Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Amish Romance
Release Date: October 4, 2022
Leaving Stoney Ridge feels unbearable--but how can she stay?
Impulsive Lydie Stoltzfus has always felt like a disappointment--a square peg in a round hole in her quiet Amish community. Leaving her family and church seems like her best move, even though it would mean leaving Nathan Yoder behind. Nathan claims he's in love with her, but she knows she's not good enough for him. And if she is ever in doubt, Nathan's father reminds her frequently.
Knowing Lydie is "between" jobs again, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. This gives Lydie time to figure out how she's going to say goodbye to Nathan--and it gives Dok ample time to recognize the symptoms of a disorder rare among the Amish. She offers Lydie treatment that has the potential to change her life.
But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?
Reviewer: Connie Porter Saunders
Something was always happening to Lydie. This is why she plans to leave Stoney Ridge. Not because she wants to but because she doesn't want to keep disappointing her family. She knows she will be leaving much of her heart behind, including the part that belongs to Nathan Yoder, but this is what she must do.
Nathan is a young Amish farmer who wants to restore his mother's family farm to its former glory and believes that organic farming is the way to achieve this. He also believes that Lydie is the girl for him! Both have many obstacles to overcome, but can they conquer them together?
I loved this book! The characters, being able to return to Stoney Ridge and the multi-layered plot that is so thought-provoking. Anything But Plain gives us an in-depth look at Lydie's struggle with ADHD and the treatment recommended by Dok Ruth. How many times have you seen an Amish character with ADHD?
Nathan's desire to practice organic farming is ridiculed by his father and brother, and I found myself extremely irritated with his father, Walt Yoder. Guess all Amish people can't be as kind and likable as Bishop David Stoltzfus! And then there's the romance! Lydie may doubt herself, but Nathan loves her just the way she is. There are a lot of misunderstandings between them, but I just kept hoping that they could finally be together!
Faith, wisdom, and a genuine love for the Amish people are a big part of this delightful story, and I'm always inspired after I read a book by this author. Well done, Suzanne Woods Fisher!
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Revell through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Erin Stevenson
I have read many of Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books, from Amish to historical to contemporary, and she shines in all genres. As in all her stories, these characters are well-developed, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.
What was unique about this story was that one of the main characters discovered that she had a chronic condition that had plagued her for her entire life. I won’t spoil it, but it was handled well and obviously deeply researched. While the concept of “mindfulness” was recommended as a coping mechanism, I didn’t feel that it overtly carried any New Age vibes, but it might make some readers uncomfortable. What the character went through can undoubtedly help readers who suffer from this condition or know someone who does.
As in many of this author’s Amish books, the community becomes a character of its own, and this was particularly satisfying this time around. Anything but Plain is anything but a typical Amish story and well worth the read.
I was provided a copy of this novel by Revell Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a positive review, and all views and opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
Anything But Plain is exactly that—anything but plain. This is a story full of struggles, triumphs, and the revelation that God designed us just as we were meant to be.
Lydie always felt like a square peg in a round hole. Everything she touched was a disaster. Until her aunt diagnoses her with ADHD. Now everything makes sense, and she’s learning simple coping mechanisms that help her maximize her skills and minimize her failures.
Nathan has always been a farmer at heart. When he’s asked to head up a local farmer’s market, he becomes interested in organic farming. His father and brother don’t understand him, but Lydie always has. Why can’t they have an easy relationship like they did when they were younger?
This is a completely new twist in Amish romance, and I loved every minute of it.
I was given a copy through Interviews and Reviews, courtesy of Revell, and this is my honest opinion of the book.
Reviewer: Marta Aldrighetti
Lydie is the main character of the story. She always feels inadequate about everything and is frustrated. Lydie's character and the others (Bishop David, brothers Yoder, etc.) are well-developed, each with different beliefs and personalities. I loved them!
I loved this quote: "There will be good days and bad days. It's human nature to focus more on our failings than on our successes."
I appreciated that this book touched on interesting topics like ADHD, pesticide and fertilizing crops, biological food, mindfulness meditation, and self-acceptance. The story was excellent.
At the book's end are discussion questions. In this section, there are 14 questions about the characters, the events, and the topics. I think readers will find them very useful to reflect on.
I received a review copy courtesy of Revell through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
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