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Authors: Beverly Lewis

The Judgment

BOOK: The Judgment
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The Judgment

Copyright © 2011

Beverly M. Lewis

Cover design by Dan Thornberg, Design Source Creative Services

Art direction by Paul Higdon

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-1412-6

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of

Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan

E-book edition created 2011

Praise for

“No one does Amish-based inspirationals better than Lewis.”


“Author Beverly Lewis has come up with a new magic formula for producing best-selling romance novels: humility, plainness and no sex. Lewis’ G-rated books, set among the Old Order Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have sold more than 12 million copies, as bodice rippers make room for ‘bonnet books,’ chaste romances that chronicle the lives and loves of America’s Amish.”


“Much of the credit [for the growth of Amish fiction] goes to Beverly Lewis, a Colorado author who gave birth to the genre in 1997 with
The Shunning,
loosely based on her grandmother’s experience of leaving her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible college student. The book has sold more than 1 million copies.”

—Associated Press

“As in her other novels, Lewis creates a vividly imagined sensory world. . . . And her well-drawn characters speak with authentic voices as they struggle to cope with grief and questions about their traditions and relationship with God.”

—Library Journal
The Parting

“Lewis’ readers can’t get enough of her tales about Amish life, and this latest installment won’t disappoint.”

Publishers Weekly
The Forbidden

“Lewis provides a satisfying conclusion to the S
series. Touching scenes make it easy for the reader to connect with the characters.”

Romantic Times
Book Reviews
The Telling

“The reigning queen of Amish fiction is back with another tale of secrets, love, and relationships. . . . Lewis has penned another touching novel with well-drawn characters and a compelling plot. It is sure to be in high demand by the author’s many fans and anyone who enjoys Amish stories.”

Library Journal
starred review (about
The Missing

“Once again, Lewis has a hit with the first book in her new R
. The charming characters and captivating storyline underscore why Lewis has legions of loyal fans. They will all be anxiously awaiting the next installment.”

Romantic Times
The Thorn


Paul and Marge Ferrin,

with blessings and love.

Happy birthday, Marge!


November 1985

omorrow holds nary a promise
, my dear
often says. But thankfully some things are quite certain—we plow, we plant and harvest. We attend canning bees and quilting frolics. Our wedding season always begins on the first Tuesday in November. And this year there are many couples marrying and looking ahead to starting their own families.

My own first cousin Esther Kauffman will wed John Glick, her longtime beau, tomorrow morning. My pretty plum-colored dress and full white apron, which match Esther’s own, are hemmed and pressed, ready to slip on right after breakfast.

I should be smiling-happy since I’m one of Esther’s wedding attendants. But I must confess to getting a bit tetchy with Esther last evening when she dropped by. She reminded me that her older brother Melvin and I are expected to spend most of the day together, since he’s the fellow opposite me in the wedding party. This includes sitting with him at the
the corner of the feast table reserved for the bride and groom and the four attendants. So, even though I’ll be within flirting distance of Silas Good, I won’t get to enjoy the day-long celebration with my betrothed, including the evening meal.

My first thoughts each day are of Silas. His sensible ways and his family’s standing amongst the People make me feel so fortunate. Oh, that wonderful-
smile when he looks my way! But no matter how happy I am to be engaged to the most eligible young man in Lancaster County, I must admit there are times when I still think of my friend Nick Franco, the bishop’s former foster son. Gone more than a month now.

I must’ve known a real different Nick than anyone else did. Almost everyone assumes he’s a bad seed—most even believe he caused the death of the bishop’s only son. But when Nick and I were together, I saw his softer side. That’s the part that gnaws at me in the most curious way these days.

Truth is, I ponder where Nick might’ve run off to . . . and I wonder if he ever misses Amish life. Or me, his best friend.

After all these weeks since his disappearance, I haven’t told a soul this—not even my older sister, Hannah, known by most as Hen. But the unusual bond Nick and I shared as youngsters somehow managed to get far deeper into my heart than I realized. I continue to beseech the Lord for poor Nick, praying that God might see fit to forgive him for his years of rebellion.

I pray for my only sister, too. Sadly, Hen’s coffee meetings with her estranged worldly husband have turned out to be all but fruitless. And when she’s not working at the Amish fabric store, or here at home cooking and whatnot, she has a faraway look in her light hazel eyes, as if caught betwixt and between. I daresay she misses her husband more as the days pass. Misses him . . . even though there are many things that keep them apart.

I am hard-pressed to imagine a solution to their dilemma. So I pray for wisdom from above, knowing I can trust God’s timing and way—and His will to be done for them.

As for Nick, it’s harder to relinquish him to the heavenly Father, seeing how he always dug in his heels against righteousness. Silas has pointed out to me repeatedly, since Nick’s leaving, how difficult he was for his family. His involvement with Christian’s accident has certainly tainted him in the eyes of the People. Honestly, it still plagues me what was so urgently on Christian’s mind the last time I saw the bishop’s biological son, the day before his death. And if it was Nick he wanted to discuss, as I suspect, what could he have revealed about him that I didn’t already know?

Despite my struggles with that haunting memory, it is our kindly bishop who must struggle with more bitter memories of his own. He now bears the burden of Nick’s part in the untimely death. Just this morning, while I was in the barn,
said the neighboring bishops, especially Old Ezekiel, are putting pressure on Bishop Aaron
. “If Nick doesn’t return and offer a solid explanation by year’s end—when the reading of the
comes—they’ll judge the bishop guilty of failing to get Nick into the church fold,”
Dat said, his eyes moist.

I contemplated the prophetic scriptures in Matthew, where the Last Days are revealed—the teachings on the tribulation and great deception. The ministers always read those sobering chapters at Preaching service near the end of the year.
“Do ya really think the ministers would oust our bishop?”
I asked Dat.

“Oh, they’ll try.”

“Even though Nick’s not the bishop’s own kin?”

“There’s a debate goin’ on,”
Dat replied.
“That’s all I’d better say.”

I paused next to my favorite driving horse, stroking George’s thick mane. Secretly I’d ridden this horse bareback many times, all through the years of Nick’s and my late-night riding adventures—Nick on Pepper and me on George.

Shivering, I knew that if bullheaded Nick was already caught up in the world—gone to the “edge” and beyond—then he would
return to the haven of the People.

Later in the day, Mamm and I talked quietly in the bright little room where she found comfort in her midafternoon naps. In the past few weeks, she’d suffered a bad bout with the respiratory flu. The illness had weakened her further, compounding her usual misery of aches and pains.

I could hear
Sylvia, my maternal grandmother, preparing the noon meal. “We’re havin’ one of your favorite dishes today,” I whispered, touching Mamm’s frail hand.

Her eyes brightened.

“Smell the delicious veal loaf?”

She nodded, grimacing with pain.

It was hard seeing Mamm in such frail health. Dat doubted she’d be strong enough to witness Cousin Esther’s vows to her beloved John tomorrow. It was awful selfish on my part, but I felt somewhat gloomy that Mamm wouldn’t be there to see me stand up with Esther. After all, this was my first time as a bride’s attendant.

Yet it is Hen who is most troubled by Mamm’s suffering, because she’s been living in town since her marriage to Brandon Orringer. Now that she’s staying here with her daughter, Mattie Sue, in our smallest
Dawdi Haus,
she’s discovering a-plenty what things cause Mamm pain. Physical and otherwise.

BOOK: The Judgment
11.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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