“The Roll of the Drums” by Jan Drexler is the second book in this series, but can easily be read as a standalone. I had not read the first book, and didn’t feel that I had missed anything by starting with this one.
At its heart, the book tells the story of an Amish couple realizing their true feelings for each other. However, because of the storyline details, this is much more than a typical Amish romance. The male lead (Gideon) is already married with four children when the book opens. The family takes refuge in Ruby’s community, and the stage is set.
This story will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride. First, you’ll experience the fear and frustration of a family fleeing a war-torn area. Then, it’s on to the joy of new friendship, quickly followed by tears brought on by the death of a friend/wife/mother. As you move closer to the final chapter, you’ll be treated to happiness again as everyone involved seeks the healing that they need. (Not spoilerish: this info can be found on the book jacket.)
The emotions evoked by the events in this story are genuine. As a reader, you’ll honestly believe what each character is feeling, as each individual reaction makes perfect sense given what you’ve come to know about the characters. As a person, you’ll feel many of the emotions yourself…the story and dialog are THAT well written.
Ruby, the female lead, is a breath of fresh air. She is loving, devout, and sincere in her faith, as most Amish heroines are. However, she is also focused, creative, and believes in herself enough to realize she doesn’t need a man to be fulfilled in life. It’s nice to see an Amish woman willing to step out of the box a bit (while in NO WAY going against her religious beliefs) to stand up for herself and her own wants and needs.
In addition to the Gideon/Ruby storyline, the reader will be exposed to lots of information about the daily life of the Amish, including plenty of local dialect and vocabulary. I found this refreshing, as some Amish novels don’t reach for this level of historical accuracy.
Smaller side plots involving other members of the community add to the depth of the story, giving the reader a stronger sense of involvement. I look forward to future installments of this series to learn more about things that were only hinted at in this volume.
There are some wonderful religious lessons to be gleaned from the story as well. The theme of trusting the Lord despite difficult circumstances flows throughout. The issue of self-blame when bad things happen to loved ones is also addressed, with a particularly insightful character tactfully explaining the link between self-blame and pridefulness.
Head into this book expecting a great story, and some valuable life/faith lessons. You will not be disappointed!
Five out of five chunks of creamy mozzarella!