Monday, April 19, 2010

Beth Wiseman's Plain Pursuit--An Enjoyable Read

In Plain Pursuit Beth Wiseman not only gives the reader a glimpse of Amish life, she also imparts a strong faith-in-God message. Ms. Wiseman’s unique handling of shunning reveals the struggles of family members from both sides of the issue, something other Amish novels I’ve read had not addressed with such sensitivity and depth. Because Plain Pursuit is a romance, the plot follows the predictable romance format, but that doesn’t detract from the story. The lovers’ poignant journey draws the reader in, and plot twists keep the pages turning. The glossary of Pennsylvania Dutch words and the recipes adds a warm, homespun flavor.

Carley Malek, a Houston journalist, is forced by her editor to take a month’s vacation because she is not recovering well from personal tragedy. She ends up spending several weeks with her friend, Lillian, who had converted to the Amish faith in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and married Samuel, a widower with a young teenage son, David. Carley only plans to rest and recuperate and take advantage of her time off to write an in-depth article about the Amish. But when David becomes critically ill, her quiet visit quickly turns to something else. At the hospital Carley meets Dr. Noah Stoltzfus, a man Lillian and Carley are stunned to learn is Samuel’s shunned brother.

To accept God’s calling on his life, Noah turned from his Amish faith and family during his teens. He also antagonized his family by writing a book that invaded their privacy, a big Amish no-no. He and Carley are immediately attracted to each other, and he hopes she'll be his go-between with Samuel and his other family members. But Carley is reluctant to agree, because she doesn't want to offend Samuel and Lillian. Even after Noah risks his life to save David, the shunning--a reality that wounds the hearts of all involved--hangs over the family like a dark shroud and gravely impacts everyone’s life.

Plain Pursuit is loaded with tender love and aching conflict. One can’t experience the Amish shunning without emotional upheaval, so strong elements of pride, selfishness, and resentment surface, but so do humility, selflessness, and forgiveness. And as the characters soul-search and repent, they learn to trust the Lord and surrender their wills to Him.

I found Plain Pursuit a highly enjoyable read. So much so that it provoked me to buy Plain Perfect to read Samuel's and Lillian's story too. I found it equally touching, and look forward to reading all the books in the "Daughters of Promise" series.

Disclaimer: In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR, Part 255, this book was sent to me directly from the publisher and as such constitutes compensation for my review. All opinions are strictly my own.

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