When I chatted with Suzanne Woods Fisher about her last book on Because Fiction Podcast, she mentioned her next Amish book and just listening to her talk about what she had planned reminded me again what I love about her Amish fiction.
Amish fiction isn’t my favorite, but when an author does it as well and as varied as Suzanne does, and when she also shows respect for the community without making them seem “quaint” or “a novelty,” well… why wouldn’t you love it? In fact, I’d say Suzanne Woods Fisher writes fabulous stories about real people… some of whom happen to live their faith in a unique way.
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Remember When ADHD Was So “New” No One Believed It Existed?
I was thirty-five when I saw a list of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms. I don’t know what other people think when they run across those kinds of lists, but my first thought was, “Wait. Everyone doesn’t do this?” Suddenly, so many things made sense.
In Anything but Plain, Suzanne Woods Fisher explores what ADD and ADHD would look like in a community where steadiness, purposefulness, and diligent attention to tasks is a way of living out faith. Poor Lydie just doesn’t understand that much of what she despises in herself is hardwired into her brain. She also can’t see that the things she thinks she needs to “fix” most are part of what Nathan Yoder loves most about her.
Mix up a father who only wants the best for his daughter (misguided as he is) and another father who only wants the best for his son (even more misguided and less sympathetic), and you’ve got a mess on your hands.
Can I just say that I love how while Suzanne Woods Fisher doesn’t idolize the Amish, neither does she grab onto unjust stereotypes and exploit them? I’m sick to death of the evil bishop trope, and here she shows a bishop who could be “the bad guy” but instead, is a loving father who just doesn’t understand. Ironic, isn’t it? How often do young people think their parents “just don’t understand” when those parents really do! (And it’s often why they are so determined to send their kids in another direction!) However, this father’s motives, deep down, are loving rather than solely self-serving, and I appreciated that.
Anything but Plain will capture your heart from the first page until the last–even if Amish Fiction isn’t your jam. Because this isn’t just genre fiction–it’s Christian fiction at its finest. Bravo, Ms. Fisher!
Anything but Plain is on tour with Celebrate Lit
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?
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.
The Avid Reader, October 7
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, October 7
She Lives To Read, October 8
The Write Escape, October 8
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 9
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 9
Vicky Sluiter, October 9
lakesidelivingsite, October 10
Texas Book-aholic, October 10
Lighthouse-Academy, October 11
Simple Harvest Reads, October 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, October 12
Inklings and notions, October 12
Southern Gal Loves to Read, October 12
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 14
Blogging With Carol, October 14
Elly Gilbert, October 14
deb’s Book Review, October 15
For Him and My Family, October 15
Holly’s Book Corner, October 15
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 16
Jeanette’s Thoughts, October 16
Splashes of Joy, October 16
Empowermoms, October 17
SusanLovesBooks, October 17
Mary Hake, October 17
Bigreadersite, October 18
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 18
Blossoms and Blessings, October 18
Cats in the Cradle Blog, October 19
Pause for Tales, October 19
Spoken from the Heart, October 19
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, October 20
Cover Lover Book Review, October 20
The Adventures of a Travelers Wife, October 20
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 the link below to enter.