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The Prodigal
By Beverly Lewis

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The Prodigal

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The Prodigal
Abram's Daughters - Book 4
By Beverly Lewis
Large Print Edition
Bethany House Publishers, 2004
ISBN: 0-7642-2879-X
Genre: Christian Fiction

Reviewed by Angela Evans - December 1, 2004

The Prodigal is the fourth book in Beverly Lewis acclaimed series, Abram's Daughters. This series follows the lives of the Ebersol family, in particular the family's daughters. The Ebersol's are an Amish family, and in telling this tale, Lewis brings to life the faith and traditions of Amish society during the 1940 and 1950s. Importantly, Lewis explores the influences exerted by the outside world on the Amish via their rumschpringe practice. The rumschpringe is a period when Amish children near the age when they must decide if they want to be baptized into the church, or leave their Amish life behind and go out in the world. To help them decide, these young adults are allowed a period of unbridled freedom when they can go and do anything they want. For most, this brief flirtation with the decadence of American society is sufficient and they willingly enter the church and the responsibilities of Amish adulthood. Others however, never return. In The Prodigal, Lewis highlights the freedoms allowed during the rumschpringe, and the heartache that can arise from this rite-of-passage.

In the The Prodigal, we again meet Leah and her sister Sadie who recently returned to the family fold after repenting her previous misdeeds. Now, we find Leah raising two of her younger siblings. One of them, Lydiann, has come of age for her rumschpringe. The question is, will Lydiann follow the good examples presented by Leah or will she repeat the mistakes of Sadie? To complicate matters, Sadie is under the watchful eye of the community's Bishop who has placed special strictures upon her, old secrets resurface, love interests are inflamed including one for Abram Ebersol, and faiths are tested when Abe Ebersol, the youngest son in the family, is injured. Even some secrets of those outside the family, and the community, are also revealed.

The Prodigal is an intense, moving story that highlights the power of faith, prayer, and family. It is also a story filled with intrigue that will keep you glued to the pages of the book from beginning to end. While you can read this book out of sequence from the rest of the books in the series, I highly recommend that you read them in order as it is a sequential tale and it is easier to understand the motivation and history of each character if you have followed them since the beginning. The books in the Abram's Daughter series are:
  1. The Covenant
  2. The Betrayal
  3. The Sacrifice
  4. The Prodigal
  5. The Revelation (This book has not yet been published, but is slated for release in the summer of 2005.)

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