The Sound of Dis­tant Thun­der

Jan Drexler

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction -

Rev­ell (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $15.99 (352pp) 978-0-8007-2931-8

A heart­warm­ing tale of faith and love, Jan Drexler’s Amish ro­mance The Sound of Dis­tant Thun­der starts in 1862, as the Civil War stretches on longer than ex­pected. The Amish com­mu­nity of Weaver’s Creek, Ohio, man­ages to keep it­self sep­a­rate, stay­ing true to their faith.

Twenty-year-old Jonas Weaver strug­gles to re­main spir­i­tu­ally grounded in this time of great up­heaval. He has yet to un­dergo bap­tism, though, and can­not func­tion fully within his com­mu­nity. When his brother is drafted and faced with the op­tion of ei­ther pay­ing a fee or send­ing a sub­sti­tute, Jonas doggedly takes his place. He leaves a lot be­hind—his long­time love in­ter­est, Katie; his fam­ily; and his con­nec­tion to his faith—to join a what he hopes is a just cause.

The Amish com­mu­nity works hard to stand apart from the worldly vi­o­lence they con­sider sin­ful. They don’t al­low their goods to go to­ward the war ef­fort; sev­eral lo­cals think of them as cow­ardly and weak. An in­ter­est­ing divi­sion also forms within the Amish com­mu­nity it­self, lead­ing to splin­ter­ing and in­fight­ing.

Jonas and Katie’s re­la­tion­ship in­ter­jects heart­felt mo­ments into the story. Be­fore the draft, Jonas works his in­her­i­tance acre to pre­pare for a fam­ily home. Be­cause he is un­bap­tized and Katie is so young, they can’t yet marry; re­gard­less, he dili­gently works to­ward their fu­ture. Their bond only deep­ens as they ex­change letters dur­ing his war ser­vice; those letters are in­cluded in beau­ti­ful nar­ra­tive asides.

Jonas has a fas­ci­nat­ing view­point when it comes to the war and his com­mu­nity. His rel­a­tive out­sider sta­tus al­lows him to step in to save his brother, but also to fight to abol­ish slav­ery. In­ner con­flicts be­tween faith and moral­ity drive his ev­ery de­ci­sion, even when it pushes him away from the safety of his fam­ily and church.

The Sound of Dis­tant Thun­der is an en­gag­ing his­tor­i­cal ro­mance. JOHN M. MUR­RAY

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