Hannah Esh left her Amish community after a romance ended and when she returns for a party in a graveyard, one of her new friends is shot. Hannah Esh lived her life the way all Amish women had for generations, until her heart was broken and she fled from the community. Arriving in a big city, she made worldly friends, started a musical career and behaved in almost every way the exact opposite of what she was taught. One night, several of her friends decide to have a picnic in an Amish graveyard, despite her reservations. She and her Goth friends are the victims of a sniper shot, and one dies, forcing Hannah to return to the Amish people in order to get justice.
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It is important to remember that the Amish are a very peaceful group. Their religious beliefs forbid seeking justice or retribution on anyone for any reason. Therefore, Hannah Esh finds that obtaining accurate information as she is with her family recuperating, is quite challenging. In addition, Seth Lantz, the man who broke her heart and married another woman who was pregnant with his baby, is now a widower. As she sees him working within the community, she is disturbed to find out that she still has strong feelings for him. Unfortunately, she has also caught the eye of Link and it quickly becomes apparent that she will need to decide who, if anyone, she should be with.
She also meets his daughter repeatedly and is pleased to realize that she bears no ill will toward the child. Within the Amish culture, it is not uncommon for widows and widowers, especially younger people, to remarry soon after a loss, which provides a new parent for children and allows new children to be born. Seth is at that point and his family believes they have found the right woman, but he still loves Hannah.
Given the number of people and organizations who dislike the Amish, it seems at first that the crime was a hate crime. Hannah is a unique position to help with the case. Due to the fact that she is familiar and accepted within the Amish community, but has also lived in the world, she functions between both groups for information sharing and other necessary events. Another interesting fact appears and that relates to the fact that on the night of the shooting, they were all dressed in dark clothing and one girl was wearing a hat. Judging by the injuries, type of bullet and other forensics, the shooter is believed to have been hiding in the graveyard and planned to kill an Amish person.
For much of the book, it is unclear who could have done this heinous act and what their motivation was. As the situation comes to a head, Hannah finds herself in danger and is forced to make a difficult decision. They ultimately find the criminal, but not before more murders occur. Hannah realizes that in her heart, she has only one person that she wants to spend the rest of her life with and that is the man who allows her to be herself, without prejudice or judgment.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved the fact that although Hannah had been living on her own for three years, embracing a Goth lifestyle and trying to change so much of herself, she still did not want to be in the graveyard. I thought that was an interesting statement about her personality and beliefs, which also played out well through the rest of the novel.
Best scene in story:
When Hannah is shot, and she if lucky enough to have both her parents and Seth nearby, I liked the fact that she thought dying might be okay, because she would not be alone. I thought that was very telling about her personality and thought processes.
Opinion about the main character:
I disliked the language barrier that Hannah had on several occasions, even after three years of living "worldly". It seems inconsistent for her to be Goth. independent and living in the city and not have a better of idea of urban slang.