(Warning: This review may contain spoilers to the previous book, The Thorn, in the series. You may want to read The Thorn first before reading this review.)
Choices. Life is full of them. We are forced to make choices every day of our lives. Some are less life-altering like choosing to have fish for dinner rather than sausages. Others are more serious and require harder thought before they can be made like the choice to work at one company over another, the choice between one friendship over another. Sometimes we make the right choice. And sometimes the choices we make are so wrong that we wish someone had been around to stop us. Even in a simple task like reading, we have to make choices: do I read this book or don’t I? Do I keep reading until the end or just skip to it? But, when it came to the choice of whether to read Beverly Lewis’ The Judgement (the second book in The Rose Trilogy) or not, there really was no choice for me. It had to be read and I’ve never regretted it.
Sisters, Rose and Hen have now been reunited and are living together in the Amish community of their birth. Everything seems set for the future. But both Hen and Rose have problems which threaten their futures together and their happiness. For Hen, her Husband’s insistence that she either leave the Amish community or leave him threatens to either divide her heart or destroy her happiness. Rose’s problem is no less dividing as she has a a choice of the heart to make – a choice made no less easy when a surprising visitor causes unknown trouble. Which path will each sister take and what will be the result?
As I told you when I reviewed The Thorn, this series of books deserves to be made into movies, just as The Shunning and its sequels were made into movies. Although with Rose and Hen both settled in the Amish community, The Judgement revolves much more around the Amish than around the differences between Amish and English (non-Amish), the differences are still there and are perhaps heightened by the fact that for both Hen and Rose, the Amish world is normal. Their surprise when they enter the English world becomes even greater in The Judgement than in The Thorn because of their usual presence in all things Amish.
So what I’m really trying to say is, anyone looking to make a great Christian film, why not consider adapting from The Thorn and The Judgement (and The Mercy, though I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for that book review until another week ;)). I truly believe that it’s a story worth telling.
In My Humble Opinion:
I started this review by speaking about choice and how we’ve all got choices in life. And the characters in books are no different from us. They too have choices to make. And though (if you really want to get technical) those choices are predetermined by the direction the author wants to take the story, their choices do ultimately affect the course of their (story) lives.
But, though everyone (even fictional characters) has choices to make, sometimes, our choices are made for us by others. Sometimes our choices don’t determine the course of our lives but the choices that are made for us. That can be said for Hen and Rose too. While Hen’s choice to leave her husband and return to her roots was her own choice, she is now faced with a prospect of a divorce, something she would never have chosen for herself. Rose didn’t choose for Nick to leave nor did she choose for an interloper to come and mess up her life with her beau but that’s what’s happened. But, Rose may also be regretting her choice to let Nick go and the things she did not do before Christian’s death.
The idea of choice and no choice, cause and effect, for Hen and Rose reminds me of a concept known as the butterfly effect. For those that have never heard of this, allow me to briefly explain:
Many years ago, a man by the name of Edward Lorenz was studying the weather using a complex mathematical process on an old-fashioned computer. At one stage he decided to round off a number he had been working with from six decimal places to three. It seemed like a very small change. I mean what difference can o.oo1 make to a complex equation? But the result was profoundly different to the result he got from keeping the number as is. In fact, that rounding altered his answer completely. This led Mr Lorenz to the conclusion that small changes in almost anything can have a profound and cataclysmic result in others. This was called the butterfly effect because of a statement Lorenz made that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the world could potentially cause a tornado in another part.
Now I know right now you’re probably scratching your heads wondering what Hen’s and Rose’s lack of choice could possibly have to do with this theory. Well, though Lorenz chief idea was that small changes can have big consequences, his theory also hints at choice, those we make and those we don’t. The butterfly didn’t know that by flapping his wings in say China, he would be causing a tornado in Mexico and his choice to flap didn’t really much affect him more than the poor birds of Mexico who were sucked up by a freak tornado. In the same way, our choices have an effect on other people just as other people’s choices have an effect on us. You may not be able to choose what you want to eat for supper one night because you’re at a dinner party with a set menu, for example. That choice was made by someone else (your hostess) but it nevertheless has an effect on you.
And I think, this idea of the effects of choices made is something that Rose and Hen (and consequently those who read The Judgement) have to learn. Hen chose to leave her husband and return to her Amish faith and now she is forced to deal with the effects of that, the choices others make for her because of her decision. For Hen, her choice to marry her husband in the first place also has effects on the decisions people make for her. Hen’s butterfly wings flapping in one direction have caused her life to be sucked up by a tornado she has little control over. Rose’s choices, though less life-altering, also have an effect on her and the result is that decisions are made for her while she too has to make further decisions of her own. Rose didn’t choose for Nick to leave but she did choose not to force him to stay. And the result is that she must now be separated from him and much choose whether to live a life without him or try and alter her course, find a way to get him to return. All this is a kind of butterfly effect: the choices they make have an effect on others and their choices have an effect on the sisters.
Choices are tough to make. We are never sure whether we are making the right ones. But, it is important to remember that our choices don’t only affect us; they have an effect on others too. I guess one ultimate lesson that The Judgement can teach is to be careful and mindful of the choices we make. They may seem as small as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings now, but they could have tornado effects on someone else.
Do you have a choice to make? Are you battling to make that choice? I guess you feel like you’re alone in your decision. If this is the case, read The Judgement and see what choices hen and Rose have to make and how they make those choices. Or, if you’ve read The Thorn, like me you’re probably itching to read the next book in the series. So, go grab a copy. I promise this is one choice you won’t regret.
And remember to update you Challenge score and tell me how you’re doing. I’m excited to hear how much reading you’re doing.