Thou Torturest Me: R.M. Doyon
The tension and the fear held within the first two pages as the author brilliantly sets the stage for the impending tragedy about to come is palpable and creates an energy that is electric. Two young lovers unfold their love and feelings within the soft blades of grass above the waters of a big lake. Someone unknown to the two lovers is stolen away in the darkness and creates turmoil within these pages. Slowly and methodically following his or her actions yet waiting patiently in the darkness not revealing his/her presence and just biding time is someone possessed with foiling this romance. Listening to the voice of the young man profess his feelings for his partner you begin to understand the depth of his love for this young girl. But, although their evening has a special meaning someone wants to make sure that the end result is more than must a push over the edge. The prologue is crisp, strong and leaves readers wondering just who the two lovers are and why would someone betray their privacy and want revenge.
Joshua Troyer is a young Amish man whose life centers around the rules, mores and customs outlined by the Amish people and living up to the code of conduct his father expects him to follow. The story unfolds as we meet Joshua and his brother Elijah tending their horses and trying to get them to cooperate. Cooperation and proper conduct seems to be the norm and expectations required of Amish parents for their children and their steeds. However, some are torn and want to break free of the constraints and confines that their parents have set in place and although Joshua realizes at 21 it is time for him to choose a wife, his decision requires thought, planning and consideration before making it. Menno Troyer, his father is strict Amish parent, who uprooted his family taking them to live in Morgantown, New York, attracted to inexpensive land able to be cultivated. With his goals in mind he hoped to raise his family as the author flashes once again to Joshua and Hannah Zook his choice for a wife. But, within the pages of Chapter one a conflict will arise as Brad and his sister Ria join the cast of interesting characters causing Joshua to take a long and hard look at more than just his Amish life.
Hubie Schumacher a retired postal worker is about to celebrate his 70th birthday his wife inviting his entire family for the huge bash. Sister Barbara Cahill, husband Roger, daughter Ria and half brother Brad provide some conflict, intrigue and definitely spice in the plot. Chapter two reflects in detail about their characters, their back-stories and also introduces Hubie’s wife Dee.
Brian Boychuk is the Sheriff of this town and handles more than just the daily problems that arise from his job. Recently learning that he had a daughter, his excitement and connection to Makenna did not spill over to his wife Susan. Resentments rise, the heat is turned up not just outside but within the tension that mounts in these characters as each one has secrets, each one is tortured by their past, and their quest for revenge in order to attain whatever they want. Within this chapter we are about to meet Ria’s boyfriend Nick. Recalcitrant, demanding, thoughtless, rude and selfish are not anywhere close to who and what he really is as Ria seems blinded by his outer looks and strong personality. A simple discussion about education puts everyone on edge and alienates Ria’s mother Barbara from the start as the author describes him in vivid terms using nouns and adjectives that do not need any explanation. The conflicts between the characters are quite vividly depicted as Joshua and Brad come to blows during party hosted by Brad and his friends. Things get out of hand and the author relates the prejudice that the English as we are called feel about the Amish. Languages are different, customs come into play and Joshua and Ria seem to connect to the chagrin of her boyfriend, Nick. But, there is much more as we learn about the customs, what his father expects of him and the end result will surprise readers.
While Ria and Joshua seem to have formed a friendship someone else lurks in the background hoping to foil their plans. Strong-minded, yet at times harsh when disciplining his horses, Joshua seems to have a mind of his own and within the story we learn more about the Amish, how their church views indiscretions of their flock.
Throughout the novel we see many different sides of the young people as Brad comes up against the sheriff without any fear of reprisal. Brad and his behavior do not go unnoticed yet at every turn he seems immune to punishment as Menno and Joshua’s relationship seems as taut as a tight piece of rope or barbed wire waiting for it if to snap.
Finding his way to the scene of what looks like an accident he finds Ria seriously injured after someone pushed her over the edge of a cliff. Investigating the incident leads back to the Amish thinking that someone made some of the clues or footprints without shoes and possibly one of the vehicles they used. But, the person behind this remains unseen and the final outcome you just won’t believe.
Joshua and Ria seem to have some type of connection from just their brief encounters and the conflict plays throughout the book as both Nick and Joshua make their feelings and intentions for Ria clear but who will come out ahead?
Acts of hate and violence follow as someone sets fire to the Troyer’s hayloft, defaces his property and much more. As the violence erupts and you get to know more about Brad and Nick you begin to wonder if anyone is going to stop their rampage of terror. Themes of hate, prejudice, jealousy and betrayal are clear cut and young adults within this novel out of control With the help of his daughter Makenna the clues are created and the evidence bagged. But, there is much more behind the scenes as each side English and Amish suspect and distrust each other until the final reveal.
Characters intertwining, subplots blending together as Joshua takes the lead in some scenes while Brad and Nick in others. Fights in bars, scuffles whenever they are in sight of the Joshua and their differences quite clear. Why would Ria choose Nick? What is the draw and who is he really?
Family differences a father whose word is his bond and a son who wants his freedom and the life he gave up. Within this novel we learn more about their customs, rituals and he power of their Bishop and his control on this community. With parents in charge of their children’s behavior and life why does he cast stones at Menno when Joshua digresses.
When the truth comes out many lives will be changed and a community will face some harsh realities. An ending that only author R.M. Doyon could create and story that truly that will enlighten teens, young adult and adults to the pitfalls that befall the young, the carelessness of their actions and the lack of understanding of those who are different. Thou Torturest Me: One young man tormented by feelings that he knew were wrong. A father feeling he lost his son and a young man who lied just to be accepted. Accidents, hate crimes and lives hanging in the balance, this novel provides much pause for thought.
When two different cultures collide and their beliefs do not blend only author Rick Doyon can create a plot filled with realism, action-, which engages readers from start to finish. Thou Torturest Me: only this outstanding author can create a plot filled with outstanding characters, depicted so vividly and whose defines within the story the true meaning of creating mental and physical anguish or pain within the hearts and minds of people of two different cultures. Can we live with people that have different beliefs? Read this novel and you decide!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer