It’s said that true love conquers all. Cultural divides, opposing religions, family expectations… all these can be overcome when two people are meant for each other. This is certainly the case for the heroes in By the Creek, an achingly sweet debut novel by Geoff Laughton. It doesn’t matter that David and Benjamin are young, barely 17, or that they occupy different worlds. From their first encounter one summer’s afternoon, they forge a connection that transcends social barriers.
When his mother lands a new job just before his junior year of high school, David is forced to leave the city and his friends behind and move to the country. He is dreading the prospect of an entire summer spent alone, with nothing to do but watch TV and explore the woods and fields that surround his new home. One of the few bright spots is the swimming hole a short walk from the house. It’s while he’s cooling off here one particularly hot day that David meets Benjamin, an Amish boy who lives on the other side of the creek. All at once, life doesn’t seem quite so empty.
For Benjamin, his visits to the swimming hole are one of the few liberties his father allows him. Associating with “the English,” on the other hand, is strictly prohibited. Yet, nothing can prevent the instant affinity that leaps between him and David, and during their stolen hours by the creek, their friendship deepens into something enduring and precious. But they can’t keep their romance a secret forever. When the inevitable happens, Benjamin is faced with a heartbreaking choice—give up what he has with David to fulfill his duty to his family, or turn his back on the only life he has ever known and take a chance on love.
By the Creek is a touching story of love triumphing against the odds that will surely move even the most hardened cynic. The Amish culture is one that fascinates me, and the author does a wonderful job of portraying their lifestyle and beliefs. I especially liked the way David and Benjamin’s relationship progresses so naturally. They are so obviously right for one another, despite their contrasting upbringings, and the genuine affection between them shines through their every interaction.
If you prefer your young adult romances tender and sweet, and have an interest in reading about other cultures, you may well enjoy this book.Powered by Sidelines