After reading The Outcast and The Midwife (two of the best fiction books I've ever read in my life), I've been eagerly awaiting and counting down the days until Jolina Petersheim's third book, The Alliance, was released. This book is a bit of her departure from her first two books. It's the first in a dystopian series. The setup of an EMP is reminiscent of Terri Blackstock's Restoration series, which I love. The cover of The Alliance is beautiful, like all of Petersheim's book covers, but the style of the cover has changed from the first two books. What hasn't changed, though, is Jolina's artful storytelling and her ability to write extremely realistic and non-formulaic Mennonite/Amish stories. The book description reads:
""[An] astute meditation on the intersection between belief systems and the politics of aggression." ~Publishers Weekly
When Leora Ebersole sees the small plane crash in her Old Order Mennonite community, she has no idea it's a foreshadowing of things to come. Soon after the young pilot, Moses Hughes, regains consciousness, they realize his instruments were destroyed by the same power outage that killed the electricity at the community store, where Englischers are stranded with dead cell phones and cars that won't start.
Moses offers a sobering theory, but no one can know how drastically life is about to change. With the only self-sustaining food supply in the region, the Pacifist community is forced to forge an alliance with the handful of stranded Englischers in an effort to protect not only the food but their very lives.
In the weeks that follow, Leora, Moses, and the community will be tested as never before, requiring them to make decisions they never thought possible. Whom will they help and whom will they turn away? When the community receives news of a new threat, everyone must decide how far they're willing to go to protect their beliefs and way of life."
Although I did love this book, I'm bumping it down one star for a simple reason: it took me several chapters to really get into this book. Once I got into it, I really enjoyed and and had trouble putting it down, but it started a little slow for me. I think the reason it started slow for me was the odd characters - I had trouble relating to them. We have Leora, a Mennonite girl who's running her own household after the disappearance of her father and the death of her mother. She has poor vision and wears thick glasses. She cares for her elderly grandmother, who's legally blind; her 16 year old mentally disabled sister; and her 13 year old brother. The other main character is Moses, and Englischer who was piloting a plane over Leora's Amish community when the EMP struck. Jolina's previous books have caught me from the very first sentence and refused to let me go, so I was slightly disappointed that this one took me a few chapters to get into. I also felt like the book, which was 354 pages, was padded out a bit by using a huge font and making a separate page dividing each chapter. However, all of that being said, this is a great book. I appreciated the exciting, original storyline, and I'm looking forward to The Divide, the next book in this series, coming out in Spring 2017 (such a long wait!). I continue to love Jolina's writing and can't wait to see what's coming next for the characters we meet in The Alliance.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.