Tag Archives: amish

Short Novel or Long Story?

According to Wikipedia, a novella is

A novella (also called a short novel) is a written, fictional, prosenarrative longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of AmericaNebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000.[1] Other definitions start as low as 10,000 words and run as high as 70,000 words.[2][3][4]

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The definition isn’t exactly precise.  Plus, The Great Gatsby is considered one of the greatest novels of all times, and it clocks in at 150 pages–right in that novella range.

So for my purposes, I made my own definition:

A novella is a story of 50-150ish pages that moves quickly enough to allow the reader to easily finish in one or two hour-long sittings.  It is also a novella if the author says so.

Maybe that’s not anymore clear, but it works for me.

I had never read a novella before picking up An Amish Love, a trilogy of novellas by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long.  I’ve only read the first one (A Marriage of the Heart), and while it wasn’t my favorite story ever, I am intrigued by the form.

By page 30 of a novel, if my heart isn’t in it, I quit it…but with A Marriage of the Heart, by page 30 I was invested enough in the characters (though the story had some holes and the language was a bit off for my taste) to tell myself, “I can stick with this for another 90 pages.” And I did.  And it won’t be going on my top-10-of-all-time list, but it was a satisfying, enjoyable story.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I found that novellas are like a hearty snack: light and quick but hearty enough to sate the hunger…at least until the next meal comes along.

Reader friend, do you or have you read novellas?  What’s your take on this form?

Finally, a little fiction!

I don’t know what it is about motherhood, but I have found it darn near impossible to get through a novel these days!  Finally, the happy day has come in which I plowed through the last 100-or-so pages in an evening and have that satisfied, finished feeling.

The book?  The Thorn by Beverly Lewis.

But before I talk about the book, I must give a little background on my relationship with Beverly Lewis.

No, I don’t actually know her or anything, but I had never read Amish fiction before I read her books, and I think I had only ever read one Christian novel.  I was working at a library and commuting to university two days a week…two hours each way (it was only for a semester, but still pretty crazy).

After one round-trip with nothing but the radio to keep me company, I knew something needed to change.  I started scouring audiobook titles as I shelved them and happened upon The Covenant, the first of the Abram’s Daughters series.

And oh. my. word. I fell head over heels for the simplicity of the lives but the complexity in the story. As I was only months from my own wedding, I desperately wanted a happy ending for Leah and Jonas…but I had to get through five books to know whether or not it happened!  I love how Beverly Lewis keeps you on your toes, makes it seem as though a happy ending is impossible, then gives you an ending that is satisfying, plausible, and unexpected all at once.

Plus, isn’t she cute as a button?

The Thorn follows Rose Ann as she cares for her injured mother, courts a beau, and tries to keep a wayward neighbor fella–adopted by the local bishop when the boy was nine–from leaving the Plain life behind.  Meanwhile, her older sister longs to get back to her Amish roots…even though she married an Englischer and has a daughter.

I can’t say much more without giving away the game, but it was delightful to get through a novel, and I can hardly wait for book two of the trilogy, The Judgment, to make an appearance at my local library!

When you’re looking for a good novel, who do you reach for?