A Road Unknown by Barbara Cameron

This review gives more insight than just "it was/wasn't a good book" or "this is/isn't a must read". While I try not to give too much away, sometimes it's difficult to write about the story and have it not be revealing.   

Elizabeth Bontrager was a single twenty year old that had the responsibilities of a forty year old married woman. Her parents expected her to care for her eight younger siblings like she was their mother. When an English pen pal and nursing student, Paula, invited Elizabeth to live with her, she jumped at the chance. Elizabeth left her home and family in Goshen, Indiana for the more pleasant sounding Paradise, Pennsylvania.

After arriving in Paradise, Elizabeth found a job at Saul Miller’s store. She had met Saul on the bus while on her way to Paradise. Saul was taken aback that Elizabeth was practically ignoring him. He had to pry every little bit of information she gave him out of her. He was definitely intrigued and attracted to her. Elizabeth was attracted to him also. But she was also attracted to Englisher Bruce, Paula’s friend who seemed to like her as more than a friend.

I was so annoyed at Elizabeth’s parents as I read this story. I agree that a family needs to work together but I think Elizabeth’s mother just plain used her. Elizabeth couldn’t even go out with other youth because she was so busy helping at home. I am the first born in my family. My mother never made me care for my sister like Elizabeth had to do. I did babysit occasionally when I got older but I never felt burdened by doing it.

It may seem to the reader that Elizabeth was in the right place at the right time throughout the book. I think a lot of times readers see a story as contrived because of this. What they fail to see is that it was God who put the character there with what they needed when they needed it. For instance, Elizabeth watched a video about CPR with her roommate. Shortly after that she was with someone who probably would have died if she didn’t have the know how to do or even start CPR. God has an awesome way of doing that in real life for us too. There is no coincidence or good luck in the life of a Christian; it’s all God directing their steps and lives.

Characters from Barbara Cameron’s Stitches in Time and Quilts of Lancaster County series are included in this story. Anyone familiar with the books in those series will like catching up with the characters a little. Barbara Cameron has yet to make me a full-fledged fan of her writing. Some of her stories I like and others I don’t care for.

This is a story about family responsibilities. Saul gives an example of the proper way to be responsible in his relationship to his parents. As you read A Road Unknown you will discover how and why he did this. Elizabeth is the example of the improper way to be responsible. Her parents shouldn’t have made her be so much is charge of her siblings. But she also needed to be responsible for herself and let them know it wasn’t right.

As I was reading A Road Unknown I found myself every so often having to go back and reread what I just read. Barbara Cameron’s style of writing for the character’s conversations and her use of pronouns were a little confusing for me to understand at times. This made it hard for me to enjoy this book as much as I would have liked.

This is the first book in the Amish Roads series. The next book in the series is called Crossroads. In this story, Emma will have to decide if she’ll remain Amish or go to the English world to be with the man she’s always dreamed of marrying.


I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press and The Christian Manifesto in exchange for my honest review.

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