A unique plot delivers a satisfying read: My review of "Almost Amish" by Kathryn Cushman

Almost Amish: A Novel


Proving the Simple Life Isn't So Simple After All

Overcommitted and overwhelmed, Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She knows she should feel blessed as a mother and wife--but she just feels exhausted. And then, the miraculous happens. Her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series about trying to live like the Amish and needs another family to join her. It's just the break Julie needs.

But the summer adventure in simple living soon proves anything but simple. 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. Whether it's cooking, cleaning, or dressing differently, each new Amish challenge raises new complications... and soon each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.


Every so often I come across a book that has such a unique concept underlying the plot that I simply can't wait to read it. Almost Amish is such a book, as I absolutely love the idea of a reality TV series about living like the Amish, a plot I found myself imagining myself living within numerous times throughout the story. I found myself thinking about how I would respond if I had to suddenly learn to cook on a wood stove or wash clothes without electricity. Would I retain a spirit of gratitude or would I get grumpy? How would I get along with my family, with my children?

Kathryn Cushman is a skilled author who immerses the reader into the world of her characters with seeming ease and fills her story with deep emotions. Her characters are utterly realistic, which actually caused me to dislike Susan for much of the story with her perfectionist nature and her constant harping on the others to work harder and help Susan get the acclaim she sought. However, this made her moment of triumph later on in the story all the sweeter. I really liked the character of Julie, with her soft heart who was struggling to understand what gifts God had uniquely gifted her in. I left the story pondering my own gifts and my own calling in this world. Almost Amish is a powerful reminder of what really matters in this world, not running around and worrying about exterior things, but living a life that focuses on faith and family and learning to say no to the less important things in life. 

I strongly recommend this book, and give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


 Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. She is the author of five novels, including Leaving Yesterday and A Promise to Remember, which were both finalists for the Carol Award in Women's Fiction. She is also the co-author of Angel Song with Sheila Walsh. Kathryn and her family currently live in Santa Barbara, California. Visit her Web site at www.kathryncushman.com