Book recommendation: A Promise to Return

I loved Elizabeth Byler Younts’ non-fiction book, Seasons, about her grandmother’s life. But I loved her debut novel, A Promise to Return, even more.

17164685The story begins during World War II when Henry Mast is drafted into the Civilian Public Service. His beloved, Miriam Coblentz, anxiously awaits his return home for good so they can marry, but then on a visit he reveals his plan to enlist in the army, going against their Amish church. Henry’s choice turns Miriam’s world upside down.

Her elderly parents, oldest sister, and community members, including a past suitor, become alarmed by her loyalty to Henry as he goes through basic training and then ships out to Europe. In contrast English neighbors and a sister, who has left the church, become Miriam’s support.

Elizabeth sets the conflict, stakes, and tension high throughout the novel, but what impressed me the most was the emotion that rang true throughout the story. Miriam genuinely struggles between her love for Henry and her loyalty to her family and church, and Elizabeth did a fine job drawing me, as a reader, into Miriam’s world. I’m certain that both Elizabeth’s Amish heritage and her current life as a military wife

I especially enjoyed the World War II setting and thought of my father, who was also a US Army soldier in Europe, as I read.

86e091e596e30ad8976ffc.L._V154293201_SY470_Thank you, Elizabeth, for another amazing story!


  1. Elizabeth Byler Younts
    Jan 23, 2014

    Thank you so much, Leslie! What a blessing this is. Your words are such an encouragement to me.

  2. Love your books love roses and lillies

  3. Myrtle Thorn
    Feb 4, 2014

    Carnations and hyanciths are my favorite. Thank you for a wonderful giveaway.

  4. David Stanley
    Feb 10, 2014

    Testing your comments.

  5. David Stanley
    Feb 10, 2014

    This is another test