Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Christian's Hope by Ervin R Stutzman

   When Christian Hochstetler returns to the Amish after seven years in captivity, he finds that many things have shifted. Captured as a child during the French and Indian War, Christian has spent much of his life among Native Americans, who cared for him and taught him their ways. Now that Christian is home, his father wants him to settle back into their predictable Amish life of farming, and Christian's budding friendship with Orpha Rupp beckons him to stay as well.

Yet Christian feels restless, and he misses his adoptive Native American family--who raised him as their own son. When faced with a life-altering decision, will Christian choose the Amish identity that his father desires for him? Or will he depart from his family and faith community yet again?

"Christian's Hope" tells the story of the younger brother of Joseph and son of Jacob, whom readers have come to love in the first two books in the Return to Northkill series. Based on actual events and written by a descendant of the Hochstetler family, "Christian's Hope" brings the sweeping epic of the Return to Northkill series to a soul-stirring end.

My review:

  I never read Amish fiction, and am not a fan of it at all. This book intrigued me since it is written by a man, and the plot sounded totally different from the average Amish fiction. It is the third in a trilogy, but I decided to give it a try.

 I do wish I had read the previous two books first, but I easily picked up on the gist of what had happened in the other books.

  This book is definitely different from other Amish books. First off, it is mostly written from the male character's point of view, which is not the norm. Secondly, the whole idea of an Amish boy returning from an 8 year captivity among the Indians was a very interesting and unique plot.

 The author did a great job of presenting the conflict in a young man who had been with the Indians so long that he felt more like an Indian than the Amish he grew up in. At times I wanted to shake the guy, and then had to remind myself that this was just a story after all.....

 I enjoyed the book even more than I hoped I would. The plot was great, I liked  the characters, especially Christian, a young man feeling he didn't belong with his own people. It was a fun, interesting, and educational read, and is one that men will enjoy, and not just women,

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About the author:

Ervin Stutzman is currently Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA.

Before taking on this role in January 2010, he served for nearly 12 years as Dean and Professor of Church Ministries at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, Va. He has also served the Mennonite Church in the roles of pastor, district overseer, missions administrator, conference moderator and, from 2001 to 2003, as moderator for Mennonite Church USA.

Ervin graduated with a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati (Ohio) Christian University. He holds master's degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He received his Ph.D. from Temple University. His master's thesis at Eastern Mennonite Seminary was "Biblical Interpretation in the Free Church: Appropriating Scriptural Truth Through Communal Discernment." For his doctoral dissertation he wrote "From Nonresistance to Peace and Justice: Mennonite Peace Rhetoric, 1951-1991."

Ervin was born a twin into an Amish home in Kalona, Iowa. After his father's death a few years later, his mother moved the family to her home community near Hutchinson, Kan. Ervin was baptized in the Center Amish Mennonite Church near Partridge. Later, he joined the Yoder Mennonite Church. Ervin married Bonita Haldeman of Manheim, Pa. Together they served for five years with Rosedale Mennonite Missions in Cincinnati, part of that time in voluntary service. Ervin was ordained to serve as co-pastor of Mennonite Christian Assembly. From there, the Stutzmans moved to Pennsylvania, where they were members of the Mount Joy Mennonite Church. They currently live in Harrisonburg, Va., and are members of Park View Mennonite Church, where Ervin regularly teaches a men's Bible study.

Ervin is a preacher, teacher and writer. His Herald Press publications include Being God's People, a study for new believers, Creating Communities of the Kingdom (co-authored with David Shenk), Welcome!, a book encouraging the church to welcome new members, Tobias of the Amish, a story of his father's life and community, and Emma, A Widow Among the Amish, the story of his mother.

Check out his website for more about him and his books.

Christian's Hope, and the other two books in the Return to Northkill is available from Herald Press.

Thanks to Litfuse Publicity for the review copy.