With the popularity of reality television shows such as “Amish: Out of Order” and “Breaking Amish”, it was only a matter of time before a novel of this sort appeared. Although some aspects of the life of primary character Gideon Miller may parallel that of real life Moses Gingerich, Still Life in Shadows is a unique novel that stands on its own merits. Sometimes known as the “Getaway Savior”, Gideon does often help Amish young people relocate to “civilization” but that is not the real focus of the story. In fact, the relocated youth play a fairly minor role.
The truth of the matter is that Still Life in Shadows is really not that much about the Amish other than the effect being raised Amish had on Gideon’s life. Even his escape from their community had more to do with an abusive family situation than his dislike of the Amish. It is primarily a story of human relationships and how they can influence a person for better or worse.
The other primary character is Kiki, a young girl of Japanese heritage who also happens to be autistic. The story is told from both Kiki and Gideon’s point of view and ends up being a testimony to the profound changes in both lives due to their interaction.
With a well paced plot that mixes drama with a bit of suspense, a little humor, a touch of romance and a strong theme of forgiveness, Still Life in Shadows was a satisfying read. My only complaint is not about the book itself but the amazon.com description which contains a major spoiler. If you are looking for an Amish novel that is a departure from the norm, I heartily recommend Still Life in Shadows.