The Promise of an Angel
First book in Heaven On Earth series
by Ruth Reid
Judith Fischer is going to turn 19 tomorrow and her lifelong dream of courting Levi Plank will finally come true, then they can marry and start their family. Judith's father will not allow his daughters to court at the 17 like most Amish do, so she's had to wait for two extra years and it's been a long wait. Her sister Martha is now 17 and would like to court too, but isn't allowed so she is jealous of Judith and sets out to ruin her plans to marry Levi.
On this day though, after a successful barn raising, during the prayer for their evening meal, her little brother Samuel, who is in her care, goes missing. She looks up and sees him on the roof trying to pound a nail that Andrew Lapp, the Bishops son and Levi's cousin, had given him with a promise to help him pound it into a board after supper. Judith runs to the barn and calls to Samuel, surprising him he falls off the roof and is unconscious. This is the first time she sees her Angel, he appears to be an Englischer and tells her to have faith, that Samuels steps are ordered by God. Samuel is taken to the hospital and they find out that his spinal injury is so bad that he'll never walk again. Judith insists that Tobias, her Angel, told her that Samuel will walk again.
Judith has told colorful stories to the younger children for years, so when she mentions seeing an Angel no one believes her and they think she's in shock. The more she talks about it, the more her family and friends get upset and as she talks about more sightings they start to distance themselves from her. Even Levi makes fun of her, of course with Martha flirting with him, it isn't hard for him to turn from Judith to Martha. One person believes her and stands up for her, Adam. The Bishop, Adams father, soon tells him to distance himself from Judith because she may be refused the privilege to be baptized when she's done with her classes.
Adam and Judith are soon falling for each other and the Bishop gets so upset that he arranges a date with someone from a neighboring district. Adam has no choice but to take her home from the singing but tries to distance himself as much as he can. Clare hints about him asking her to be his bride but Adam doesn't know what she's talking about. It seems that the two sets of parents have talked and approved the marriage without telling Adam. The same night Levi tells Judith that he's changed and now wants to be baptized, settle down and asks her to marry him.
The Bishop informs Judith's parents that if they send her away she can be baptized in Ohio, where she is to be sent to live with family, but not if she stays there. Judith is not told about her move the day before she is supposed to leave, as much as she doesn't want to go, she will not say that she did not see an Angel. Adam finds out about the arranged marriage and Judith leaving for Ohio on the next morning at breakfast. He tells his father that he will not marry Clare, that he loves Judith and she's a good woman, then leaves the house. When he gets to Judith's, Martha and Samuel tell him that they left at least an hour ago to take her to the bus station.
Will Adam, try to get to the bus station to keep Judith from leaving, if so will he make it in time? Did Judith accept Levi's proposal and if so, what will Martha have to say about that? Was Judith right, will Samuel walk again? Will Judith ever be looked upon favorably by her family and friends again?
This book was quite different, I've never read an Amish book where they talk about Angels. I enjoyed the story and it showed how hard it can be to have the faith Judith had when it seemed like everyone, except one person, turned against her and didn't even want to be around her. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Brush of Angel Wings.