a lot of what happened previously, the story jumps right in to David’s dilemma and throws his visiting relatives, Mammi, Laura, and Abigail, into the mix. Many pieces from the previous book are mixed in to make this current book interesting, but it takes some attention to detail to catch up on all the previous goings-on that affect the current story. This is not to say that it can’t be done, but it does prove to be difficult.
The characters, and there are many, in this book are mostly interesting and engaging. Abigail, as expected, is a bit difficult to take, and her story is not as interesting because of it. The ancillary characters, which include family members, friends, and people of the community, all have storylines that weave into one another. They create this rich fabric of a story that fascinates and entertains all at the same time. Many of these characters are also found in other series by Suzanne Woods Fisher, so she really has created a world of the Amish that can go on for seemingly forever. It will be interesting to see where the next book in the series, The Devoted, takes this group of God-fearing and charismatic individuals.
Suzanne Woods Fisher writes in a style that is simple yet interesting, and often at times conversational. This helps the stories get told quickly and thoroughly, so readers know not only what people are doing, but what they are thinking. I enjoy her style and this book was yet another success in telling an interesting story about a group of people that most don’t understand.
The Quieting is an interesting read that delves into the part of Amish life that many outsiders don’t see. It reflects the lifestyle of the Amish and for that reason does not use profanity. There is no violence. The only issue I had was that while the story can stand alone, there is a lot of work involved in trying to figure out what happened before and who each character is. Still, teens and adults will find this book of the Bishop’s Family series charming and entertaining.