This book is the follow up to Why I Left The Amish. That book dealt with the author’s “now”, her mature years while confronting her father’s impending death, and her remote past, her childhood. This book fills in her young adult years.
Saloma grew up in an abusive family, physically abused, emotionally damaged, and sexually violated. As we left her in the first book, she was escaping to the real world of her dreams, Vermont.
Saloma makes what seems to be a successful transition. She finds a place to live, a job, some friends, and even the prospect of romance. But it is short-lived. Her sister manages to extract her whereabouts from her, and the family and the church send a van load of people to come fetch her. She is able to resist the first time, as she is warned, but the second time when they arrive without warning, she meekly complies with their wishes.
Saloma hasn’t lost her spirit, though. She refuses to return to living at home with her abusive father, even though he has gotten some help and medication. She initially moves in with friends, but when she gets a job teaching at the Amish school, she can establish her own household. She travels a bit. And Daniel, the man she met while she was “out”, persists in trying to stay in touch. Saloma is overwhelmed by her conflicting feelings, to the point of an eating disorder, and brutally rejects him. But he never loses hope, and helps her to hold on to her own hope and her own self. And when Saloma finally makes her permanent break, it is not just an escape; it is a moving ahead on a positive path.
Again loaded with Amish trivia, it is at its heart the story of how a damaged child becomes a healed adult because of love, as well as her own courage and spirit.