By Katheryn Cushman
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She's overwhelmed and burned out, and in today's unrelenting society, her kids are, too. When her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series promoting simple living, and needs another family to join her, it seems like the perfect opportunity. The location is an idyllic farm outside an Amish community in Tennessee. Julie, with her two children, joins Susan and her teenage daughter for a summer adventure. Susan needs to succeed in order to become self-sufficient after an ugly divorce, Julie needs to slow down long enough to remember what her priorities are and regain a sense of purpose and meaning. It becomes clear from the start that "living simple" is no simple matter. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. With each new challenge, their season of "going Amish" gets more and more complicated, as each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.
Julie Charlton agrees to help her sister-in-law with a new idea for a T.V. reality show called "Almost Amish". The deal is they have to live like the Amish for 3 months with a few modifications to the pure Amish life style.
Julie agrees to do this for two reasons, one she can't say no to her sister-in-law and two she has come to hate her life! Something needed to change - she needed a new perspective, maybe this three month get away would do the trick. Little did Julie and Susan realize how much their world would be rocked through this experience as their families try to live an Amish life style 24/7, oh the added bonus it would be filmed for national T.V.
“Julie and Susan quickly realize that the "simple" life takes a lot of work and determination - why did people call it simple? It was anything but that! Just making coffee in the morning was a major production!”
Susan tells Julie, "Living simply for a few months will give us a chance to de-stress and think about what it is that's really important to us."
Susan is a Martha Steward wannabe - doing this correctly will give her the big break she's been looking for. Susan faces each weeks challenge with this in mind. But what Susan and Julie soon learn is something new about themselves and their family members. Each discovers a part of themselves they never knew existed or they had the talent for.
The family has no distractions or interruptions such as cell phones, T.V. Radio etc. They are forced to be creative with their spar time, which forces them to talk about things they never had time to do before. Julie realizes she doesn't want to go back to the life she left behind. Her family has discovered something incredible and they didn't want to loose it. Julie feared jumping back into the rat race would spoil everything. They had found fun as a family and they reconnected with their faith in God they left behind years ago. Julie realized she needed His strength to have the courage to walk out what this new life back in the modern world.
This story was fun to read. I'm thankful for the review copy and how the author made the reader think about what's important. She challenged them to take a look at life through the eyes of the characters and ask themselves what is really important in life. How do we keep the main thing the main focus of our lives and that of our family?
If you’re looking for something different and fun for your summer read look no further! This book will bring a smile to your face and having you look at family in a new light!! Happy Reading!
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
Almost Amish is about a woman named Julie Charlton. Although she is a stay at home mom of two children, Whitney and Brian, she finds herself constantly on the go, and over committed. When her sister-in-law, Susan, is offered the chance to participate in a reality TV series where regular people try to live like the Amish, she decides to offer her support and join her. Though Susan is overbearing in her drive for perfection due to being in front of the TV camerasJulie finds that living the “simple” hard-working Amish life suits her well.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to watch how most Julie and her children, as well as Susan’s daughter, Angie, thrived in the Amish environment, while Susan, the “perfect” homemaker, struggled with it. The part I really liked was how well the children adjusted to it. They found there were other things to do rather than being on their phones all the time, or running from this event to that event. Though I know the Amish work very hard, I can see how it would be a very fulfilling lifestyle, working hard in the home, the way I think the Lord intended it, though I know it’s not always possible in this day and age. This was a very enjoyable read.
Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers