Reviewed by Meg Massey

Thirty-something Holly Fisher has grown up in Seattle without a dad or any other extended family, and lives with her mother, Esther. She is shocked to discover that Esther has heard from her grandmother, Anna, whom she believed to be dead. As it turns out, Holly has an extended family that includes grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, all living in an Amish community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Holly is furious with her mother for keeping her family a secret, but is anxious to meet her grandmother and to attempt to contact her father’s parents to learn more about her dad, who died in the Vietnam War. Esther, on the other hand, is dreading the visit, and feels guilty for leaving her community to marry Samuel, since he later lost his life in Vietnam. When the two arrive, Esther’s family is stunned that she has returned, and some of them are not as welcoming as Holly would have hoped, especially Samuel’s parents.

Kate Lloyd’s Leaving Lancaster provides an emotional look into the lives of a tight-knit Amish community, and a daughter who left the world behind. The character of Esther is one that everyone can relate to; someone who longed for freedom in her youth, now living with regrets from her past. And Holly is a young woman desperate for family, and looking for love. Will Esther be able to make peace with her family? And will Holly find it in her heart to forgive her mother for keeping the family a secret? And when Holly finds herself attracted to a local man, and making a connection with her grandmother Anna, will she choose to stay behind in Lancaster?

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between on her blog.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by David C. Cook. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.