On Tour with Celebrate Lit: Anything But Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher with Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Anything But Plain

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Amish fiction

Release date: October 4, 2022

It’s not easy being the bishop’s daughter, especially for Lydie Stoltzfus. She’s not like other Amish girls, as much as she wishes she were. The only thing she does well is disappoint others. Leaving her family and church seems unbearable, but staying might be worse.

Knowing Lydie is “between” jobs, the local doctor asks her to fill in at the front desk for a few months. To Lydie, this is a boon. It gives her time to figure out how she’s going to say goodbye to her neighbor, Nathan Yoder–the main reason she needs to leave Stoney Ridge. Nathan claims he’s in love with her, but she knows she’s not good enough for him. If in doubt, Nathan’s father reminds her frequently.

As Dok spends time with Lydie, she recognizes symptoms of an uncommon disorder among the Amish. She offers treatment for Lydie. But will it be enough to make her stay? Or has help come too late?

Click here to get your copy!

In Anything But Plain, Suzanne Woods Fisher introduces us to a young woman who is “anything but plain” in the traditional Amish sense.

Lydia “Lydie” Stoltzfus, a young Amish girl, seems to be an accident waiting to happen. Everything she does or attempts to do, it seems, ends in failure or turns into a disaster. Her track record of failing jobs is infamous and legendary.

Nathan Yoder struggles to assist his father in managing their farm, which has deteriorated from outmoded and destructive agricultural practices.

Despite the fact that Lydie and Nathan care for one another, external factors (including Lydie) work against their relationship. Can kindhearted “Dok,” the neighborhood physician and Lydie’s relative, help?

I always enjoy reading Suzanne Woods Fisher’s books, and this one is no exception. I especially enjoyed the premise of the story. Her Amish stories are real and wholesome. Anything But Plain will deeply move you and tug mightily on your heartstrings.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a Christy finalist, a Carol Award winner, a two-time ECPA Book of the Year finalist, and the Publishers Weekly, ECPA, CBA, bestselling author of more than thirty books. Her genres include contemporary and historical romances, Amish romance, and women’s fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in California, where everyone knows everyone else, knows what they are doing and why. Most folks act a little nervous around Suzanne because they usually wind up in one of her novels. She has four grown children and enough grandchildren to keep her young. Visit Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

More from Suzanne

Easily Distracted? 8 Strategies to Help Stay Focused

Anything but Plain is a story about a young Amish woman with undiagnosed ADHD. Lydie Stoltzfus feels like a square peg in a round hole. She just doesn’t fit in and, to make matters worse, she’s the bishop’s daughter. At this point, the only path forward she can see is to leave Stoney Ridge. Leave her church, her friends, her family, her neighbor Nathan Yoder. It’s better to leave, Lydie decides, than to keep disappointing everyone she cares about. I won’t say anymore so that I don’t spoil the story for you.

ADHD is not a common diagnosis among the Amish and many might assume it’s not a real thing. Of course, they’re mistaken. ADHD is a real thing. While I don’t have ADHD, I do have many friends and family members who have been diagnosed. It’s challenging! And something we should all take seriously. Here’s why:

Evidence is mounting that a growing dependence on digital devices could be giving all of us some ADHD-like symptoms. Have you wondered if distractibility is becoming a problem for you? Or has a spouse or child or friend remarked on how often you pick up your phone to check a text message or scroll Instagram? You might remain physically present but your mind has wandered away. For me, the answer is, regrettably, yes.

There’s a recurring phrase in Anything but Plain that comes from an old-fashioned farming term: Walking the beans. Literally, it means weeding by hand. Figuratively, it means paying attention to our priorities. To pull the weeds before they take root.

One of the takeaway lessons of this book is to “walk the beans” of technology’s role in my life. So…I’ve been working on a few strategies. When I practice, I see a difference. Life is calmer. More manageable.

So…I wanted to pass these tips along to you. (If you have little children, these might not work for you. Not when your little ones are awake, anyway.) Hopefully, you’ll find them to be useful, and maybe spark some strategies of your own.

