Murray Pura's first foray into Amish fiction does not disappoint. As a novelist of some distinction, Pura has already established himself in other genres and his ability to tell a great story is as evident in this book as in his others. Pura weaves romance as well as spiritual depth into a challenging plot that will keep readers turning pages and leave them sweetly satisfied when all is said and done.
Most of the story in The Wings of Morning takes place in a a peaceful Amish community aptly named Paradise, Pennsylvania in the last years of the Great War, WWI. The hero, Jude Whetstone, a blacksmith by trade -- as was my own dear dad a lifetime ago -- learns to fly. The Amish have already spurned the ownership of automobiles and telephones but have not yet made a decision regarding this new invention -- the aeroplane. Into this brief window of opportunity, Jude Whetstone finds his passion and hones his giftedness for all things aeronautical.
Jude's budding romance with Lyyndya Kurtz barely gets off the ground, pun intended, when the war in Europe intensifies and America gets involved. Jude is swept into the conflict as a flying ace in a most unlikely way, causing his Amish brethren to officially shun him since the Amish do not believe in bearing arms. The letters that Jude and Lyyndya write to one another but which they are not allowed to read bring the reader into their vastly different daily lives, their personal spiritual journeys and their growing love. However, the weight of a very uncertain future is always hanging over their heads and threatening to mar their future happiness.
Jude's plane is shot down over enemy territory and he is presumed dead. As if things weren't bad enough an outbreak of Spanish flu sweeps through their community, leaving no family untouched. When things are at their darkest Pura masterfully ties the threads of this rich tapestry together in a way that is artful, believable and a bit magical. You won't be able to wipe the grin off your face when the last page is turned.
Harvest House Publishers sent me a copy of The Wings of Morning for an honest review. I give this book five stars out of five. It is suitable for readers of all ages and has elements that appeal to both genders: war, romance, history, amish culture, aviation and community dynamics to name a few.
Connie Cavanaugh Ministries
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.