Stones in the Road
Author: E. B. Moore
Author website: http://ebmoore.net/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
A young Amish boy ventures from Pennsylvania to California in this richly imagined historical novel from the author of An Unseemly Wife.
1867. Growing up among the Pennsylvania Amish, eleven-year-old Joshua knows that his father is a respected church deacon who has the ear of God. But he’s also seen his father’s weakness for drink, and borne the brunt of his violent rages. In the aftermath of a disastrous fire, Joshua fears his father’s reprimand enough to run away from home. Having never experienced the ways of the English, Joshua now embarks on a decade-long journey to California, where he’s heard it’s always summer.
His mother, Miriam, is forced to take on the unusual role of head of the family when her husband is unable to recover physically, emotionally, or spiritually from the fire. As mother and son each find themselves in uncharted territory, they must draw on strength and forgiveness from within. Urged by everyone to accept her son’s death, Miriam never gives up hope of seeing Joshua again. But even as her prayers are answered so many years later, Joshua’s reunion will require him to face his father once again.
Stones in the Road tells the story of an 11 year old Amish boy, Joshua that lives in fear of his church deacon father Abraham. One night in what has become more normal than not, Abraham takes Joshua out to the shed and begins to lose it. A fire is started and both are severely hurt. Joshua however is able to make a run for it and never looks back. Barefoot and scared, Joshua heads west. Meanwhile, his mother Miriam is left with not only the fear of what has become of her son, but also a broken and damaged husband. Author E. B. Moore does a wonderful job of telling this story from both mother and son’s perspective. It is set in 1867 and the times are harsh for everyone, but even more so for this poor son and even his mother and the family he had to leave behind.
Joshua is barefoot and burned but is able to make it away from the Amish farm and stumbles along as best he can. He is helped by slaves who try to treat some of his injuries and assist this unconscious boy even when they themselves are in peril. After resting for a bit, Joshua is also helped by a wonderful character in Mother Biddle. He has several different stops along the way to growing up until he ends up out west. The travels and adventures he has are perilous and interesting. The writer switches between boy and mother as their lives go on and at times have some of the same issues to face.
Miriam never wants to give up hope that her boy is alive out there somewhere. She takes drastic measures hiding the fact that she still hunts for him. She befriends a lady that is not Amish. Her damaged husband struggles to live, as she has to nurse him constantly. She wants to know what happened that night, but he is unable to tell her about it. Miriam gives birth to another son, this time named Isaac (Abraham often called Joshua that). She has to finally let go of the hope she had for her oldest son. Both of them, mother and son face temptation, anger, and fear.
So much more is going on in Stones in the Road than the tale of these well-developed characters. The reader gets a real view of the travails of Joshua as he works his way from Pennsylvania Amish country, through Colorado and beyond. I have to say there were a few parts of this book that I had a hard time reading and did not see the purpose of them. Otherwise, it is a very intricately detailed tale spanning many years. Joshua’s return is impactful and the tale does come full circle. I think anyone that enjoys reading historical fiction would probably find this book informative and accurate. I would suggest those who do not like graphic writing dealing with animals and others may want to be careful with reading it.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*