Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Bargain By Stephanie Reed Book Review


/ / The Bargain / /

{Review By Madi}

Book Title: The Bargain
Author: Stephanie Reed
Source: Review Book From The Litfuse Publicity Group
Number Of Pages: 178
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Year Of Publication: 2013
Madi's Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars
/ / Book Description / /
It's 1971, and Betsie Troyer's peaceful and predictable life is about to become anything but.

When their parents flee the Amish, nineteen-year-old Betsie and her seventeen-year-old sister Sadie are distraught. Under the dubious guidance of a doting aunt, the girls struggle to keep the secret, praying their parents will return before anyone learns the truth--a truth that may end all hopes of Betsie's marriage to Charley Yoder.

Worse still, Betsie must learn a trade while she boards with a dysfunctional Englisher family: Sheila, a twelve-year-old desperately searching for a friend and in dire need of her mother; the free-spirited mother, who runs off to "find herself" on the stage; the angry father whose structured life crumbles; and Michael, a troubled college dropout nearly killed in the Kent State Massacre.

Thrust into the English world, Betsie must grapple with the realities of war and miniskirts, pot parties and police brutality, protests and desertion. Can she help the Sullivan family and find peace in her new surroundings, or must she forget the bargain she made and seek refuge back in Plain City with protective and reliable Charley?
 / / Madi's Book Review / /
 Betsie is a sweet, innocent Amish girl helping her cousin out while he serves in the military. Her family has to give her a substantial amount of help with talking their Bishop into letting her board with an English (non-Amish) family, but eventually it works out for her to go. She starts her job at a leather shop, and she loves it. Or, should I say, she loves it when she actually gets the opportunity to work? Her boss's bum/hippie son is supposed to be training her, but he always seems to have better things to do. When she isn't working in the shop (which is constantly), she takes to keeping house for her employers family. The mother of this family always has her head in the clouds, thinking that if she just practices enough, she will one day make it big on Broadway. Needless to say, practicing her lines takes up most of her time, and she is basically neglectful of her family. When Betsie starts taking over the running of the home, the lady of the house hands it to her gladly. It doesn't take Betsie long to figure out that this family isn't anything like the one that she grew up in, and it's not just the cultural differences that throw her off. This family has some major issues to sort out.
 Meanwhile, at her own home, Betsie is dealing with the loss of her parents. No, they didn't die, they left the Amish faith. Which, to Betsie, was an even bigger form of betrayal than death. How could they break the promises they made to the church, long before she was ever even born? How could they desert their two almost-grown daughters? How could they abandon everything they had taught Betsie and her siblings since the day of their birth? It just wasn't right. At first, Betsie is sure that it's just a phase. She was sure they would come back eventually. I mean, how could they not? But slowly she comes to realization that her parents are gone for good, and now she must face the Amish community and take blame for her parents mistakes.
All at once, things seem to gradually grow worse, both at home, and at work. Will she ever get a break? Will she ever feel true peace again?
This book, though well written, was kind of, well, boring. Nothing new here. There was really nothing in it that made it stand out from your average Amish novel. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either. It took me FOREVER to finish it. It would probably make a good read for someone looking for a slower moving book with good dialoge, but it's not for me. I like suspense, action and surprise, and this didn't really come through on that. I might have given it a higher rating if there was at least ONE character that took things seriously. I don't know. It just wasn't my cup of tea, ya know? I hope that if you read it, you enjoy it, but I probably won't be reading any more books by this author unless it comes highly recommended.
/ / Favorite Quotes From "The Bargain" / /
"I don't know what to make of Michael. He's like Ohio weather; if you don't like it, wait fifteen minutes for a change."
"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials."
"Young bucks like to try out their antlers some."
"The problem with the English is that everyone wants to lead. No one wants to submit to authority."
"A change of clothes doesn't mean a change of heart."
"Love helps us do for others what we would never have the courage to do on our own."
"The wounds that hurt the most are those which are allowed to fester."
~Madi For The Literary Maidens
Note: I was provided with a free copy of "The Bargain" by the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not paid to do this review, and all thoughts expressed are completely my own and totally unbiased.

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