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Kingdom of Simplicity Paperback – July 3, 2009
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KINGDOM OF SIMPLICITY tells a story about scars, literal and metaphoric. Like the culture of the Amish she has chosen to explore, Holly Payne tells a gripping story with quiet grace, economy and contained (but never absent) emotion. It's a gem. --Joyce Maynard
Holly Payne has graced us with a guide to forgiveness through the mechanism of an enjoyable and well-written story. Rich characters and compelling insights allow us to understand and hopefully use the peace her protagonist struggles to find... --Frederic Luskin, Ph.D, author of Forgive For Good and Director of Standford Forgiveness Projects
An unforgettable tale of loss, hope, and redemption that establishes Holly Payne as one of our finest literary fiction writers . . . Eli's journey resonates with our human need to find meaning in an often incomprehensible world. -Christopher Gortner, author of The Last Queen (Random House) I marveled at the depth of research and felt completely immersed in the culture and customs of the Pennsylvania Amish. With persistently graceful prose, Holly Payne builds a world that we are heartbroken to leave when the story ends. A beautiful, literary treasure box. - Erika Mailman, author of The Witch's Trinity (Random House) --Christoper Gortner and Erika Mailman
From the Inside Flap
How do you forgive the person who takes your family? Eli Yoder, a misguided Amish youth, has struggled with this question every day since he was nine. True to Amish tradition, everyone he knows has moved on with their lives except him. Shamed by his unwillingness to forgive, Eli leaves home during rumspringa, the time of 'running around' for Amish youth before they accept their faith, and searches for acceptance from the Outside World. Here a surprising friendship teaches Eli how to laugh again and prepares him to confront the biggest questions of his life. Inspired by a true story of forgiveness and written in simple, striking prose, Payne paints a detailed portrait of Lancaster County, Pennsylvaniaits countryside, its markets, and the inner-workings of its homesgiving the reader an authentic perspective on the Amish that's rare in literature.For anyone who seeks forgiveness or is confronted with the choice to forgive, Kingdom of Simplicity is an invitation to live from the heart and heal.
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I was given this book as a gift. After reading it, I shared it with everyone I could, and they all LOVED IT. Most especially, a friend who is dealing with a great tragedy and deep issues of self-forgiveness (for lack of a better word)found the book to be "just the medicine she needed!"
As always... Amazon is my reliable "go to" for purchasing books. I love the great product and shipping prices. I buy tons of books (including my son's college text books) at Amazon.
Kingdom of Simplicity
The story revolves around a young Amish boy growing to manhood, and facing the challenge of forgiving himself. No spoilers here; but... in Olde English, the prefix "for" (as in forgive) means, very simply, before. To for-give is to give as before. Not to give grudgingly, or agree to overlook, but to give.
Eli, the novel's protagonist, must come to grips with this, and discover what he truly needs to give.
It's a Romance, in the truest sense of that term. Emma loves Eli, but he cannot see it, much less accept it, until he can forgive, and learn to love himself in all his human frailty.
Few if any of the folks who read this review are Amish, but do not think that the experiences of this young man don't relate to "modern" life. All life, at all times, is "modern" to those to whom it happens, and this is a novel for all time.
I had the pleasure of buying a copy at one of the author's readings, and to hear her read it is remarkable. Rarely have I been so drawn into the world of a novel - too often one feels one is watching from a distance, but Ms Payne will draw you into Eli's world completely. Such a wonderful love story!
Buy it, read it, and grow from the experience.
Your story, Kingdom of Simplicity, is so heartfelt, so respectful of the Amish culture and traditions, and so real in its depiction of the lives of all those kids growing up in "smallville" -- something I know you get, having grown up in Lancaster. As a kid who grew up in a Quaker college town outside of Philadelphia, I get it too! Because of that, I never read stories about small towns and real people -- unless they are set in some exotic land. But you created (or at least captured the essence of) an exotic land right in the midst of my own boring Pennsylvania. That takes real insight!
I loved Leroy and Forklift! I felt the angst Levi must have felt -- how can one ever forgive oneself for destroying the one you love most in the world -- and I could so see you in Emma's feisty ways! I loved how Eli's parents applied their firm hands and open hearts, and I lived Eli's frustration and struggle -- as if it were my own.
In truth, I read this book because you are my friend, but by the time I turned the last page I had tears in my eyes and a great warmth in my heart. Almost involuntarily, a sigh escaped my chest and I found myself saying out loud, "Holly is one hell of a great writer!"
Thank you for this very human gift of forgiveness and love!
Your friend and fan, Tom
There are so many things I loved about Ms. Payne's book, Kingdom of Simplicity, but above all, I feel that she's given me a spiritual gift that I will always hold dear. This is rigorous storytelling at its finest and I can feel her heart and soul poured into every painstakingly crafted page.
Let me say, this isn't the type of novel that I regularly read. Although I enjoy a variety of prose, I mostly enjoy reading and writing historical fiction that allows me to escape into another era and learn new things about that period. However, once I plunged into Ms. Payne's novel, I was captured by the descriptions of the Amish way of life and the way they relate to the English around them. Above all, it was Eli Yoder's struggle to forgive the person who took his family that kept me riveted and rooting for Eli from the sidelines.
The characters are gritty and fresh, the setting bucolic and serene, and Eli's inner turmoil is palpable. The intensity of the novel is nicely balanced with moments of laughter and joy. Perhaps most noteworthy is the undercurrent of the singular truth that we are all one, and therefore to condemn or love someone is to condemn or love oneself.
Thank you so much, Ms. Payne, for writing this story. The Kingdom of Simplicity is a gift and I will recommend it to every book club I know!