In Irvin’s enjoyable third Every Amish Season novel (after Beneath the Summer Sun), widow Mary Katherine Ropp faces pressure from her 10 children to move out of her large house and into a “dawdy haus” (an Amish retirement home) as other grandparents do. But Mary Katherine has plans of her own: even though she knows it’s a sign of “pride and vanity, twin sins,” she has writerly aspirations and wants to start a bookstore with her English friend, Dottie.
When a hungry itinerant man appears in her house, spirited Mary Katherine takes him under her wing for the simple reasons that he is curious about the Amish and has “a way of talking that was delightful.” While the community attempts to make her work in an Amish store, her lack of submissiveness draws the censure of the “fierce threesome”—the bishop, the deacon, the minister—and her disapproving eldest son, Thomas. However, Mary Katherine is not cowed, and, along with widower Ezekiel Miller, she embarks on a second rumspringa. Irvin’s fun story is simple (like Mary Katherine, who finds “every day is a blessing and an adventure”) but very satisfying. (Aug.)