Beverly Lewis: Making amends with 'The Judgment'
With more than 17 million copies of her books in print, Beverly Lewis is a consistent force on the bestseller lists. Her novel The Thorn explosively launched The Rose Trilogy, a family saga set in the mid-1980s among some of Lancaster County’s most conservative Old Order Amish. The second installment, The Judgment—full of her trademark storytelling, authentic details, and charming characters—once again shows why Lewis is the top name in Amish fiction.
1. What inspired you to write this series?
For several years, I’ve wanted to write a series that involves two Amish sisters—diametrically opposed to each other, yet best friends. Rose and Hen are close sisters, but one is staunchly in the Amish church, while the other is married to a worldly outsider.
2. Where is the book set? Are any real streets, towns, or landmarks mentioned?
The series is set in southern Lancaster County near Quarryville and Bart, Pennsylvania. I love the area’s back roads, “haunted” ravines, dense woods, lavish farmland, and
hidden creeks. All of the road names mentioned in the book are real, as are the
landmarks and stores, including the Amish schoolhouse on Salem Road, Jackson’s
Sawmill Covered Bridge, and the treacherous ravine along Bridle Path Lane.
3. In the book’s title, what does the “judgment” refer to?
There are several “judgments” in the book. Rose’s sister, Hen, married an outsider, but when she returns to Amish country with her daughter, she faces a custody battle with her thoroughly modern husband. Meanwhile, Rose’s dear friend, Nick, flees the area when he is suspected of having a hand in his brother’s death. Both Nick and his foster father, the bishop, face judgment from the People if Nick doesn’t return soon. There is at least one more possible “judgment,” but I don’t want to give too much away!
4. What would you say is the underlying theme or message of The Rose Trilogy?
The series asks several questions: When we make unwise choices in life, how do we make amends? How do we cling to what we believe is right when our family or spouse
disagrees? And how do we embrace Christ’s command to “love our enemies” in a daily and practical way?
5. You grew up near the Amish in Pennsylvania but live in Colorado now. Are you able to visit Lancaster County very often?
Oh, yes. I still have many Plain relatives and friends in Lancaster County, so I visit quite often. In fact, my husband and I visited Lancaster County twice in the space of three months before and during my development and writing this series. And I spent nearly two weeks in Lancaster County during my last book tour in September. How I enjoy sharing meals with old friends, making new friends among the Amish, and revisiting settings from my books.