In The Forbidden, the second of three books in The Courtship of Nellie Fisher series, Beverly Lewis deals with issues relevant to modern Christians. Nellie Fisher loves Caleb Yoder, but a split in their Amish church divides their families. Nellie’s parents and sisters follow the New Order, while Caleb’s stubborn father refuses to budge from the ways of the Old Order. Knowing that her future depends on which Order she chooses to follow, Nellie struggles in her efforts to take sides. Meanwhile, her family tires to cope with the recent loss of her sister, Suzy, and with Nellie’s other sister Rhoda’s increasing interest in the “Englischer’s” world. The Fisher and Yoder families are not the only families affected by the clashing Orders, and Lewis draws the reader into the lives of all those caught in the conflict.
With a slow start, Forbidden lacks the descriptions needed to visualize the setting and people, but the story itself makes up for that. Lewis switches points of view frequently throughout the book, making it confusing for readers who have not read the first book in her Courting series, but these changes give the reader an insightful view of the varying conflicts created by splits in churches.
As characters confront issues of forgiveness, devotion, and faith, Lewis shows the importance of love and prayer in the Christian life. She addresses the Christian’s quest for assurance of salvation, questions regarding how to help others come to that same assurance, the need to be in the world but not of the world, and personal struggles to understand God’s will. The heart of The Forbidden can be found as Nellie’s mother tells her, “It’s not so much how we manage to get through the hard things as it is being willing to cling to God’s promises while we’re getting’ there” (p. 267). Elias, Nellie’s father, later recalls a verse in the Bible (Acts 1:7) and says, “’Tis not for us to know the times and the seasons, nor the hearts of men… but to simply trust” (p. 290). – Harmony Wheeler, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Caleb Yoder's father has forbidden him to court Nellie Mae Fisher, but words alone cannot stop Caleb's devotion. Yet if he continues to pursue Nellie, he risks losing everything.
Nellie, too, is torn. She longs to marry her Old Order beau but cannot ignore the gentle pull she feels toward the faith of her New Order family. Can she and her beloved satisfy the expectations of the People while remaining true to their hearts?