  • Make a plan. I start the day with an index card and write down the day’s priorities. And I check off tasks as I finish them!
  • Go off-line. Create an environment that helps you stay focused. Turn your cell phone to silent. If working on the computer, close your email app. Put yourself in distraction-free mode until you’re accomplished what you need to do
  • Finish one task before moving on to the next. Even little tasks.
  • Distractibility is at its peak during transitions. Build in margin. For example, arrive a few minutes early instead of rushing in a few minutes late.
  • When distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
  • When I’m facing a big task, I’ll break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • Set a deadline for a task. Beat the clock! Use a timer.
  • Rewards! When I beat the clock, I’ll take a break from computer work and pop up to the garden, text a friend, walk the dog. Something that feels good.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 7

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7

She Lives To Read, October 8

The Write Escape, October 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9

Vicky Sluiter, October 9

lakesidelivingsite, October 10

Texas Book-aholic, October 10

Lighthouse-Academy, October 11

Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12

Inklings and notions, October 12

Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, October 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14

Blogging With Carol, October 14

Elly Gilbert, October 14

deb’s Book Review, October 15

For Him and My Family, October 15

Holly’s Book Corner, October 15

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16

Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16

Splashes of Joy, October 16

Empowermoms, October 17

SusanLovesBooks, October 17

Mary Hake, October 17

Bigreadersite, October 18

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18

Blossoms and Blessings, October 18

Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 19

Spoken from the Heart, October 19

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20

Cover Lover Book Review, October 20

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/21e05/anything-but-plain-celebration-tour-giveaway

#CelebrateLit #NetGalley #AnythingButPlain

Advertisement

The Sweet Life by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher’s Summary

On sale May 3rd

Dawn Dixon can hardly believe she’s on a groomless honeymoon on beautiful Cape Cod . . . with her mother. Sure, Marnie Dixon is good company, but Dawn was supposed to be here with Kevin, the love of her life (or so she thought).

Marnie Dixon needs some time away from the absolute realness of life as much as her jilted daughter does, and she’s not about to let her only child suffer alone–even if Marnie herself had been doing precisely that for the past month.

Given the circumstances, maybe it was inevitable that Marnie would do something as rash as buy a run-down ice-cream shop in the town’s tightly regulated historic district. After all, everything’s better with ice cream.

Her exasperated daughter knows that she’s the one who will have to clean up this mess. Even when her mother’s impulsive real estate purchase brings Kevin back into her life, Dawn doesn’t get her hopes up. Everyone knows that broken romances stay broken . . . don’t they?

Welcome to a summer of sweet surprises on Cape Cod–a place where dreams just might come true.

Dawn Dixon and her mother, Marnie Dixon, couldn’t be more disparate. Dawn is an obsessive goal-oriented planner, whereas Marnie is a go-with-the-flow, Que será, será type, and therein lays the dilemma. However, they both discover through tough situations that neither has a right or wrong style—just their own style.

The Sweet Life is primarily about Marnie and Dawn as they learn to navigate their new life and being with each other on a full-time basis. Because the components of faith are vital and integral to the plot, I applaud Fisher’s ability to integrate faith and religious beliefs gently and consistently into the novel without browbeating or badgering.

I was captivated by the people of Chatham and how they contributed to the larger picture. Some I adored, while others I found difficult to like. They were all, however, well-developed and kept the tale moving forward.

Of course, I can’t fail to mention their ice cream’s incredible evolution. I had no idea how much time and effort could go into making or breaking ice cream. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter, as well as the definitions at the beginning of the book, helped tremendously in the overall understanding and pleasure of the novel.

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s story of the halcyon city of Chatham, a seaside village on Cape Cod, makes you want to pack your bags and move there.

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own, and I am voluntarily leaving this review.

#TheSweetLife #NetGalley

The Light Before Day (Nantucket Legacy Book 3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher on Tour with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book: The Light Before Day

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 2, 2018

“Henry, this . . . fortune, this sudden wealth . . . I fear it will change our lives. And I don’t want my life to change.”

After three years on a whaling voyage, Henry Macy returns to Nantucket to news that his grandmother has passed, bequeathing her vast fortune to him and his sister, Hitty. And it was truly vast. But Lillian Coffin was no fool. The inheritance comes with a steep cost, including when each should marry and whom—a Quaker in good standing, of course. But if they relinquish the inheritance, it all goes to Tristram Macy, their father’s thieving business partner.

