In When the English Fall, the world is devastated by a natural disaster, and the Amish community in Pennsylvania deals with the aftermath. An Amish man named Jacob describes the events in his diary.
Since the Amish live largely outside our society, Jacob’s story becomes one of a struggle with faith. The downfall of “English” society is a test for Jacob and his community, but not in the same way it is for everyone else. The English themselves are his test. How can he deny neighbors in need, even at the expense of his family? Even though these neighbors are not part of the community? And especially when these neighbors are violent and desperate?
This set-up provides the other side of the coin in those apocalypse stories where the suburban or urban heroes venture out into the country for safety or supplies. People like Jacob’s family live there in the country. Jacob comes across as a kind, hardworking, and generous man, possessed of a strong faith. When you start to realize the way the story might end, it’s hard to read.
The ending is open, but I found it hopeful. At least, the characters go into the ending with hope and faith, even though they might be walking into something terrible.
This is a thoughtful, somber book, with a great narrator and a unique, original perspective.