02 January 2015

Promise to Cherish by Elizabeth Byler Younts


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As World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes.

It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies – conscientious objectors to the war – and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.

Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.

Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?


Most of the Amish fiction I have read recently has a modern-day setting, so it was refreshing to pick up Elizabeth Byler Younts’ Promise to Cherish and take a peek at the Amish experience during World War II. Before reading this novel, I had no idea about the Civilian Public Service, but I really enjoyed learning a bit about it. And within this historical context, Younts tells a fascinating of two characters caught between two very different worlds and my heart ached for them as they struggled to face their challenges. It’s a very interesting and sweet read, and I think fans of historical fiction will enjoy it. Now, I am certainly eager to read more from Elizabeth Byler Younts.

Thanks to Goodreads First Reads, I won a copy of Promise to Cherish. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. 

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