Promise to Return | Elizabeth Byler Younts

Today I am reviewing Promise to Return, an Amish historical fiction novel by Elizabeth Byler Younts.

Here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

When World War II breaks out, Miriam’s fiancé, Henry, is drafted and sent to a conscientious objector camp. But when Henry feels called to fight on the front lines, he goes against the Amish church to follow God’s will—forcing Miriam to choose between the rules of her religion and the leading of her heart.

It’s 1943 and Miriam Coblentz and Henry Mast are nearing their wedding day when the unthinkable happens—Henry is drafted. However, since he is a part of the pacifist Amish tradition, Henry is sent to a conscientious objector Civilian Public Service camp. When he leaves for the work camp, his gaping absence turns Miriam’s life upside down. Little does she know that it’s only the beginning…

When Henry returns home, he brings news that shakes Miriam and their Amish community to the core. He tells Miriam he believes God has called him to enlist in the Army and fight for his country, leaving her to make an important decision. She soon must choose between loyalty to the peaceful life she’s always known and her love for Henry and her faith in their shared destiny.

Two worlds collide in this unforgettable debut novel, providing a fascinating and rare look into Amish culture during World War II. While Henry is battling enemies across the ocean, Miriam struggles between devotion to Henry and her love of the Amish way of life. One question is at the bottom of it all: will she follow her religion or her heart?


When I agreed to read and review the second novel in this series, I had no idea what to expect… my daughter found – and purchased – the first novel in the series, because we both are pretty fussy about reading a series from beginning to end.

So I opened up Promise to Return and began reading…

I purposely chose a time that I could spend an hour or so uninterrupted, so I could concentrate enough to delve into this historical Amish novel.

What I didn’t expect was to read… and read… until I finally put down the book a little past midnight. I was done! Elizabeth had held my attention, refusing to let go until the very end.

And it was good – very good.

The story begins with Miriam Coblentz, who was almost married, until her boyfriend was drafted and sent to a Civilian Public Service camp. With their wedding postponed, she’s feeling a bit impatient.

I can certainly identify with that!

Elizabeth can certainly identify with the impatience – and the commitment – it takes to stand by while the man you love fights for his country. She puts such heart and soul into her novels; I can easily feel the frustration and doubts that her main character exhibits.

I want to be careful not to spoil the story, so I won’t speak of what happens with Miriam and Henry; I would suggest you to read the synopsis if you want to know more about the story before you begin reading it.

Then get read for book #2 in the series…

I’ll be reviewing it next!


You can read my review and more about the book on Goodreads HERE

You can find it on Amazon HERE

You can find more about Elizabeth Byler Younts on her website… HERE


God bless you!

©Donna J. Mynatt 2014


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