So what I did NOT know before viewing The Confession is that it is the second book in a trilogy, by Beverly Lewis, and the first book, The Shunning, has already aired as a Hallmark Channel movie (this one aired on Hallmark as well). After I watched The Confession, I noticed that Netflix happened to have The Shunning (for once! Netflix usually never has what I want to watch ...), so I went back and watched that as well.
My conclusion is this: you can watch The Confession before watching The Shunning, but if you do, make sure to educate yourself about the events from the first movie - or else you will be very confused.
Raised by an Amish family, Katie Lapp (Katie Leclerc, TV's "Switched at Birth") always felt the call of another life. Now, her quest to find her birth-mother, Laura Mayfield-Bennett (Sherry Stringfield, TV's "ER"), has drawn her into world of the "Englishers." Along the way, two very different men try to help her overcome a devious scheme to steal her rightful inheritance. Business-minded but kind-hearted Justin Wirth (Michael Rupnow) reaches out to discover Katie's hidden secrets, while her childhood companion Daniel Fisher (Cameron Deane Stewart) sacrifices his own happiness for her future. Katie's heart is divided between two worlds as love reveals the truth in the moving saga based on the hit novel from New York Times bestselling author Beverly Lewis.
Before watching the movie, I knew that it had aired on May 11th on the Hallmark Channel, and that it was about an Amish girl trying to find her birth mother, who is an "Englisher" (someone who lives in the "modern" world and is not Amish). The film actually switches out Katie from the first movie (Danielle Panabaker) and replaces her with Katie Leclerc, from the TV show Switched at Birth, and her birth mother's husband is also a different actor in this movie, as is her presumed-dead ex-boyfriend, Daniel. The mother, however, is the same actress.
I liked The Confession a lot, but after viewing The Shunning, I think they are best viewed together, in chronological order. The Confession seemed to just jump into the story without providing much background, which is why I started Googling and eventually found that it starts up where Shunning left off - Katie has just been shunned from her Amish community, and goes off in search of her birth mother, knowing that the mother has cancer and is seriously ill.
The box art for Confession is a little misleading, too - it has a picture of Katie with her two boyfriends - a new one, Justin (Michael Rupnow), who meets Katie while she is pretending to be a maid at her birth mom's house, and her former one, Daniel (Cameron Deane Stewart, Pitch Perfect), who everyone thought had drowned but whom is actually alive. Because of the cover art, I thought that the love triangle would take up part of the movie, but in fact, Daniel doesn't even get involved with Katie in this one - her Amish mom asks him not to reintroduce himself at this time since Katie must already be feeling overwhelmed in the "Englisher" world.
The last book in the series is called The Reckoning, and I hope Hallmark makes a movie of that one as well! I may have to read the book to find out what eventually happens between Katie, Daniel, and Justin, because I'm curious to see how it all turns out.
The Shunning: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Confession: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Thanks to Edify Media, I have one copy of The Reckoning on DVD to give to one of my lucky readers. The DVD is actually not available for purchase until June 11th, but you can win a copy here early.
Contest will end next Sunday, June 2nd at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be emailed on June 3rd and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen. U.S. addresses only, please.
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