Be sure to scroll below to enter for a chance to win a copy of A Plain Leaving!
Leslie Gould is the coauthor, with Mindy Starns Clark, of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny. She has also written two solo Amish series, The Courtships of Lancaster County and The Neighbors of Lancaster County. RT Book Reviews said in a recent review, “Gould gives readers wonderful insights into the Amish community, and her books always have important life lessons in them.” Leslie’s new book, A Plain Leaving, begins her third series, The Sisters of Lancaster County. Leslie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us!
All of the novels in The Sisters of Lancaster County series are time-slip stories. What are time-slip stories and what made you decide to write them?
Time-slip stories, sometimes called dual-time or parallel-plot stories, have both a contemporary and a historical thread. A few include time travel but most do not, including mine. I decided to write time-slip stories for two reasons. The first is that I love reading them! The second reason is that I believe our ancestors often have a bigger impact on our own lives than we realize. The characters in the historical plots in this series are the ancestors of the characters in the contemporary plots.
Your contemporary heroine, Jessica Bachmann, is not a typical Amish leading lady. What sets her apart?
Jessica is the oldest living sister in her family, loves the family farm, and is seen as stubborn and strong-willed by many. She stands by her convictions, even when it means leaving everything she loves most. But she’s not too stubborn to return when she feels God leading her back to the land she loves.
Jessica is deeply hurt by the fact that she’s been shunned by her family and the Amish community. What exactly is shunning, and why do the Amish do it?
Shunning plays out differently depending on the Amish group and district, but the reason for it is to bring the church member back into the “fold” and into fellowship. Generally, church members and family may not sit at the same table as those who are shunned, ride in their cars, or do any type of business with them. However, shunning doesn’t prohibit all social interaction—shunned members can visit their Amish families, attend family weddings and funerals, and celebrate holidays with their families.
The historical thread in this book takes place during the Revolutionary War. Why did you choose that time period?
William Penn promised religious freedom to the first waves of Amish who came to America in the early to mid-1700s. But once the Revolutionary War started, that religious freedom was threatened when the Patriots expected Amish men to serve as soldiers. Some fled to
Canada, while others paid a war tax. It was a trying time for Anabaptists, including Amish and Mennonites, who were against fighting or supporting war in any way.
Can you tell me a little about the themes of A Plain Leaving?
Navigating conflict within a family is one of the main themes. Three sisters are at the core of the story. As they struggle with the death of their father, they also face the revelation of family secrets that impact them all. Caring for this planet is definitely another theme that is explored, and how that plays out, in particular, on a family farm.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of A Plain Leaving—in stores now! You can also learn more about Leslie at lesliegould.com.