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Inescapable (Road to Kingdom Book #1) Kindle Edition
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I usually struggle with books written in the first person, but Nancy Mehl has such an easy-to-read style that I was hooked from the first page. The characters were all beautifully drawn and very believable. I didn't really know much about the Mennonite community before reading the book, but it's obvious that Mrs Mehl does, as the whole situation felt authentic. Both the romance and the suspense throughout the story were built gently, which made for quite a refreshing, relaxing read, while still being a gripping story.
I'm now looking forward to reading the rest of the Road to Kingdom series, and any other books by Nancy Mehl that I can get my hands on.
As much as I love Amish fiction, there are many parts of the lifestyle that I don't agree with, or think are essential to obtaining salvation or developing a close relationship with God. For me, it was encouraging to see an author delving into these issues in a Mennonite community that was slowly becoming more liberal, in its use of cars and permitting brighter colours to be worn. They might seem like tiny things to an outsider, but it was clear that Lizzie's community was trying to take the focus off legalism and rule-keeping in order to place it in those things that truly mattered, like grace and forgiveness. This aspect of the novel was particularly interesting for me.
I enjoyed the friendship Lizzie formed with Cora, the widow who owned Kingdom's first ever cafe, and seeing how Lizzie reconnected with her mother and several inhabitants of the town. This is definitely a town I'd love to revisit in later books.
There were some parts of the mystery that I liked, and others that didn't entirely work for me. I will start by saying that it took me a long time to figure out who was writing Lizzie the threatening notes, and why she was being followed. I had my suspicions earlier than Lizzie, but maybe only a few pages or a chapter before she figured it out. This part of the mystery worked really well. However, the pacing of the suspense felt off at times. It was pretty high at the start of the novel, then disappeared once Lizzie settled in Kingdom, only to come back again with a roar. It was either all there, or not at all. And it felt like some of the particularly suspenseful scenes at the end of the novel ended a little too soon, and some essential details were reported on after the event, so we never got to witness the scene. The mystery was good, but some elements were missing that could have made it really great.
I had my worries about how the issues between Lizzie and her father were going to be sorted out. It's clear early on in the novel that Lizzie's father emotionally, verbally and even physically abused her, forcing her to flee Kingdom as a teenager with a small baby. When Lizzie returns at the start of the novel, it doesn't seem like her father's attitude towards her has approved at all--in fact, it may have even got worse. Several people seem to push her towards reconciliation, and this worried me--sometimes the safest thing for someone like Lizzie is to stay away from her father, to prevent further harm coming to her and her daughter. Yes, forgiveness is very important, but it isn't unforgiving to put necessary distance between yourself and someone who is still abusing you. While I was pleased with the way this storyline worked out for Lizzie, her daughter and her mother (who was incredibly bold in standing up to her husband after all these years, and letting him know that she wouldn't allow his abuse to continue) I did worry that the ending was a little too happy, giving everyone's past experiences. I wish everyone had a happy ending like Lizzie's family, but I know this isn't the case in many abusive homes.
Ultimately, even if some of the pacing was a bit off and the suspense went up and down, I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Nancy Mehl and the town of Kingdom. This isn't your typical Amish novel, nor is it too suspenseful to those who aren't big fans of the romantic suspense genre. I hope to have the chance to return to Kingdom sometime in the future.
Elizabeth left her home town when she had a daughter called Charity and her father totally cut her off. She starts a new life in Kansas City, but when things go awry she has to get moving again. She then heads home to Kingdom which in its self is a very strange town, but she settles in and her daughter now 6 has settled in as well. I really enjoyed this book and looking forward to the next in the series.
5 stars. 18 November 2014.
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