The Thorn by Beverly Lewis is one of those easy read books that can leave you feeling good about yourself and with an unfulfilling story. It was enjoyable but never felt quite true to me.
Beverly Lewis is best known as an Amish fiction writer. She has a couple dozen books that show facets into Amish life. All her books seem to revolve the central themes of love and faith. My mom and I have been reading her books for years. Knowing how much my mom enjoys these books, I knew that this would be one of several books I should gift to her for Christmas. So after she was done with this book and I worked through different parts of my book piles, I got a chance to borrow this book from her. It’s an easy read and it made me think of my own faith. I always find myself praying more when I read a Beverly Lewis novel and during lent, so it seemed like a good fit.
The Thorn is book one of the Rose trilogy. The story is set in the 1980s and revolves around two sisters: Rose Ann and Hen. Hen decides to return to a more plain way of life after marrying an Englisher before entering the Church(hence she was never shunned) and is struggling with how to raise a daughter in a world that seems to have too many temptations/sins. Rose Ann (Rosie) is living with her family as she contemplates her life. Rose’s story is simpler in many ways other then the fact that she has a little love triangle going on between Nick (her neighbor and good friend) and her beau. The plot moved along as it should and wasn’t too predictable.
The book’s biggest problem was the dialogue. Especially that between Hen and Brandon. It never rang true and all too often the words never matched the feelings being described. I talked to my mom about it and while the book was slightly forgotten, she thought that it might be a problem of my perspective since Hen’s upbringing was much more of a pacifist and so the little arguments could have seem much more because of that. I personally don’t buy that. If it quacks like a duck and looks like a monkey, it’s probably a monkey imitating a duck. I thought Hen wanted there to be these huge fights and for things to be harder then they were. Either that or her husband was the most passive aggressive person known to man. Plus there were times when Rose is talking to Nick that the dialogue didn’t feel right. As a reader, I kept finding myself being pulled out of the narrative saying “really? You want me to believe that? Okay I guess I will go with that.” Plus I hated the way the Pennsylvania Deutsch translation was blended into the dialogue when two Amish people are talking to each other. When I’m talking with one of my friends from Denmark, I would never say “Oh it was so hygglic-comfy cozy”. I wouldn’t have to translate hygge to them. Instead that translation should have been on the other side of the quotation marks or even in a translation dictionary at the back of the dialogue.
On a minor side of things, I would have problems with the timeline of things. People would appear out of nowhere, a sudden shift of perspective, or the third hand problem. Those things could easily be over looked other then the fact, this year I’m more critical reader and I am spotting these things easier.
All in all, The Thorn wasn’t bad. It was a nice way to get away from reality for a little bit. But the dialogue would kill me and kept the book from being excellent or even that good. It’s like Twilight- a fun easy read that pulls you in while the critical side of your mind is finding errors and realizes that in all honesty the book isn’t that good.