WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis
Type: Amish, Christian Fiction, Contemporary
Basic Plot: Katherine has finally sorted out her life to be what she has always dreamed, rich and fancy, but as things from her Amish past keep coming back to haunt her, she wonders if her “real life” is really with the English.
Plot: 2½/5 Below Average: The first two books in the series were made interesting mostly by their interesting plot. Though the style was weak in some ways, the story was interesting and unique. The plot in this book is more cliché and dull than the first two. Katherine’s life has become more romance focused. A romance focused plot does not have to be boring, but there was little beauty or deepness that makes certain romance classics and novels worth reading. The only interesting parts were the ones concerning character’s salvation, and even those were not as expounded on as some of the less interesting parts. Also, some of the characters actions were not really “in character.” Though the author would know them best, some of the attempts at having a happier ending seemed to make the characters do things that one may wonder if they would actually do, such as the lifting of the shunning from Katherine.
Writing Style and Setup: 2½/5 Below Average: The setup and style in this book was sloppier than the others. Though jumping among several characters in a chapter can be done smoothly, Ms. Lewis was a lot less smooth in this book. It was choppy feeling. Details on certain events were greatly left out as well; having some time skips over parts that may be considered important or interesting.
Moral: 2/5 A Good, But Weak Moral: The moral of the series was that we should be happy with the life and plan God has given us and to be content with it. This is true in several ways, as the Bible says in I Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” The other moral was that salvation was by grace and faith, not works. It is a gift, not a reward. Both of these morals are good, but they were not as expounded on as they probably should have been. The latter was expounded on more, but because the focus was more on Katherine’s new life, it was not expounded on as it could have been. The contentment moral was good, though I do not know if I agree with all of the details. The author almost made it seem like having extravagant things was discontentment, which is not true. It is not a sin to be a rich Christian, it is merely sinful to lust after and misuse the riches rather than to invest them in God. Perhaps that was what she was trying to say, I just did not get that as much as she might have meant it.
Overall: 2½/5 Below Average: Out of all of the books in this series, this one was the worst. It felt like the author had speed written it in an attempt to get the next book out. It was sloppy in comparison to the other ones; therefore, concerning quality, it is not as recommended as the first two. The focus of the story has changed, going from a focus on Katie’s life and religious freedom to a focus on the dull romantic life of her and her friend’s.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Romance and Some Suggestive Content: A woman goes on a trip with a man she is not married to, and she briefly worries a little that they will share a room until he tells her that they won’t be. Unmarried and married characters kiss, hug, hold hands, and other affectionate touching, though no where that would commonly be considered inappropriate. The kisses themselves are not detailed, but it is said where the people are kissed, such as the mouth and chin. It briefly mentions that a girl is “flustered” after running into a boy. It is mentioned that a mother nurses her child.
Violence: ½/5 Slight Violence: A woman remembers a snowball fight she had as a child. A girl runs into a boy.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Some Light Emotional Content: A boy dies from a brain tumor, and a woman cries over it. He slowly loses his sight and becomes more listless, though there is little extremely dramatic detail. A woman gets a stroke. Characters worry that people will die, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. A woman visits her mother’s grave. Characters that died in the past or died recently are mentioned. One is mentioned to have died from a heart attack. A baby cries from colic and stomach pain. It is mentioned that a mother had a stillborn child. Characters cry for several reasons, whether for someone’s death, someone’s injury (or their own past one), or just emotional circumstances. A girl is mentioned to have tripped and gotten a scab.There is mention that a man was believed to have drowned. A woman tells a girl that she will get a headache from drinking too much lemonade, though it never says if she does or not. The acknowledgements thank different people and a society related to hospices and sclerosis. “Coffin” is used for descriptive purposes when a sick person is laid down.
Religious Issues: 1/5 Some Religious Issues: There is mention of head coverings, and Katherine, by the end of the book, believes that it is God’s will for wives to wear head coverings.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Haunting” is used for descriptive purposes.
Others: Some people are once briefly mentioned to be dancing. Women are mentioned to wear pants. A woman once thinks that she would “drown her sorrows” in wine if she were a drinker, though she doesn’t.
Overall: 2½/5 Older Child Appropriate: Overall, I would recommend the book for children twelve to thirteen and older for some emotional and romantic content.