The Divide

The DivideThe Divide by Jolina Petersheim
Series: The Alliance #2
Genres: Apocalyptic, Contemporary, Mennonite
Published by Tyndale on June 6, 2017
Pages: 400
Also in this series: The Alliance
Also by this author: The Alliance

 

Publisher’s Summary

In this gripping conclusion to The Alliance, nearly six months have passed since Leora Ebersole’s Old Order Mennonite community fled to the mountains for refuge after an attack destroyed the power grid and altered life as they knew it. Since then, Leora has watched and waited for news of Moses Hughes, the young Englischer pilot who held off invading looters long enough for everyone to escape. Unsure Moses even survived, Leora has begun to warm to the affections of Jabil Snyder, who has courted her patiently. But she struggles to see herself as the bishop’s wife, especially when she learns that Moses is alive and has now joined a local militia.

An unexpected encounter in the woods deepens Leora’s crisis, as does a terrifying new threat that brings Moses’ militia into the community’s shaky alliance with the few Englischers left among them. When long-held beliefs are once again put to the test, Leora wrestles with the divide between having faith and taking action. Just how much will her shifting landscape change her?

One of my most anticipated reads of this year was The Divide. I could hardly stand the wait to find out what would happen to Leora and Moses, but the wait was totally worth it! This story delves further into their world post-disaster, raising a few new questions perhaps, but ultimately answering all of the ones that mattered to this reader. The first scenes begins the story in a rush, and I was hooked just like that. A word of warning – don’t start this book unless you plan on having a good chunk of reading time at your disposal. You’ll be sorely tested if you have to put it down!

Like the first book, readers get the perspective of both Moses and Leora, and this time, Sal, one of the secondary characters in The Alliance. At first, it seems strange to read from her point of view, but in the end, it all comes full circle, and I appreciated that glimpse into her character. Though the sections are clearly labeled by the characters’ names, their voices are distinctly different from one another. I always felt fully enmeshed in the character’s mind, regardless of who is narrating. Also, it was at least a quarter into the story that I noticed it was written in present-tense. The voice and writing style is just that excellent that it doesn’t need notice, other than to notice that I was obviously enjoying it since I was reluctant to put it down even for a minute.

I always felt fully enmeshed in the character’s mind, regardless of who is narrating.

More than being a story about society in a dark time, it is a story of real people simply trying to survive. Petersheim doesn’t attempt to take on the entire country and it’s condition overall, but rather chooses to focus in enthralling detail the day-to-day lives of Leora and the Mennonite community, as well as Moses and the members of the militia. The struggles they face are so realistic, as is the way they respond to the events around them. Some decisions are seen as ruthless, some as careless, depending on who is doing the deciding and who is affected by the decision. In addition to the day to day, there are also some heart-pounding, unexpected moments as well. And, phew, would I not want to face a harsh Montana winter without the modern conveniences of today that keep us safe, dry and warm.

Readers who crave more backstory like me will be happy to hear that we find out more about Moses’s life and family before the EMP.

There are also some stellar secondary characters. Jabil, a character I admired, yet didn’t always agree with in The Alliance, comes back an even stronger character in The Divide. Leora’s father, a character mostly on the periphery of her life in The Alliance, is more complex than previously seen. Moses’s relationship with Josh, a leader of the militia, feels especially important and poignant throughout the story. Readers who crave more backstory like me will be happy to hear that we find out more about Moses’s life and family before the EMP. It definitely clears up some of the mystery and made me feel that I knew him better.

The ending is such an apt one for this story. I think if it had ended with even a hint of cheesy “happily-ever-after” I would have been so disappointed. Everything is not tied up nicely and neatly, but there is unity. It’s a matter of when something happens, not if, but “the uncertainly is what makes every moment beautiful.” There is a grittiness to life in this new reality that they can’t ignore no matter what, but they know they can face it together. Though tested and a bit tattered, they have their faith, and they have each other.

Perhaps this wasn’t Petersheim’s overall goal, but this story made me grateful to those who continue to fight evil, who protect and defend the innocent, who continue to fight for a safe and happy life, even to point of death.

Perhaps this wasn’t Petersheim’s overall goal, but this story made me grateful to those who continue to fight evil, who protect and defend the innocent, who continue to fight for a safe and happy life, even to point of death. It made me appreciate what I have and who I share it with, as well as remember that in all things, the Lord is steadfast and unwavering. I highly recommend The Divide; it’s thought-provoking and heartrending, yet ultimately triumphant. A favorite of 2017!

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