A novel, told through the diary entries of a farmer, that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart. When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath.
...in this beautifully written book, we are exposed to questions that we may never have even thought to ask ... The journal entry format is an interesting and effective choice; as readers we are at once incredibly close to the action and characters while simultaneously being held at arm’s length. I was inside Jacob’s head, witnessing his innermost thoughts and feelings, but also removed from anything outside of it ... The glimpses into the Amish community are a welcome change from the typical speculative fiction narrative. Williams presents something fresh and new with this choice, and while I can’t speak to the accuracy of the community’s portrayal in this novel, it felt real and vivid ... It’s rare to find a debut novel as finely crafted as When the English Fall.
...a quiet, brilliant little novel begging for a Netflix adaptation ... I never realized I wanted a postapocalyptic Amish novel, but the premise is so perfect I can’t believe that it’s never been done before — or that someone did it so well on the first try ... It’s a gorgeous, moving book that’s creepier than you might expect. Williams’ use of tension, suspense and compression is masterful, calling to mind the distilled prose of Ron Rash. In the past decade, pop culture may have become oversaturated with postapocalyptic stories, but this one is fresh, unique and unforgettable.
It’s a tale that’s quietly told, with a double handful of isolated characters who have little way of getting news beyond the borders of their well-tended acres. But Williams creates an impressive sense of dread that builds like the piles of garbage growing by the day on the city streets ... When the English Fall is thoughtful and the events are believable – even if the members of the Order are a little too saintly to be so. (The hypocritical, unhappy, or judgmental members of the community remain firmly off-screen.) And Williams lets his characters avoid truly wrenching ethical dilemmas, which might have deepened the novel. But Jacob is written as a witness, not a man of action – and he is so likable Williams just about gets away with it.