By Julie Kramer
Released: August 7th, 2012
As a fan of both mystery and Amish fiction novels, I was delighted when I found that free copies of Shunning Sarah, by Julie Kramer, were up for a giveaway on Goodreads. Luckily, I was one of the eight chosen to receive a free advance copy from Atria. Knowing that Julie Kramer is a National Best Seller, and based on reviews of her past novels, I was confident that I would enjoy the mystery aspect of the novel. What I was a little more hesitant about was the accuracy of the Amish aspect of the novel. Having read Lewis, Woodsmall, Fisher, Brunstetter (among others) and combined with the research I’ve done on Amish culture and language, I was hesitant when I first cracked open Shunning Sarah. The last thing I wanted to read was an otherwise fascinating novel that was full of inaccuracies concerning the main suspects.
Luckily, my fears were ungrounded. Not only did I get a crash course into the world of Riley Spartz and investigative reporting, but the Amish aspects that I read where intriguing and – most importantly – largely correct. In addition to a murder on Amish soil, the reader also gets to grapple with an angry bear on the loose, Riley’s unconventional new boss, and corruption within the law.
When it comes to mystery novels, the ending often makes or breaks the book. For fear of divulging too much information, I won’t say too much other than you won’t be disappointed! Many aspects of this novel are largely unprecedented when it comes to Amish culture and the ending will leave you thinking long after you finish the last page and put the book back on the shelf. Is someone truly unforgivable? When should a society that values forgiveness over revenge finally seek help from outsiders to help protect loved ones? And these are only a couple of questions...
Overall, if you are looking for a great mystery novel – one that will keep you turning the pages well past midnight – pick up a copy of Shunning Sarah! Even those who haven’t read the previous installments in the Riley Spartz series (like me) can appreciate this book as a stand alone novel if need be. As for me, I will certainly be reading the four previous books in the series and anxiously awaiting more in the future!