When Savannah Mast's fiance dumps her a week before their wedding, she flees California for the safety of her Amish grandmother's farm near Nappanee, Indiana. She's not planning on staying long but becomes unexpectedly entangled in the search for a missing Amish girl. She can't leave--especially not when her childhood friend Tommy Miller is implicated as a suspect.
When Savannah accompanies her grandmother to Plain Patterns, a nearby quilt shop, the owner and local historian, Jane Berger, relates a tale about another woman's disappearance back in the 1800s that has curious echoes to today.
Inspired by the story, Savannah does all she can to find the Amish girl and clear Tommy's name. But when her former fiance shows up, begging her to return to California and marry him after all, she must choose between accepting the security of what he has to offer or continuing the complicated legacy of her family's faith.
In the charming but underdeveloped first installment to the Plain Patterns series, Gould (Courting Cate) pairs the story of Savannah Mast, the child of a farmer who left the Amish faith years ago, as she is reintroduced to Amish life with that of a pioneer woman. Savannah's only exposure to the Plain way of life was summer visits to her grandmother in Nappanee, Ind., when she was younger. But when Savannah's fianc calls off their wedding, Savannah retreats to her grandmother's home. Soon after she arrives, a young Amish girl disappears, and Savannah's childhood friend, Tommy Miller, becomes the prime suspect. A sheriff with a vendetta and no clear evidence seems set on convicting Tommy, and Savannah quietly tries to help Tommy clear his name. While attending a quilting bee with her grandmother, Savannah strikes up a conversation with the store's proprietor and learns the story of Emma, an early Amish pioneer. Gould flips back and forth between Savannah and Emma's narratives, but the connection between them is thin. While Savannah and Tommy's quest to solve the disappearance gets the most focus, Emma's story is more engaging, revealing much of Indiana's early years of Indian resettlement and Amish movement into the Midwest. While Gould's uneven execution mars the intriguing set-up, this wholesome time-swap tale will appeal to readers of Beverly Lewis.