War has come to the Mennonite colonies of Russia, leaving no choice for Reinhardt and Lillian, their three sons, and Reinhardt's foster brother Eli but to take a chance on the fields of America--Kansas, to be more specific. But no sooner is their ship out of the dock and tragedy strikes. A tragedy that leads Eli and Lillian to a very serious decision.
Fields of Grace is the story of a family trying desperately to survive. To survive the loss of everything familiar. To survive tragedy. To survive their own inner conflicts.
As a young adult reader, the perspective of Lillian's teenage son, Henrik, did wonders to get me in the story. Where otherwise we would have seen him as nothing more than a rebel, the sections written from his perspective show us why.
Lillian's other son, Joseph, was also a stellar addition to the characters, especially near the end of the book. As Eli and Lillian try to sort out their marriage, showing how the dysfunction affects Joseph was a valuable point in the story and in keeping the story realistic.
The book does use a number of phrases in the language of the Mennonites in that time. While they sparkled and made the culture real, I wish there had been a glossary to define them.
Fields of Grace is a journey. And not all of it is graceful. Lillian and Eli doubt the God they have been devoted to so long. This book provides a good look at a relationship with God amidst tragedy, change, and hardship. It gave me a new appreciation of what some Mennonites went through for their beliefs. It's a journey of stubborn love--and stubborn grace.
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