Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stones in the Road by E.B. Moore

Published October 6, 2015 by NAL

A young Amish boy ventures from Pennsylvania to California in this richly imagined historical novel from the author of An Unseemly Wife.

1867. Growing up among the Pennsylvania Amish, eleven-year-old Joshua knows that his father is a respected church deacon who has the ear of God. But he’s also seen his father’s weakness for drink, and borne the brunt of his violent rages. In the aftermath of a disastrous fire, Joshua fears his father’s reprimand enough to run away from home. Having never experienced the ways of the English, Joshua now embarks on a decade-long journey to California, where he’s heard it’s always summer.

His mother, Miriam, is forced to take on the unusual role of head of the family when her husband is unable to recover physically, emotionally, or spiritually from the fire. As mother and son each find themselves in uncharted territory, they must draw on strength and forgiveness from within. Urged by everyone to accept her son’s death, Miriam never gives up hope of seeing Joshua again. But even as her prayers are answered so many years later, Joshua’s reunion will require him to face his father once again…

My Thoughts…

I am not sure why I took this book on for a review.   It is not my normal type of book that I would go for.   Yet, I am so very glad that I did.  E.B. Moore wrote a true to time amazing story of a boy at age 11 running away from home, finding a way to survive, and coming back home.    Stones in the Road is told by Joshua and by his mother, Miriam, in alternating points of view.  

Joshua comes from a loving Amish family.   He lives the sheltered life of 1867.  He understands that his dad, the Deacon, is the man in charge.    What he also knows is that his dad has a problem drinking.     His dad also abuses Joshua.      This forces him to run away.    I hated that he ran away, yet loved the characters he met and the scenery he saw.   It was also interesting to see how the different parts of the country reacted to a young boy looking for work, food, and a place to sleep.     I cannot imagine crossing the country not knowing where you are going, who you are going to run into, and how you are going to stay alive.   

Imagine as a mom thinking your young son is dead.    As you try to deal with the grief of not having a body to mourn and not knowing for sure, your husband falls apart as the head of family.    Now you have to step up and keep your family together while dealing with your own grief and struggles.     That is Miriam’s story.    She has to be one of the strongest characters I have read about.     She has her beliefs and tries to keep true to them, yet she knows that she has to reach out to others with different beliefs to try to find her son, keep her family fed, and raise the rest of her children.    

I really enjoyed hearing both Miriam and Joshua’s points of view.    While they lived in the same world their experiences were so different from each other.     The way Joshua grew up was so different than if he had stayed home.     Miriam’s life also would have been so different if Joshua had stayed.   

If you enjoy historical fiction stories this is a great book.   I recommend checking it out.

Book Links

Praise for An Unseemly Wife:
“Moore's lyrical writing reveals Plain ways and sensitively depicts the Holtz family's determined efforts to find their place among the diverse wagon train trekkers...both heart-wrenching and satisfying.” —Publishers Weekly

“Downright hard to read, but for good reasons. . .Ruth is a deeply nuanced character, and it is almost painful to watch her struggle to match the woman she is inside with the woman her faith expects her to be.” —Tulsa Book Review

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