Title: The Sound of Distant Thunder
Author: Jan Drexler
Series: The Amish Weaver’s Creek #1
Genre: Amish Fiction/Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: September 18, 2018
About the Book:
Katie Stuckey and Jonas Weaver are both romantics. Seventeen-year-old Katie is starry-eyed, in love with the idea of being in love, and does not want to wait to marry Jonas until she is eighteen, despite her parents’ insistence. So much can happen in a year. Twenty-year-old Jonas is taken in by the romance of soldiering, especially in defense of anti-slavery, even though he knows war is at odds with the teachings of the church. When his married brother’s name comes up in the draft list, he volunteers to take his brother’s place. But can the commitment Katie and Jonas have made to each other survive the separation?
From the talented pen of Jan Drexler comes this brand new Amish series set against the backdrop of the Civil War. She puts her characters to the test as they struggle to reconcile their convictions and desires while the national conflict threatens to undermine and engulf their community.
We often see literature painting a picture of the Civil War from the Union or Confederates, but rarely do we see it strike home with the Amish. Throughout history the Amish have purposefully removed themselves from the world’s affairs, and have been very adamant that they are against war. I had no idea that there was a draft enacted during the Civil War for the Union. It actually led me to do some googling after I finished the story, and was surprised when it was verified.
One thing I found interesting in this story was that while the country was fighting a war, the Amish were dealing with their own conflicts. While their disagreements weren’t a physical war, the understanding that different men had their own opinions on the interpretation of scripture was clearly causing disunity within their communities. Some looked for change while others were fighting against changes already being made. The anger and frustration the men felt on different sides was palpable. Yet even though they disagreed, their desire for restored unity was their biggest hope. They greatest fear wasn’t from the bloodshed of war, but disunity.
War is an ugly thing. Another thing that will really stick with me from this book is the many thoughts towards men and the war. While the Amish felt they should be excluded from the draft due to their religious beliefs, there really was no “win” situation for them. If they refused to fight, they could opt out by paying money or having a substitute. If they pay the money, it still goes towards the war. If the person who is their substitute dies then 1) it’s their fault and 2) they placed their own life before the other. If they refused either option they could be jailed or forced to go to war anyways. If they agreed to fight then the church would have them shunned for going against their beliefs. There was literally no win for them. As a reader it makes you wish war were avoidable altogether.
I really enjoyed this story and felt like it was an interesting new view about a time period I often read about. I would highly recommend it to historical fiction and Amish fiction fans. It’s one that I’m still thinking through even after finishing. I always say a good book will make you feel, and this one accomplishes that while making you think at the same time. Definitely worth the read!
*I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
Even though this story takes place during war I would still consider it a clean read. There are a few battle scenes that involve injuries however they are not described graphically. There is also one scene where a memory is shared of a young girl receiving inappropriate attention from a teacher. It’s very brief and not detailed, but she shares the moment because she feels she’s cursed from it. I could probably recommend this story for ages 13 and up.