As Hitty and Henry seek a way to satisfy the will’s conditions, they’ll be faced with obstacles on every side—and it may be that Lillian Coffin will have the last word after all.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Review

Hetty and Henry Macy’s waspish and irascible grandmother left them a huge inheritance-with many stipulations-which both surprised and dismayed the twins. They didn’t want the inheritance, but the alternative to refusing was even worse than if they accepted.

The Light Before Day is well-written and exceptionally well researched, shedding light on the early Quaker religion in our burgeoning country. Fisher conveys a vivid legacy of Nantucket as shown through the eyes of many resident’s love for the island. Nonetheless, life on the island wasn’t idyllic; there was a deep undercurrent of poverty, racism and bigotry.  The novel sheds light on problems inherent in a changing and growing time, and her use of Great Mary’s journal juxtaposed with the lives of the twins helps set the tone for the book.

As I read the story, I could see the island, smell the ocean and feel its mighty strength and reflect on parts of our country’s legacy. I came to understand and appreciate the challenge intrinsic in whale hunting, and the fear of the loss of livelihood as the whale population was diminishing. I could empathize with everyone trying to make a better life for people perceived to be of a lesser value than others. Although there is a romantic aspect woven into the story, there is so much to digest and reflect on that I feel one reading doesn’t do the story justice.

The Light Before Day completes the Nantucket Legacy Series. The book could be read as a standalone. Yet, to truly appreciate the storyline, I would suggest reading the first two books in the series, Phoebe’s Light and Minding the Light.

I received the book from NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Phoebe’s Light and Minding the Light, as well as the Amish Beginnings, The Bishop’s Family, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She has also written several nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. Fisher lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow her on Twitter @suzannewfisher and Facebook @SuzanneWoodsFisherAuthor.

Guest Post from Suzanne

The Mortgage Button

In each story of the ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series, there’s a reference to a mortgage button in the newel post of a stairway. Phoebe Starbuck, the main character in Phoebe’s Light, made a point to notice it in the captain’s house on Orange Street, the famous residences of sea captains. In Minding the Light, Daphne Coffin touched the mortgage button on the newel post of her horrible mother’s grand house each and every morning. Hitty and Henry Macy were well aware of the absence of their childhood home’s mortgage button—and all that its absence symbolized—in The Light Before Day.

Mortgage buttons meant something to each of those characters. It made a statement to anyone who walked into a house.

Have you ever seen a mortgage button? It’s a very Nantucket-y tradition. In fact, some say the mortgage button originated on Nantucket Island, thirty miles out to sea.

Supposedly, when a house’s mortgage was fully paid and there were no liens against the property, the homeowner drilled a hole in the newel post of the main staircase, rolled up the mortgage document, put it inside, and capped the hole with a decorative plug of scrimshaw.

Scrimshaw is a term for an American folk art developed during the 18th and 19th centuries. Whaling in New England was an industry that lifted Nantucket Island to become the world’s wealthiest port. After a whale’s oil was rendered, the ship’s captain would give his crew the sperm whale’s teeth or bones to carve during long tedious hours at sea. Whaling had its exciting moments, but they were far and few between. As a pastime, sailors carved all kinds of useful gifts to bring home to their loved ones: needles, combs, games, clothespins, busks…and mortgage buttons.

But let’s jump back to the mortgage button. Some legends say that the actual mortgage papers were ceremoniously burned and the ashes stashed inside the drilled hole before sealed with the button. However, as appealing a thought as that might be, it is most likely a myth. There’s never been any evidence of ashes or even hidden mortgages found in salvaged newel posts. Still, mortgage buttons are common among Nantucket homes, and the tradition has spread to other parts of the country. In southern states, for example, they’re called brag buttons. Whether myth or truth, today it’s more a matter of a charming nostalgic custom than a nod to your healthy (or…not so healthy) net worth.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, November 4

Just the Write Escape, November 4

Texas Book-aholic, November 5

Godly Book Reviews, November 5

Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 6

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6

Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Among the Reads, November 8

Blossoms and Blessings, November 8

Blogging With Carol, November 9

A Baker’s Perspective, November 9

Mary Hake, November 10

Connies history classroom, November 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11

