*This is a book review for The Alliance; An absorbing and thought-provoking “What if?” Drama. You can download the first full chapter for free here and learn more about the author, here! Now, onto the review!
Our Chevy Suburban was full of teens, luggage, anticipation, and evidence of a fast food breakfast. My husband drove the church van ahead of us. We had 13 teens and 6 adults all on a church mission trip.
My friend Emily and I were following the green church van. Our vehicle carried the females. Some of the teens were in the back listening to music and some were trying to sleep. At our first rest stop, we switched seats. Emily (the other adult leader) was now driving and my mind went to the book calling me from my purse library. (I have several books in my purse because I fear being somewhere without books. Surely there are others with a purse library?)
A lot of highway was ahead. We were traveling from Michigan to Missouri. Settling in to the passenger seat, I pulled out the book. I prepared to turn pages and soak in some good fiction. Before I began, though, I felt sad that I would be reading while Emily would be silently driving. Too bad I didn't own the audio version so we both could enjoy the story while on the road. Then, I thought to myself, what if I read this book aloud? Do people do that anymore?
I asked, “Emily, would you like me to read this book while you drive?”
She said, “Sure”
That was the beginning of the fun right there. We were not intending to be engaged in a gripping drama that had us coming up with excuses to hurry back in the vehicle after every stop. But that’s what happened.
The Alliance hooks you from the start. It has everything a fictional drama needs- excitement, romance, mystery, adventure and a few unexpected twists. This story has plenty to offer.
Leora is a feisty woman who plays the protagonist in this book. First of all, her name was fun to say. So we liked that. She is 19 years old, which means it didn’t take long for the teens in our vehicle to pull out their ear buds and lean towards the front seat to better hear the story.
Leora lives in a conservative Old Order Mennonite community. (Forgive my ignorance, but I didn’t know what “Mennonite” meant before I asked Siri. I read the description to the teens and we felt academic for a hot second.)
A pilot named Moses crashes on Leora’s land. He is handsome, unpredictable and bold. The community learns that an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) has occurred and therefore rendered everything electrical to be useless. Jabil is the other love interest in the book. He is a strong and decisive character who provides the community with solid leadership. The Mennonites form an alliance with the Englischers (non Mennonites, such as Moses.) There is a struggle between the community and the Englischers over the use of firearms as Jabil and the rest are pacifists. Leora finds herself longing for independence, revenge, love and healing. How these pursuits manifest themselves throughout the book is what truly makes this book worth the time.
We read The Alliance all the way to Missouri. We read it on the way to the grocery store, the trip to the Laundromat, and then finished the book on the way back to Michigan. We read the entire book aloud together and we had so much fun predicting what might happen next.
Here’s what I enjoyed most about this book:
- You begin to consider ethical situations that you might not have considered before
- The romance in the book is enough to keep you genuinely intrigued, without anything sour or raunchy.
- I appreciated that some of the characters deeply explored their faith and asked difficult questions. I believe God is big enough to handle our questions, so I enjoyed that the characters were authentic in that regard.
- We had an excellent discussion about the characters. (I realize this book isn’t necessarily for teens, but the character qualities of Jabil and Moses gave us some quality conversation starters.)
Jolina Petersheim is a gifted writer. Her vocabulary throughout the book was stretching. This is the first of her books that I have had the pleasure of reading.
There was one portion of the book that I deemed a little too intense for the teens that were in the vehicle with us. I treaded cautiously through that chapter. The author tastefully handled this scene as well as the entirety of the book’s thematic elements. I was just being extra careful.
This book would make an ideal selection for a book club. There are discussion questions in the back. Each chapter holds a substantial addition to the overall story and creates sufficient suspense to carry the reader into the subsequent chapter.
I’m trusting you will appreciate Petersheim’s craft, creativity and her ability to bring a few late suprises to the audience that no one in our vehicle was expecting!
I am hoping this book makes it into your hands. If you aren’t able to read it aloud on a roadtrip, it will make a superb addition to a purse library. :)
Home now and restocking my purse,
Disclosure: This is a post in partnership with Tyndale. All opinions are my own.