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?
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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.
Anything but Plain by Suzanne Woods Fisher is a special Amish tale. I thought the story was well-written with realistic, developed characters. I liked returning to Stoney Ridge with its familiar characters (can be read as a standalone). There are some amusing characters. I would put Hank near the top of the list. I can just imagine him with his loud voice (he always shouts). Lydie Stoltzfus is a great character. She is lighthearted, lively, and scattered. Lydie has trouble staying focused and following through on things (starts one project and then goes off to another, leaving cupboard doors open, always late). Lydie feels like a round peg being pushed into a square hole. I thought the author did a wonderful job at showing how ADHD can affect a person's life. I can tell the author did her research on ADHD. It was interesting learning about the techniques that can help people with ADHD (something besides medication).
I loved the humor scattered throughout the story. Lydie’s grandmother is a force of nature. People would rather flee their home than deal with her. I enjoyed learning about organic farming and the different types of produce. There were some varieties that I had never heard of before. I like that the author showed how pesticides can affect people (an example is individuals with asthma). The romance progressed slowly which suited the story. There are a couple of different storylines in the book involving various characters in Stoney Ridge. It makes for a more engaging book. The ending left me with a smile on my face. I appreciated that there was a cast of characters at the beginning of the book. Anything but Plain was an entertaining story. I hope this is not our last visit to Stoney Ridge. Anything but Plain is a diverting tale with a speedy scooter, an undulating pasture, a meddling Mammi, a fleeing family, missing magazine pages, a big blast, and a surefire solution.
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 here to enter. Good Luck!
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