While I have enjoyed a number of stories set in the Amish culture, The Roll of the Drums is the first book I’ve read by Jan Drexler. It is a story I would classify as a cozy romance although it is also historical fiction set in 1863 and is an interesting exploration of faith being challenged in difficult times. It is book 2 in The Amish of Weaver’s Creek series and I received a free copy of this book from Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
Amish minister Gideon Fischer, his wife, and four children were left with next to nothing after the Yankee soldiers came through their small community. Then when the army forced him to use his wagon to help carry their supplies, he was caught up in the war and all its violence even though he was a pacifist. Arriving home after several months, his flock had dispersed and his confidence and faith were shattered by the brutality of war he has been exposed to. He was determined to head to Ohio, as far away from the war as possible to start over in a safe place. His wife, Lovinia, was very ill and for her sake, they stop in Weaver Creek to let her rest in the welcoming community there.
Ruby Weaver has always been a bit too strange and independent for an Amish woman and her only friend is her younger sister Elizabeth. She has moved into Elizabeth’s cabin while her husband Reuben is off fighting in the war, helping her with the chores and helping to keep the cabin in shape and the garden going. She, too, is carrying a secret she struggles with and feels she must continue unmarried and is content with that.
When the Fischer family arrive, Ruby becomes fast friends with the dying Lovinia who extracts promises from both Ruby and Gideon that they will marry and raise her children together. This is a promise they both find next to impossible to comply with.
There are secrets and jealousies in the community and as the war threatens their peace once more, Gideon questions his faith and calling. How do they stand up to the raiders and keep the conscience of their beliefs?
This is an interesting look at Amish beliefs in the face of circumstances that would try to force them to turn their backs on the tenents of their faith. It deals with coping with grief for both adults and children and the way that hidden sins fester and destroy peace of mind. It also looks at relationships within families and how war changes people. It is the journey of faith through trials and a seeking for God. I would certainly read more by Jan Drexler and give this 4/5 stars.