To Holly’s amazement, one day her mother reveals to her that Holly not only has living grandparents, but a large extended family living near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her extended family members are all Amish. Esther also reveals some of the circumstances behind the secrecy. During the season of rumspringa, Esther and her secret love, Samuel, had run off to California to wed and begin life on their own. They rejected the Amish beliefs of their parents and chose not to be baptized into the Amish church. They had caused much grief to their family, and ultimately Samuel had died shortly there after in the war. Holly also grieves to find out that her father would have been legally exempt from fighting in war if he had remained a practicing Amish man.
After almost 40 years of separation, Esther has decided to go home to see her ailing mother, and she wants Holly to accompany her. Holly’s initial response is one of shock and anger that her mother has hid the truth of her own past and that of her family by lying to her these many years.
Holly, Esther, and their Amish family members are forced to deal with many years of emotional guilt, anger, resentment, distrust, but also of love, and forgiveness. Will the family be able to resolve all of the struggles of the past? Will they be able to forgive and continue as a family? And, how will this affect Holly’s career in Seattle, a career she has worked hard on to develop? This is a quaint story of love and redemption within a once strained and divided family. (reviewed by S.Fincannon)
DISCLOSURE: Leaving Lancaster was donated to the ACS Library.