Let me preface this review by confessing that I don't typically choose to read Amish romances. If it weren't for the publisher mailing me a review copy, I would have skipped over A Plain Man. But receiving books through the mail is like opening a gift, meant to be savored and enjoyed. So that's what I did.
For me, the book started a bit slow because it took so long to meet the main characters, and I thought Caleb acted a bit immature through his father, Eli's, eyes, which was probably the author's intention. Eventually, I warmed to the characters and enjoyed the story: a man embarks on a journey to discover who he is emotionally and spiritually.
After living in the English world for five years, Caleb Beachy finally returned home to his Amish family. At twenty-four, he struggles with the restrictions of the Amish world and his overbearing father, who's also the district's bishop. With a floundering faith, he's unable to forgive himself for the worldly things he did while on rumschpinge. Even the budding relationship with sweet Josie Yoder does little to keep him from feeling suspended between two worlds, never quite belonging to either.
At least, he used to be spirited. Now he just seemed sad.
What was it like to not fit in anywhere? ~Josie, musing on Caleb.
A Plain Man is a story of finding oneself. It's about maintaining difficult relationships within our family and our community because we're all on this journey together. It's about forgiveness, and trusting that God's love is enough to cover the dark stains in our life, no matter how deep or how painful or how awful we think they are. When Caleb stopped focusing on himself and began to bless others, he discovered who he was and found his place in his community. I wouldn't pick up A Plain Man for the romance, but I would definitely read it again for the journey.
Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to the author, Mary Ellis, and Harvest House Publishers, for providing me with a copy of A Plain Man in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. This opinion is my own, and I received no compensation.
Labels: Amish fiction, Book Review, christian fiction, Harvest House Publisher, inspirational romance, living between two worlds, Mary Ellis, prodigal son returns