This beautifully written and thought provoking novel, The Amish Groom by Mindy Starns Clark and Susan Meissner (Harvest House Publishers) grabs the reader with a unique point of view. The authors give readers a new twist with a male perspective in this delicious Amish romance that also deals with rejection, restlessness, reconnection, and forgiveness.
The story begins in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania as 23 year-old Tyler feels a restlessness and a hesitancy to join the Amish church through baptism. Years earlier, Tyler’s Amish mother Sadie left the family farm and married an Englischer. Sadie died when Tyler was 6 years old, and consequently his Englischer father sent him to live with his Amish grandparents. Tyler then grew up in the Amish community, living with and as an Amish man, surrounded by loving relatives. Tyler’s longtime girlfriend, Rachel, is already a baptized member of the Amish church. Rachel feels Tyler’s hesitancy to join the church stems from his feelings of rejection by his absent father.
Tyler feels out of place when he visits his Englischer father and he also feels out of place among the Amish, it’s as if he doesn’t belong in either world. He wonders, could his restlessness be from God? Tyler believes God is calling him, but why would God call him to be outside his Amish community?
The authors paint a captivating picture of Tyler straddling the Amish and Englischer worlds. He questions whether his mother felt the Amish life was not “enough” for her and he worries that he will come to feel the same way. To move forward, he needs to discover why his mother left the Amish. With his Amish family’s blessing, Tyler leaves Lancaster County for an adventure in California.
Interest builds as Tyler tries to work out the differences between his Amish life style and how he can fit in as an Englischer. The California trip ultimately has many purposes, bringing him closer to his Englischer relatives, giving him a reconnection and closeness to his deceased mother, and guiding Tyler to the truths that God wants him to find. Tyler recognizes that forgiveness is not a one-time thing, it must be practiced over and over again.
While Tyler is in California trying to figure out his path forward, he can’t help but wonder if his Amish girlfriend Rachel will wait for him to return. Is Rachel being tempted to stray by some other Amish man? Can Tyler resist the attraction to the friendly California Englischer girls? Will he decide to return to Lancaster County or will he stay in California? Will he remain Amish or go back to the Englisch way of life?
The conclusion to The Amish Groom is truly gratifying. In an authentically touching and unexpected way, readers are rewarded as Tyler unlocks his mother’s past. The ending is not to be missed and readers may want to keep tissues handy. The Amish Groom was released April 1, 2014.