Image of IN PLAIN VIEW (Valley of Choice)


Image of IN PLAIN VIEW (Valley of Choice)

Newport unwisely splits her considerable talents between two compelling but imbalanced stories set centuries apart: Annie’s unlikely embrace of Amish spirituality and her long-forgotten Amish forebears’ experiences in the American Revolution. Sadly, Annie’s fish-out-of-water tale, which would’ve made a fine novel by itself, suffers in comparison to the life-or-death crises faced by her ancestors, a family bitterly riven by loyalties divided among faith, king and the promise of liberty.

Former software mogul Annie Friesen looks forward to her future in a small Colorado town with Rufus Bieler, a dependable Amish carpenter. Annie’s struggle converting to the plain life is contrasted with the more emotionally gripping story of her many Amish ancestors — pacifists, soldiers and spies during the Revolution. The modern-day Amish community is intensely divided by whether to cooperate with their “English” neighbors in building a local park, but their genuine concerns seem trivial when compared to the colonial Amish settlers’ heroic struggle to remain true to (or abandon) their pacifist faith under threat of British and American reprisals. (Barbour, Jun., 368 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed by: 
Carolyn Martin