Their Pretend Amish Courtship
By Patricia Davids
Love Inspired/Harlequin, 2017
It seemed like such a brilliantly inspired idea which would help them both, but the best-laid plans can go wildly astray, as Fannie Erb and her childhood friend Noah Bowman find out all too quickly.
Fannie is a dedicated and talented horsewoman, determined to help her Englisch friend Connie save her horse-breeding and training business from potential ruin. Her parents want her to settle down and get married; they feel the only way she will find a suitable husband will be to go outside her church area to visit her grandparents in Florida.
Fannie is appalled by the idea and approaches her old friend Noah to ask him to agree to a fake courtship which will convince their families to leave them in peace to pursue their apparent courtship. Fannie could then continue to help Connie with her horses and Noah could pursue his dream of competing in baseball tournaments without being hounded by his parents to give up his worldly pursuit in favour of settling down with a nice Amish girl.
Their plan was simple and fool-proof. Or so they thought, until it becomes obvious that a number of other people will be affected by their decision, and hearts will be broken and feelings hurt. Can such a deception ever lead to happiness? Will they be able to walk away from their faked relationship at the end of the allotted time, or will they each come to terms with truly seeking and following God's Will for their lives, no matter where or with whom that might be? Their childhood friendship and constant teasing of each other leads to misunderstandings and assumptions which need to be clarified and put right, and Fannie's faith is tested to the limit towards the end of the book when tragedy strikes and their plans fall apart at the seams.
This is a charming book with episodes which made me laugh out loud in several places. Both Fannie and Noah are real and lovable characters who grow throughout the story and I finished the book with a satisfied sigh.