Elizabeth Byler Younts is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. She is an Air Force officer’s wife and a homeschooling mom with two young daughters. She makes her home wherever her family is stationed. Elizabeth was Amish as a child and after her parents left the church she still grew up among her Amish family and continues to speak Pennsylvania Dutch.
Learn more about Elizabeth and her books on her Website .
ABOUT THE BOOK:
As World War II draws to a close, nurse Christine falls in love with roguish Amish boy Eli and must choose between a new, uncertain life in the Amish faith or face the judgment of a conservative postwar American society for her past mistakes.
It’s 1945, and Christine Freeman is a nurse at Hudson River State Hospital, where she works alongside members of a Civilian Public Service unit. Eli is one of the conscies—conscientious objectors to the war—and he is doing his best to become a man of character instead of the immature heartbreaker he used to be back home in his Amish community.
Christine and Eli are friendly, but when an old acquaintance, Jack, returns home from the war, Christine’s world is violently turned upside down. Eli, heartbroken to see his friend so hurt, offers her an escape within his Amish community. Despite her misgivings, Christine is fully embraced by Eli’s community. She slowly begins to feel valued and loved as she learns the Amish way of life.
Christine finds herself falling for Eli. But soon, the abusive Jack discovers Christine in her Amish hideaway and starts causing trouble for the quiet community. Christine can’t see herself becoming Amish, and she knows that if Eli leaves the church to be with her, he will be shunned. Will she escape Jack and possibly have to give up the one thing she holds most dear, or will she follow her heart and promise to cherish the Amish man who loves her?
“Promise to Cherish” is much more than the typical Amish fiction. Much of the story takes place in the Hudson River State Hospital during World War 2 where Christine Freeman is a nurse for patients with various mental problems. Eli, an Amish conscientious objector is assigned to her unit where he has a positive influence on many of the patients. The author’s vivid descriptions of hospital conditions and attitudes toward both the mentally ill and the conscientious objectors are eye-opening and disturbing.
The realistic plot covers some tough subjects without pulling any punches, yet manages to do so without unwelcome details. The Amish were not placed on a pedestal but were portrayed with a fresh honesty that revealed that deep down we are really not all that different. Well-developed characters who grew in their faith and managed to overcome despite their serious challenges were central to the story. I especially liked Aunt Annie whose acceptance, compassion, and wisdom made such a difference to Christine’s life.
I enjoyed “Promise to Cherish” and would recommend it to all who enjoy Amish fiction.