Lenny happened to notice his blurry reflection on the windowpane. He knew it was his image; nevertheless, he couldn't recognize his own face. Those almond-shaped eyes and dark-brown hair belonged to him, yet, inside, he felt disconnected from his past, having never known his own father. Grandpa had insisted, "Leonard, needs to come spend a summer at the home-place ..." A teenage boy, struggling with his identity, reluctantly leaves his modern, city-life behind and enters the slow-paced, mysterious world of the Amish. Grandpa teaches Lenny to farm with draft horses, a tranquil experience that seeps into his soul, changing his perspective. A neighbor girl appears while he is working in the fields, weaving a romance in the fabric of his summer. Lenny discovers that everyday on an Amish farm is an adventure. Thunderstorms rumble above, as a fragile relationship, between an Amish family and their non-Amish visitor, begins to unravel. Daybreak in a cow pasture, plowing with horses, enchanting moonlit buggy rides, and picturesque sunsets are all part of life, Under the Heavens.
My take on this book:
Lenny Gingerich can't help but wonder about who he really is. You see he never knew who his father was, so his step grandfather, who happens to be Amish thinks that he needs to come and spend the summer at his farm, so that he can teach him a bit about his heritage. When he arrives the first thing he sees is his grandfather's huge horses, and while Lenny loves horses feels a bit intimidated by them. He also feels a bit out of place on the Amish farm, that is until his grandfather assigns him to a summer job of being the Horse Boy, he will be responsible for taking care of the horses, and will also learn how to drive and handle them. Lenny's summer is one of changes, as he learns to farm with horses he also learns several valuable life lessons as well.
Thomas Nye certainly captures the heart with the story of Lenny Gingerich, a young man who feels like he doesn't really belong. As a stepson it seems that he has a good relationship with his father, but he still wonders who he really is. While he has visited the Amish farm before spending the summer there had him feeling homesick, but as the summer moves on, he finds himself adjusting. The author really brings farm life alive, I really felt like I was visiting the Gingerich farm, rich detail allowed me to envision the day to day going on that goes along with taking care of animals and having a farm. I have visited a few Amish farms so I could easily envision those big Percheron horses, and how intimidated Lenny must have felt in the beginning. As an avid Amish fiction reader Under The Heavens was a unique read,because it isn't the typical amish romance. Instead it feels like a coming of age story for young Lenny. Readers get an accurate look at the slower pace of Amish life, while also learning about farming and horses. A quick easy read, even though the book is 400 pages, I found myself zipping thru the pages to see what might develop next. Overall, a story that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a coming of age story that takes readers on a journey to an Amish farm.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.