Lilly Brandt was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she is running for her life—straight into a small, obscure Amish community in Southern Maryland. Now as Hannah Kurtz, she knows she won’t be staying in Cherry Hill long enough to form any attachments, but she hadn’t counted on meeting and being attracted to the kind, young man with the amazing blue eyes.
Jacob Beiler, a skilled young furniture maker, has made a vow of his own. After being jilted by the girl he trusted right before he was about to propose, he decides to focus strictly on honing his craft and guarding his heart from any future injury. When Hannah Kurtz enters his world, she drops into his mending heart as well. Against his better judgement, he allows himself to care again and to trust another woman.
When the Amish community discovers Hannah is not really Amish and that she is not even Hannah Kurtz, Jacob feels betrayed yet again. Will he be able to forgive Hannah’s necessary deception, or will he walk away from love forever?
First book in Plainly Maryland!
Plain Haven by Susan Lantz Simpson is the first book in the Plainly Maryland series. Lilly Brandt is out on her morning jog when she notices two men pulling a body out of truck. She ducks behind a tree and watches them dump the person. Unfortunately, one of the men sees Lilly and she is forced to run for her life. Lilly’s shirt advertises the library where she works as a children’s librarian. At the police station, Lilly is informed that the only way they can protect is for her to go away. Lilly becomes Hannah Kurtz, an Amish woman from Pennsylvania. Hannah will be staying with Rebecca and Samuel Hertzler and their four children in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. She will have to stay in the community until the police catch the men after her. It is a new world for Hannah without computers, cell phones, and modern appliances. She slowly adapts and enjoys the slower pace. Jake Beiler is a carpenter who is recovering from a broken heart. He has vowed not to fall in love again, but then he meets Hannah. The two are attracted to each from the moment they meet. Then Hannah’s secret is revealed and her new family and friends feel betrayed. But then Hannah is discovered by the villains and she is fighting for her life. To see how the story ends, get your copy of Plain Haven.
Plain Haven is well-written and an engaging story. I liked the characters and the setting of St. Mary’s County, Maryland. We get to see Lilly/Hannah adapt to life in an Amish community. It is like stepping back in time to when women cooked three meals a day (no microwave or take out), did laundry with wringer washing machines (they should be banned from existence), hanging clothes on the line to dry, growing vegetables, and using a horse and buggy for transportation. Lilly/Hannah finds a community of friends and family. I do wish the suspense element had been ramped up a little bit. It would have made for a more intriguing story. The romance portion needed to be toned down (just a little bit. It felt a little fake in the beginning). I am giving Plain Haven 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). The Christian themes of trusting in God, prayer and faith are prevalent throughout the book. Plain Haven is a lovely, heartwarming novel that captured and held my attention. I will be reading the next book in the Plainly Maryland series.