Will obedient, hard-working Hannah Yoder manage to keep her family together along the banks of her beloved Conestoga Creek in 1842 Pennsylvania? Will she give her heart to the best friend of her youth, who will allow her to stay in Pennsylvania, but expects her to embrace his Mennonite faith and illegal anti-slavery activities? Or will a new, Amish farmer convince her to follow him into the wild unknowns of Indiana? In Hannah’s Choice, Jan Drexler presents a deep and complex cast of characters whose choices each impact the others in significant ways.
Firstly, the complicated issue of slavery brings a depth to the novel that many works of Amish fiction tend to lack. Drexler delves into the struggle many in this time period must have faced: whether civil laws and authorities deserve obedience when they clearly oppose God’s laws.
In many ways, several of the secondary characters in the novel proved more compelling than Hannah herself. Annalise Yoder’s struggle with depression, her husband’s need to protect and guide his family, Liesbet’s willingness to do anything to escape the confining Amish faith of her childhood, and Adam’s God-given calling to fight slavery even though in involves breaking the law, all beg the reader to turn another page. As a glimpse into a fascinating historical period, and a as a story with real and relatable characters, Drexler’s work is excellent.
The central love story, however, leaves something to be desired. While the choice Hannah must make between her two suitors is interesting enough, the story itself lacked passion. While Drexler makes the point that true, lasting love grows out of friendship and shared faith, this reader would have enjoyed more opportunities to see this process in action. The result was a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion, and the question as to whether Hannah truly did make the best choice.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.