Suzanne Barrett's Reviews > The Wounded Heart

The Wounded Heart by Adina Senft
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Nov 01, 11

Read in October, 2011

The Wounded Heart is my first Amish book, though not the first book I’ve read by the talented author who is also Shelly Bates.

Set in Lancaster County, PA, the story is about young widow Amelia Beiler who has two small sons and a pallet business she is forced by circumstance to run. Amelia deeply loved her husband Enoch, who was killed in a buggy accident. While she misses him and finds her house lonely, she’s an independent spirit (something of a rarity in the structured Amish community?) and prefers her house to having to move in with her parents. But when another tragedy strikes–this time one of health and her ability to manage her business and even the future care of her sons, Amelia must seek help outside the confines of her community. Even the potential of happiness with a member of her sect must be put on hold as she grapples with a treatment that could have dubious effects and ostracize her from her community. Only the close relationship with her friends and fellow quilters keeps Amelia on an even keel.

Ms. Senft’s storytelling ability shines in this heart wrenching story of one woman’s agonizing decision and its repercussions on her family and community. Well-crafted, with immediacy and detail, Sent gives the reader an interesting glimpse into the lives of a religious sect, curious for shunning modernity. I was amazed to learn they shun electric washing machines, yet employ workers to convert these same machines to run on battery power. I nearly had heart failure to learn some of their Sunday meetings last five hours and that there might be so many mouths to feed afterward that two separate sittings must be arranged (men fed first, women last). Still, though left a little weak-kneed by the strong patriarchal system, I found the faith aspect simple and beautiful, and intimately described by the author. I could feel Amelia’s faith and also her need to be whole for her sons. I also warmed at the love she had for her parents and her two friends.

Pick up a copy of The Wounded Heart. It’s a deeply emotional story and a lovely read.
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