"The Ebb Tide"

"Sallie Riehl has dreamed of traveling at least once before settling down to join church, so she is thrilled at an unexpected summer opportunity to nanny in Cape May for a well-to-do family. However, saying even a temporary good-bye to Paradise Township means forgoing baptism another year, as well as leaving behind a would-be beau. Yet the weeks in Cape May soon prove unforgettable as Sallie meets a Mennonite young man whose friendship she quickly begins to cherish. Has she been too hasty with her promises, or will she only find what her heart is longing for back home?" (back cover)

"The Ebb Tide" by prolific Christian fiction author, Beverly Lewis, is a light read about a young woman, Sallie Riehl, who yearns to experience the world beyond her Plain community in Pennsylvania. An easy read, I found this book almost endearing, initially if only because the setting was primarily beachfront, but in the end because the story wasn't exactly as predictable as I assumed it would be, despite its too-perfect characters.

In "The Ebb Tide", Sallie finally gets the chance to fulfill her lifelong dream of leaving the confines of her Amish life when she is asked to nanny for a family at their summer home on the New Jersey coast. Upon arrival, Sallie quickly adjusts to her new lifestyle for the summer and enjoys many new adventures and experiences while taking care of her young charge, Autumn. Sallie also meets and starts spending time with a Mennonite college student, Kevin, and as they come to know each other better, Kevin continues to pose solid questions and thoughts that challenge Sallie's status quo mindset about what is "right" and what God's will is for her life ("Living wholly set apart from the world doesn't have to be the only way to answer the Lord's call, does it?", p253). As the summer enfolds, Sallie is torn between the love and joy she has found in her relationship with Kevin and the family she nannies for, her work, and the "fancy" world around her, and the duty she feels to her parents and their desire for her to join the church and commit to being an Amishwoman. Regardless how the story concludes, it was refreshing to find an underlying message of spiritual freedom, as well as a positive portrayal of Christians living meaningfully in the world (versus the Amish religion and lifestyle).

While I appreciated the hint of mental and emotional conflict that played out throughout the story, yet in general the most distracting aspect of "The Ebb Tide" was how perfect it was, the story in a way (how idyllic is it to spend an all-expenses-paid summer on the beach in a private guest cottage, caring for one school-age child and occasionally her baby brother, and with weekends off), but most glaringly the characters themselves—from Sallie's almost doormat-like submission to her parents' approval of her interests and choices, to young Autumn's well-mannered, unquestioning obedience (albeit she shows a hint of selfishness in that she is still adjusting to having a baby brother when Sallie starts nannying). Perhaps the perfectness was the actual reason for my surprise at how the story ended . . .

I will admit, "The Ebb Tide" was fun to read as we're coming up on spring and summer and trips to the beach. Even if it was a little too idealistic for me to ever really empathize much with the characters, it was an enjoyable story and also, in my opinion, brought up some valid points to ponder from spiritual and life-purpose perspectives. I would recommend it to any girl or woman looking for a quick, cute, entertaining book, especially if she likes the beach. :)

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.

No comments :

Post a Comment