Mary Ellis has written a most fascinating Amish romance novel, A Plain Man (Harvest House Publishers). This novel follows the odyssey of 25 year-old Caleb Beachy, returning after five years from his Englisch life in Cleveland to an Amish lifestyle in Fredericksburg, Ohio. Caleb finds himself back at his family homestead needing to rebuild a trusting relationship with his father, the bishop of the Amish community. He wants to find an appropriate work life and re-establish an Amish social life.
Caleb is a wonderfully likable character but flawed as all God’s children are. He has made mistakes and continues to make mistakes, but he owns up to his errors. He is willing to learn from his past to make his future better. Mary Ellis has created a complex, multi-dimensional Amish man with Caleb. He has hung onto some of his Englischer language and customs, much to his father’s dismay, yet he remains determined and committed to taking his Amish baptismal kneeling vows.
Caleb decides he needs to distance himself from his Englisch coworkers on the construction crew to remove the temptation to slip back into drinking after work. At this point, Caleb’s father recommends that Caleb volunteer to help a fellow Amish family, the Sidleys, rebuild their run-down farm and home. Mary Ellis instills a valuable lesson here, if you want to forget about yourself and your problems, help someone else. By working with and putting the Sidleys family before his own problems, Caleb begins to feel better about himself.
But even with helping the Sidleys to put their home and farm back into order, Caleb is still distraught over his past improper conduct and mistakes made while living as an Englischer. Caleb doesn’t feel that he will ever be accepted back into the community as a true Amish man. Reoccurring themes of forgiveness and acceptance are throughout A Plain Man. Multiple characters learn the value of praying for God’s grace to help them forgive others as well as themselves.
Caleb gets reacquainted with a lovely young Amish woman, Josie, who wants to help Caleb forgive himself for past mistakes so he can move forward in his Amish faith. Caleb worries that no Amish woman in her right mind will ever marry him with all the baggage he carries from his years living as an Englisch man. Mary Ellis knows romance and unique character development. Josie’s character is a delightful breath of fresh air as a romantic counterpart for Caleb. Their story is original and quite outside the box. Josie becomes the heroine when she comes up with an unusual solution for Caleb to be able to accept and forgive his past.
Mary Ellis is a prolific five star writer of Amish and historical romance novels. A Plain Man is a novel that will be treasured and enjoyed page by page. It was published April 1, 2014.