Plain Proposal by Beth Wiseman is the fifth book in the Daughter’s of the Promise series. In this book, we follow Miriam Raber, who has fallen in love with someone in her Old Order Amish community and he wants to leave the community to pursue his dream in becoming a chef. I thought this was really unusual for an Amish book because not many Amish are boys are raised to cook. Saul, the boy she has fallen in love with, however lost his mother and since there were all boys in his family he has to learn to cook to feed the family. When Miriam finds out that the rumors of Saul leaving the community are true, she decides that she will go with him because she can’t lose him. Saul later decides he can’t leave his brothers because of a problem his father has. How will it all turn out, will they stay and be baptized into the church or will they leave to pursue Saul’s dream? You have to read to find out. I liked how this all played out in the story because I was left guessing until the end about what they would do and I really thought (or maybe was hoping) it would end the other way than it ends up.
The book also focuses on Miriam’s cousin, Shelby, who comes to live with the Rabers for the summer. Shelby’s parents are divorced and Shelby has gotten into trouble and hung out with the wrong crowd so her parents decide they can’t deal with her and send her off to Amish country to live for the summer. Shelby feels like God has deserted her, but as she gets used to living in the Amish community, she finds it gives her things that the outside world never could. Will she have to go home at the end of the summer or will she finally find her way and stay with the Rabers? The story focuses on that quite a bit and Shelby relies on Miriam as much as Miriam relies on her for guidance as they become Daughters of the Promise.
I had previously read all the other books in this series and while the characters’ from the other books in the series are mentioned, I really think you can read this book without reading the other ones. I think this is because a lot of the other characters in previous books have moved to her Colorado series and this book focuses on characters from the Amish community and their family members left behind in Paradise. I left the book feeling uplifted and really liked the story. I think that I enjoyed previously books in the series more than this one, but it was still a really good story. The reader is drawn into the story and you can't put it down, as with Beth's other books.
In one part of this book we learn about someone (I can't give much more away or it will spoil this story) who wants to go visit the relatives in Colorado to tell Katie Ann something important. I wonder if we might not learn more about this in the Colorado series as it really left me hanging and wanting to know more about what they wanted to tell her. Guess I'll have to wait for the next one in the Land of Cannan series to see.
I was given an advanced copy of the book to review through Net Galley and Thomas Nelson publishing. I was not required to give a positive review but an honest opinion.
Plain Proposal is scheduled to release on March 30, 2011, however Amazon says it is in stock but may take 2-3 more days for delivery for the paperback edition. You can buy it in paperback, Kindle edition, or audio book I'd recommend it to anyone who loves Amish Fiction.