Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)
I got hooked on books set in Amish settlements years ago when I discovered Beverly Lewis. Back then it seemed she was the only author writing these kind of books but now I’m discovering many new-to-me authors who not only write in one of my favorite sub-genres but also are wonderful writers. Beth Wiseman is one of these authors. Plain Perfect chronicles a period in the life of a young woman born to the daughter of an Amish couple but raised as an Englischer when her mother leaves the district instead of confiding in her parents that her Rumschpringe got a bit out of hand and left her a mother. In her mid 20’s after knowing nothing but the Englisch world save dim memories of one or two visits to her grandparent’s farm as a young child Lillian decides they are the only safe refuge she can run to in order to escape the trauma that has been her life so far and pushed her into unsafe choices in the outside world of Englischers.
Will Lillian’s past and the poor choices both she nad her mother have made infringe on the peaceful Amish life of her grandparents and their neighbors. Will it all catch up to Lillian and her mother despite Lillian’s attempts to run and hide where no one will chase after her? Will they reconcile with her Grandparents before it’s too late and will Lillian find the contentment and a new connection to God in living a simple life after over 20 years in the “world” and not knowing anything else?
Wiseman paints portraits of characters with the pen that I have really seen in noveldom. Despite the disparity in my growing up years and Lillian’s as well as the differences between the Amish lifestyle and mine as an outsider I could still experience everything through Lillian and understand her like few characters I have met. The lessons of Faith, Trust, Simplicity and Family Ties that she encounters along the way are in many ways the same ones we all face in this life whether we are sheltered in a community similar to the Amish or living amongst the evils rampant in today’s world and hoping our faith survives the daily assaults we face. I look forward to the upcoming books in the Daughters of the Promise series that this book launched and meeting more wonderfully rich characters from Ms. Wiseman’s pen as I walk through their lessons and adventures in her books. (ISBN#9781595546302, 352pp, $14.99)