“A shattering portrayal of a community cloaked in secrets. Lizzy tells a story of abuse and resolve that is at once heartbreaking and inspiring. Highly recommended.”
— Gregg Olsen, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of Water’s Edge and If You Tell
When Lizzy Hershberger turns fourteen, her schooling ends at eighth grade, and she has no choice but to leave home to work as an unpaid maid for another family. To avoid being rejected by her ultra-conservative Swartzentruber Amish family and community, Lizzy is forced to abandon her dreams because they are “too worldly.” After being raped by a man who becomes a deacon in her community, Lizzy makes her first attempt at “jumping the fence” to pursue a non-Amish lifestyle. But without any modern life experience or education, Lizzy considers whether the risks of this unpredictable and dangerous world are worth losing the ties to her Amish friends and family forever. Almost thirty years later, after she has created a new life for herself, her small community is rocked by disturbing sexual assault allegations. Lizzy must decide whether to keep silent for her newly-created family’s sake or come forward against the church to advocate for the Amish children she left behind.
In 2019, Lizzy Hershberger successfully brought her abuser to justice in an extraordinarily rare case addressing sexual abuse in the Amish church. She faced death threats and intense pressure to stop telling her story. Lizzy refused to back down, and she forged ahead to spark a national movement bringing awareness to the prevalence of sexual assault in isolated communities protected by religious liberties. This gripping true crime memoir reveals the truth behind one of America’s most revered and secretive religious sects—hidden behind the blue curtains of the Amish lifestyle.
Behind Blue Curtains
Lizzie Hershberger with Molly Maeve Eagan