Abby Finds Her Calling: Home at Cedar Creek - Book One. Naomi King. New American Library Trade Paperback, Penguin Group. March 2012. 320 Pages. ISBN #: 9780451235732.
Welcome to a new series about the Amish community in Cedar Creek, Missouri. It's a beautiful fall day which bridegroom James Graber is relishing as he watches the carriages of Amish from surrounding and far away communities converge on Cedar Creek for James's wedding that day. Watching them arrive, James is contemplating his future wife, Zanna, whom he loves and is determined to cherish for the rest of their lives. Things seem to go completely awry a few minutes later when Zanna's sister, Abby, comes to tell James that Zanna is nowhere to be found. What a disaster - embarrassment galore, shame, anger, fury, confusion and so much more are felt and expressed. The Bishop who was to marry them decides they will worship and celebrate life in spite of the lack of a bride and groom.
So begins a story in which Zanna does reappear but in a condition that all blame her and James for, which was really caused by a secret other. Because of her sin, Zanna is "banned" (or shunned) for six weeks by her community, but it takes a lot longer than that for the community to heal and begin to treat her civilly.
During that time, secrets will be revealed. A lost son will return through a terrible tragedy and the unexpected will happen to both Zanna and Abby, who has mentally nurtured a hidden love of her own she's had for eons it seems. It may seem a bit stretched the way it all turns out, but that happens in a very nice way that the reader will definitely enjoy.
Naomi King has a very unique gift of presenting a simple romance with a few twists and turns. Her unique talent is making sure every possible point of view is expressed in a credible, real way that is quite edifying and electric with tension. Not many authors who write this type of fiction have such a balanced perspective. It's not a touchy, feel good book, just a very honest story about love and grace gone amiss and the honestly difficult but determined journey it takes to come truly "home."
Very nicely done, Ms. King!