I love to draw, I love to paint, I love to express myself creatively, and I am a person of deep faith and conviction. I can't imagine if the two of these parts of me, two of the things about myself that I identify with the strongest, were in conflict with one another.
Perhaps that's why I chose Portrait of a Sister, by Laura Bradford, for my July book club. In it, our protagonist is faced with just that, a conflict between her God-given gift of artistry, and her faith's doctrine against it. I'd never before considered how one might affect the other and I was immediately drawn to Katie's struggle.
This would be a doozie of a Delilah's Dilemma!
When their mother dies, Amish sisters, Katie and Hannah Beiler, are brought together again. Once upon an innocent time, they were inseparable, but Hannah chose to leave the fold and live the "Englisch" life in New York City while Katie, never questioning her future, stayed with the community in which she was born and raised.
After a lifetime of keeping her art hidden, Katie becomes caught up in Hannah’s “Englisch” life and discover that people admire her talent for drawing portraits, which are forbidden in Amish culture. Why would God give her such a gift if He did not want her to use It? It's not only this question, but developing romantic feelings for someone that is NOT the young Amish man, Abram Zook, she thought she would marry soon, that confuses Katie further. Add to it all, an influential art collector who wants to buy her sketches and you have the perfect recipe for a very muddled cocktail of emotional angst.
Props to author, Laura Bradford, who beautifully portrays how the quiet war between the heart and head, faith and desire, can tear at our souls.