Published by William Morrow on June 26, 2018
Source: the publisher
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Caught between two worlds, Caleb Stoltz is bound by a deathbed promise to raise his orphaned niece and nephew in Middle Grove, where life revolves around family, farm, faith—and long-held suspicions about outsiders. When disaster strikes, Caleb is thrust into an urban environment of high-tech medicine and the relentless rush of modern life.
Dr. Reese Powell is poised to join the medical dynasty of her wealthy, successful parents. Bold, assertive, and quick-thinking, she lives for the addictive rush of saving lives. When a shocking accident brings Caleb Stoltz into her life, Reese is forced to deal with a situation that challenges everything she thinks she knows—and ultimately emboldens her to question her most powerful beliefs.
Then one impulsive act brings about a clash of cultures in a tug-of-war that plays out in a courtroom, challenging the very nature of justice and reverberating through generations, straining the fragile threads of faith and family.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Between You and Me by Susan Wiggs is yet another book that I wish I had read along with someone else because I so wish I could have discussed these characters’ lives and choices as they were living and making them. By the time I got to the later parts of the story and then the end, I felt like I was about to burst with things to say, but alas I was reading it all by myself.
Between You and Me has been my most anticipated book release for this summer season. I just couldn’t wait for it because I love Susan Wiggs’ books so completely and I also tend to really love stories about the Amish community and interesting Amish characters. I feel like the collective Amish community is sort of its own character here, and completely fascinating, but this story really features Caleb and Reese, the unlikely intersection of their very different lives, and how it changes them both in the process.
Caleb Stoltz is raising Jonah and Hannah, his nephew and niece, after their parents were murdered. He promised his brother that he would raise the children Amish even though that meant giving up on his plans for his own life. When 11-year-old Jonah has a horrific farm accident requiring surgical intervention at a large trauma center far from home, what Jonah thinks is best for the boy is in direct opposition to the more traditional ways of the Amish community.
Reese Powell meets Jonah when he arrives at the hospital for emergency treatment, which is also how she comes to know Caleb. Reese is finishing out her final year of medical school and making plans for where she will begin her residency and start her career. For her entire life, Reese’s parents have mapped her future for her, and her future is very bright. But Reese does not love the plan her parents made. As she spends more time with Jonah and Caleb, she realizes that she can have both a slower-paced, more meaningful life like she desires while also having a wonderful career in the medical field. However, if she changes the plan that is already in progress, it will go against everything that her parents want for her.
By this time, I feel like I trust Susan Wiggs completely. I trust her to give me a fully developed group of characters that I have deep feelings for, one way or another, and I trust her to walk me through some pretty major parts of their lives as if I’m right there with them. I loved that I was able to look at this particular Amish community through Caleb’s eyes in particular, as he has his own thoughts and feelings about living there. Trust me when I say that just because he is a part of the community doesn’t mean that he is all in it, heart and soul. He has baggage there plus he is under a lot of pressure with his farm, taking care of the two kids, and raising them Amish while also not stifling who they are as individuals. I’ve read stories with Amish characters that carry baggage but also fully embrace their traditions, but Caleb takes a different approach. I loved this.
I also love the way Caleb and Reese both struggle with outside forces trying to exert control over their lives. In this way, the two are able to understand one another even though their backgrounds are so completely different. Ms. Wiggs does a great job of showing that people from all types of communities and backgrounds can experience similar feelings sometimes, and we can certainly empathize with and feel for one another, learning about our differences as we go.
Watching Caleb, Jonah, and Hannah learn about the neat things in the modern “English” world was really fun for me. Hannah (Jonah’s sister) was mesmerized by the ease of taking a simple shower and Jonah lost himself in books that were never available to him previously, like Harry Potter and To Kill A Mockingbird. I loved these little details.
I had mixed emotions when I got to the end of the book. I loved the time I spent with the characters, but I was sad when there was no more story. I’m not one to wish that every book could be made into a series, but if Ms. Wiggs decides to continue with this story in any way, I would be first in line for the next installment.