Carpe Diem, November 11

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 12

Simple Harvest Reads, November 12

Inspiration Clothesline, November 13

Janices book reviews, November 13

Captive Dreams, November 14

Bigreadersite, November 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 15

By The Book, November 15

Pause for Tales, November 16

Book by Book, November 16

Have A Wonderful Day, November 17

Bibliophile Reviews, November 17

 

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d773/the-light-before-day-celebration-tour-giveaway

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My Review

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s newest book, The Return, centers around the Amish in Beacon Hollow, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1763 and is inspired by real events.

Betsy Zook and her little brother Johnny are captured by Indians and forced to march on a long, arduous journey, only to be separated at the end.

Ms. Fisher draws you into the story and doesn’t let you go. Even after the story is over, you relive the events.

I greatly enjoyed this story. The extensive research was very evident, and the story heart-rending and spellbinding. However, there were a few scenes (due to PTSD) that were deeply disturbing. Nonetheless, they were authentic to the circumstances. This is not your typical Amish tale. Intrigue, heartache, betrayal and revenge factor into the account along with redemption, forgiveness, love and hope.

The Return is book three of the Amish Beginnings by Suzanne Woods Fisher. However, I have not read the other two books, and I seriously doubt I would love Betsy or enjoy the book more had I read the other two stories first.

If you are looking for a fascinating story of early America with Amish as the protagonists, you need look no further.

I received this book from LibraryThing. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans, but then she never had to. Not until the night when she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. During her captivity, Betsy faces brutality and hardship, but also unexpected kindness. She draws strength from native Caleb, who encourages her to find God in all circumstances. She finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the intense new feelings this compelling man awakens within her.

Handsome and complex, Hans is greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity and turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. Eagerly, Tessa responds, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. When Betsy is finally restored to the Amish, have things gone too far between Hans and Tessa?

Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.

Monday’s Mention

cropped-amish-values1.png

When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you’ll discover how to

slow down
safeguard family time
raise children who stand strong in their faith
prioritize what’s truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy–without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a gem with Amish Values for Your Family. The book is divided into four sections:

Section One:   Children Are Loved but Not Adored

Section Two:   Great Expectations

Section Three: Daily Bread

Section Four:   Letting Go

Plus an Introduction and Epilogue. Each section has 9 or 10 short stories that begin with an Amish Proverb, followed by a true story illustrating the chosen value, a section called, Road Map: Getting There From Here, and ending with an anecdote entitled, In their own words.

The format makes it easy to read a story or multiple stories quickly or like a devotional you take time to savor. Even though the book can be read quite quickly, you will want to slow down and absorb all the truths presented.

The stories are sure to stir your heart and leave you wanting to adapt and implement many of the values illustrated into your own life and that of your family’s also. As Suzanne says, “. . . there is much we can learn from these gentle people about raising our families well: to help prioritize what’s truly important, to simplify decision making, to slow down as a family, to safeguard time together, and when age-appropriate, to let go.”

A sweet and endearing look at the Amish with practical lessons we can all learn from, Amish Values for Your Family will remain a book you will not easily forget and are sure to refer to over and over.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Choice

February 10, 2012

Suzanne Woods Fisher’s first book in the Lancaster County Secrets, The Choice, is a very enjoyable read.

The story centers around Carrie Weaver, an Amish girl, who through a series of unforeseen circumstances is unable to marry her true love, Sol Riehl. She settles instead for a marriage of convenience to Daniel Miller.

Carrie’s marriage to Daniel is short-lived, however, when he’s killed by an Englisher in an accident involving his buggy and a car. Carrie pulls her life together and carries on amidst numerous difficulties and hardships, comforted by her faith in God and best friend, Mattie Zook.  

The Choice does not follow the normal formulaic story of most Amish books.  Multiple plots and storylines keep you on your toes wondering what’s going to happen next.

A masterful blending of heartache, forgiveness and real life, The Choice leaves you eagerly anticipating the rest of the series and wanting to know more about everyone’s lives.

This is one of many books on my Kindle. I will be reviewing others in days to come.