Book Review: "Plain Perfect" by Beth Wiseman

On the rolling plains of Lancaster County, PA., Lillian Miller is searching for her grandparents' house...and so much more. After years of neglect and abuse, she's turning to a lifestyle of simplicity among the Amish to find herself.

As she discards the distractions of her former life, she befriends the young boy working on her family's farm and his attractive widowed father, Samuel Stoltzfus. Despite Lillian's best efforts to the contrary, her feelings for Samuel--and his for her--deepen. Will Lillian find her faith in Plain living, or will she be forced to return to her former life?

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Lancaster County this past summer and finally got to experience what the Amish lifestyle really was about. It was wonderful to see all the books I've read come to life. I was able to fully appreciate and understand everything I had read about the culture. Therefore I was excited when I read this book because I recognized the settings because I had actually been there.

This story was really fun to read. I loved learning more about the culture and it was interesting to see Lillian change throughout the book. I felt that the Stoltzfus family were a bit less traditional than most other Old Order Amish families. They didn't seem as strict or condemning as other stories have portrayed families who have lost a child to the "outside world." I also remember reading that they had a recliner in the house. I guess I just had this feeling that the Amish only had wooden furniture and never pictured a lazy boy in the middle of the living room. I was glad that her grandparents did allow her to wear her jeans until she felt comfortable enough to wear Amish clothing. Also loved reading about the food because I absolutely love Amish food.

While I really liked this book, I did feel that it seemed to fall in the stereotype that everyone who comes in touch with the Amish suddenly wants to become one. It also bugged me a little that Lillian just assumed she's Amish because it's in her blood. While she may have Amish roots, she was raised "Englisch" so she's not Amish by choice. I wasn't really a fan of Samuel although I did like his son very much. He just came across as very standoffish to me.
Overall I really liked the author's style of writing. It was a very refreshing read and it made me eager to read the rest of the books in the series. This is one of those Amish books that I really liked. It doesn't feel like an agenda is being pushed at you. It's more comfort reading than escapist reading this time around.

Plain Perfect by Beth Wiseman is published by Thomas Nelson (2008)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


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