The Wings of Morning / Murray Pura. 6/14/2013

The Wings of Morning / Murray Pura.

Adult (HS), rating: 4. Paperback.

Jude Whetstone is a young Amish man who loves to fly; however, not all members in his community appreciate his love for this new invention. Mr. Kurtz is one of those members, and as a result, he has forbidden Jude to court his daughter, Lyyndaya. Both Jude and Lyyndaya are heartbroken, but Lyyndaya obediently submits to her father’s wishes. Meanwhile, the United States has joined the Great War and is in need of soldiers and pilots. Amish men are exempt from this law based on religious grounds. Despite this, Jude and his friends are taken to a military detention base where they are mistreated and degraded for refusing to bear arms. After much abuse and starvation, Jude is faced with a proposition that can save his friends, at the expense of being shunned by his community. Will Jude survive this war without betraying his faith or losing his girl?

Amidst the backdrop of World War I, Murray Pura weaves an Amish tale of faith, love, and grace. The author does an excellent job creating an authentic setting using historical events, such as the outbreak of the Spanish Flu, to support time and place, while interspersing Pennsylvania Dutch throughout the text to create an authentic tone. The author’s emphases on character and plot development are equally balanced, each working to enhance the other and progress the story. The two main characters are full of depth and emotion, portraying weaknesses that keep them human and relatable. Jude’s inner war between his convictions and his sense of honor and revenge mirror the war around him. Lyyndaya’s desire to honor her parents and her Amish faith battle her love for Jude. Through Jude and Lyyndaya’s lives and actions, surrender and sacrifice are exemplified. Concerning war, the author sensitively addresses the convictions of both the Amish and those of the English world, condemning neither. Themes of persecution, vengeance, sacrificial love, forgiveness, and grace soar together through the pages, invoking a variety of emotions.

Justina McBride

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