Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman

About the book:

Miriam secretly vows to follow Saul no matter what the future holds.  But she never thought that future might take them away from their Amish community.

Miriam Raber could have her pick of any of the eligible bachelors in Lancaster County. But she only has eyes for one . . . Saul Fisher. He captured her heart years ago, and she’s never looked back. Even when rumors circulate that Saul may leave their Amish community to pursue a once-in-a-lifetime apprenticeship, Miriam makes a bold assertion: she will stand by him, whether he stays or he goes, though she knows this decision could break her family’s heart.

Saul Fisher has experienced an inordinate amount of loss in his short life. Saul is raising his two brothers and caring for a grieving father who privately seeks solace in the comfort of his homemade wine. Saul has kept his father’s drinking from the community, but if he leaves Lancaster, the burden of secrecy will be left to his young brothers. How does he balance this with the dream that burns bright within him?

As Miriam and Saul consider leaving their lives behind, God starts revealing things to Miriam that make her think twice about what it means to be a Daughter of the Promise, and what it means to make a home.

Experience this love story with a surprising resolution by one of the most popular voices in Amish fiction.

My thoughts:

To say that I'm a huge fan of Beth Wiseman would be the understatement of the year. I just cannot get enough of her books! Her books all have simple Amish storylines, but there's something about them that draws me in every single time.

Now, I'm a huge fan of Amish fiction, in general, and have been since Beverly Lewis' first book. I have learned so much about their lifestyle, their beliefs, and their quiet strengths. But the way those characteristics are displayed in a Beth Wiseman book put her in a league of her own. In her last book in this series, I learned that the Amish don't believe in "ministering" to other people, but instead, choose to live their lives as a Christian example to others. That same theme carried over into this book, and blended into the story beautifully. While it's not something that I believe in wholeheartedly, I do understand it from their point of view.

Out of this series, this was the first book that explored one of their own leaving, and possibly choosing an English lifestyle. I was happy to see that change of pace for this series, as there have been a handful of people that have come from the outside world into this strict Amish world. I truthfully didn't know what Saul and Miriam would choose, and I admit that I got frustrated a few times with Miriam's mother and her meddling.

The only thing that didn't seem to fit well with this book was at the very beginning. Unless I completely missed it, Shelby's age was not mentioned until I had gotten well into the story. Initially, her character seemed rather juvenile, and her journal writings didn't seem to match her age of 19. However, as the book progressed, more of her past was revealed, and I knew she couldn't have been the 14- or 15-year-old girl that I first pictured her being.

If you've not read any of the books in the Daughters of the Promise Series, I would highly recommend that you read all 5 of them in order. It's not an absolute must, but it will definitely make for a better reading experience. Beth is also in the middle of a spin-off to this series which is set in Colorado called The Land of Canaan Series. It's first book, Seek Me With All Your Heart, falls right into place between books 4 and 5 of this series, and should be read before reading Plain Proposal, in my opinion.

Confusing enough for ya? It's well worth it, I promise. :o)

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

4.5 Stars

**Many thanks to Thomas Nelson through NetGalley for providing a copy for review.

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