The Postcard by Beverly Lewis (Bethany House Publishing, 1999) is the first book in a series of two tremendously insightful and inspiring stories. Beverly Lewis, a master storyteller, intricately weaves together a series of tragic and mysterious happenings that demonstrate the hand of God in the redemption of a family and a community.

The story takes place in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and begins with the plans of an Amish family (Jacob and Rachel Yoder, and their two children, Aaron and Annie) to visit the Farmer’s Market. The family gets a late start and Jacob suggests they take the Crossroad, a dangerous intersection on the way to town. He seems to think it will be fine, just this once. Rachel hesitates, yet goes along with the plan.

When the family approaches the Crossroad, the wind blows from them a letter Rachel intends to mail. She retrieves it, but just as she returns to the horse and wagon, the horse spooks and rears up. A car hits the wagon. Jacob and Aaron are killed; Rachel and Annie end up in the hospital. Annie’s arm is broken. Rachel, who was pregnant, miscarries.

Shortly after that, Rachel begins having trouble with her vision. Her mother, Susanna, suggests Rachel see the local hex doctor. Rachel believes sympathy healers, or hex doctors, are practicing a form of witchcraft. Her parents, however, are part of the Old Order Amish Church and state that this has been happening for generations and believe it is fine. They suggest it is an integral part of their culture. Rachel and Jacob had belonged to the Beachy Amish Church which embraced the salvation message of Christ and His Word. The sermons of that church were in English, instead of German, and the members were encouraged to read the Bible in whole, not just in part.

Rachel and Annie go to live with her parents in a bed and breakfast. Philip Bradley, a writer from New York, arrives to begin work on an article about Amish family traditions. At first, Ben and Susanna are very friendly toward him. Then they find out he is a writer, so they don’t want to encourage him by giving him any information. Philip discovers a forty-year-old postcard hidden in the desk in his room. Susanna denies that she knows who it belongs to and suggests he keep it. Philip seeks to unravel the mystery of the postcard.

The mystery turns out to involve the tragic romance between Susanna’s uncle, who left the traditional Amish church to become an evangelist for Christ, and Adele, a now elderly woman. Continuing his stay at the inn, Philip observes Rachel and Annie, and is fascinated. His prompt action saves six-year-old Annie’s life when he helps her get treatment for an allergic reaction to hornet-sting. Rachel is very grateful. Philip is developing feelings for her and she for him. He returns to New York, but calls Rachel. Susanna grabs the phone away from her and tells Philip to leave them alone.

The second book, The Crossroad, (Bethany House Publishing, Repack edition, 2007) continues the story and brings it to a dramatic and happy ending. Rachel, Philip and Adele have their own spiritual re-awakenings and they all grow in faith and devotion to their Lord and Savior, Jesus. They all realize the plans He has for their lives. Adele encourages Philip to pursue a relationship with Rachel, who he is obviously very fond of. Rachel is also having a hard time putting Philip Bradley out of her mind and they do end up together in a very clever way.

I find these stories to be heartwarming and full of suspense. So many spiritual lessons are woven into these two books. Fifteen year-old readers will enjoy these books as well as older youth and adults. You will definitely have a hard time putting these stories down.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”