Christian Chapters: The Bishop’s Son by Kelly Irvin

Out-of-the-Box Amish Fiction Guaranteed to Spark Discussion

The Bishop’s Son
by Kelly Irvin


Series: The Amish of Bee County (Book 2)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Zondervan
Length: 355pp
ISBN-13: 978-0310339540

Related Links:
Kelly Irvin’s Website
Publisher’s Website

 


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Publisher Synopsis

Two men offer Leila two very different futures. Will she choose with her heart or with her faith?

Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father’s store, but she can’t make sense of his intentions. One day he wants to come courting, the next he seems to be putting distance between them.

Jesse may be the bishop’s son, but his faith has been wavering of late. If he is so unsure, is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide?

Then there’s Will, Jesse’s cousin. He has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires?

Leila knows she can choose Will and be secure in her own future. But when her heart speaks, it’s Jesse’s name she hears. When will God make His will known to her? Could leaving everything she knows—even her own faith—be a part of God’s plan?


My Review

The Bishop’s Son isn’t your run-of-the-mill Amish love triangle book. Nor is it your standard dose of Amish fiction. Not only does the author set her story in an unusual place (Who knew there were Amish settlements in Texas?), with her thematic focus, Kelly Irvin takes chances. But it all seems to fit. You see, unlike the beautifully verdant and fertile pastures of Lancaster County, Bee County land is dry and unsuited to farming. This unforgiving landscape is like the untamed Wild West. Why is this a natural backdrop for The Bishop’s Son? Sit a spell and I’ll tell you just a touch (without giving too much away).

Kelly Irvin covers some potentially controversial ground while relating Leila Lantz’s story. As the plot progresses, Leila realizes that in order to choose between her two young Glick suitors, Jesse (the bishop’s son) and his cousin Will, she’ll need to ask herself some difficult questions that can only be answered by looking deep within her heart and examining not only her feelings, but her beliefs. If she chooses one, she’ll likely remain in her small Bee County district. Should she choose the other, her future is unknown and much more risky. About all Leila can be certain of is that she may need to leave everything — her community, her family, the only life she’s ever known — behind.

Thematically, discussions of theological differences between the Amish faith and Evangelical Christianity take center stage. Irvin succeeds in making each viewpoint understood. In fact, I think this novel may shed more light on rumspringa (the Amish period of experimentation, questioning, and testing one’s faith) and the practice of shunning than any I have previously read. I finished the book with a better understanding of each than I brought with me. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, Irvin should be applauded for her choice of settings. The wild, untamed South Texas terrain is a strikingly suitable place to find a brave, rebellious young man who is ready to drop everything to go be a “fisher of men”.

Whether you’ll agree with all the assertions made and conclusions drawn in The Bishop’s Son, I can’t say. I can, however, tell you that you’ll find between these pages a story that, though it may at first glance feel familiar, turns out to be its own kettle of fish. That, in my opinion, is never a bad thing.

— Dawn Teresa

Verdict

4 of 5 Hearts. Out-of-the-Box Amish Fiction Guaranteed to Spark Discussion.

With The Bishop’s Son, Kelly Irvin ventures into an unforgiving Texas landscape to tackle tough questions about faith. Ultimately, whether you agree with her premise or not, should you come along for the ride, you’ll find it impossible to remain a bystander. There’ll be no sitting on the fence in this theological debate.

(Though The Bishop’s Son is the second book in the Amish of Bee County series, you’ll have no difficulty if you haven’t read the first title, The Beekeeper’s Son.)

Click the cover below to learn about the first book
in The Amish of Bee County series.

The Beekeeper's Son cover - smaller

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank HarperCollins Christian Publishing and The Fiction Guild for providing me a copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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