Last month I received the book Forgiven by Terri Roberts from Bethany House Publishers. I love being able to read books and review them.
Unlike the other books I’ve reviewed for Bethany House, this one is non-fiction. It is written by the mother of Charlie Roberts, who, in 2006, entered the one-room schoolhouse of the Nickel Mines Amish community, held ten girls hostage, and finally shot them (killing five) before turning a gun on himself. Another school shooting tragedy – but what makes this so different is the reaction of the Amish community towards the English (non-Amish) shooter and his family. In the days that followed the shooting, the Amish community came forward with forgiveness. While the Roberts family wasn’t Amish, they were known in the community, and instead of the community reviling them for what their son had done, they opened their arms to the hurting family. Charlie left behind a wife and three children of his own, as well as his parents and siblings, all who were left reeling in the wake of this crime.
Others might wonder where the anger was, where was the thirst for revenge? But in their faith, the Amish believe they need to set those feelings aside and forgive. Not only did this help the community in their time of grief, but it was offered to the Roberts family and helped them to begin healing as well.
This book takes one through the childhood and teen years of Charlie through his mother’s eyes, and shares with the reader the confusion, pain, and anguish of that October day nine years ago. What’s more, it allows the reader to take a glimpse inside those families of the five girls who were killed, and how forgiveness and grace gave them strength.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.