Will flees his Old Order community at the age of 19, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and all things Amish. He begins a new life, joining the army and later marrying and having two sons of his own. But his life and his new family are tainted by the hidden sins of his past. Hoping to patch things up with his father, Will takes his new family to meet the old one. Levi’s Will is the haunting story of a fallen man seeking to build a bridge across three generations.
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In 1943, 19-year-old Will Mullet flees his pacifist Amish community of Apple Creek, Ohio, leaving behind a pregnant girl and a rigid, God-fearing home to find a new life. He enlists in the military, marries a southern belle and tries to erase every trace of his past. But he can’t completely disengage from his roots, and nor, he belatedly discovers, does he want to. Levi, Will’s father, is slow to accept the prodigal son. Decades pass, and as Will’s life and relationship with his own children unfolds, “he begins to see that every man’s failure dips its roots into the previous generation and drops its seeds into the next.” Cramer shifts eras and narrative styles from chapter to chapter, sometimes following Will’s life in the 1940s as a young single man, sometimes chronicling other decades leading up to and including the 1980s. Readers may be challenged by such time jumps, as well as the novel’s multiple settings (Florida, Ohio, Europe) and numerous characters. Although it lacks some of the passion of his previous novel, Bad Ground, this quiet follow-up powerfully portrays the relationships between fathers and their children, the bitterness of rejection and the redeeming power of friendship, faith and forgiveness.
Bethany House Publishers
W. Dale Cramer