Their Pretend Amish Courtship: Patricia Davids
Sometimes in order to get what we want we have to create situations that push our agenda in the direction that we think best. Going to Florida to care for her grandmother was not what Fannie wanted in the present or even in the future. Riding horses, leading a special group of girls in a horse show was her goal but how was she supposed to do this when her mother and father wanted her to go to Florida and tend to her grandmother since at this time she was not being courted by anyone at all. Devising a plan that might benefit her goals she needed to find someone that would go along with her and not divulge her secret to anyone. Noah Bowman seemed like a likely candidate since he was handsome, single and their parents hoped for a match between them since they were born. But, how would she convince him to go along with what the author has created Their Pretend Amish Courtship? Fannie Erb does not want nor is she looking for a husband but someone to pretend courting her so that she could remain home and continue to practice with her riding group, help Connie Stroud who gave her this chance and hopefully convince her mother to let her sister Betsy take her place in Florida. But, first, she had to deal with Noah and that would not be an easy feat for either one of them as Fannie and Noah you will learn are like oil and water at first and definitely like a magnet where neither side is attracted to the other at first but wait until you see what happens as you join them on this humorous, heartfelt and wild journey.
Fannie and Noah agree that it would benefit them both if they pretended to be courting so that he could play baseball and possibly become part of a major league team if he chooses to remain English. Fannie wants to remain working for Connie and hope to showcase her horses in the upcoming Horse Show and add to Connie’s income by having more of her horses sold as a result of showing how amazing they are and what they could do for the English and the Amish. Strict rules are in place but every time Fannie and Noah get together they seem to relish in their insults, childish pranks and mannerisms and you wonder whether they will ever realize what is right in front of them. Telling their parents they were courting created elation and a positive air, as both wanted them married and felt it was time. However, his parents had their own backup plan in case it did not work. Their encounters at first left each one boiling and angry as Fannie is headstrong, does not often watch her words and you begin to realize that she has a lot of growing to do as does Noah who counteracts her insults with some of his own.
Meet her team called The Amish Girls who practice their ways but are allowed since they have not been baptized to ride and frolic but to a degree. Yet some things do not always go as planned when the rehearsals began and the music is played the Bishop intervenes and says so English music is allowed and that puts a damper on everything since Fannie and the girls have created an amazing program to show the features of these great horses. Pretend dating Noah pays off as the first thing the Bishop is not happy is that that there is no adult chaperone even though the girls are following their Amish ways he states that some will back out if not all if this is not corrected. Coming to the rescue is Noah whose brother Timmy and wife Lillian gladly volunteers for the job and seem to enjoy spending time with Fannie and the girls. One hurdle overcome as Noah now faces his toughest as his team is about to go into the finals and hopes to become league champions. But, his thoughts about Fannie distract him especially when they are at odds. Going to the Frolic where the entire community comes together is really special as they have several goals as what needs to be done and it is gratifying that everyone even the young children want to pitch in and help as her father takes the lead and encourages everyone no matter what their role or job.
Author Patricia Davids introduces readers to this Amish community teaching moral values, understanding, customs, family loyalties and what happens when betrayals and lies come to light and how these families cope with it. When Noah and Fannie ever do see eye to eye he suggests that the girls not only perform on their horses with saddles but how about using the same horses to create a routine with their buggies show the Amish how these horses can help them in their everyday lives and work. At first she was not sure but wait until you see all of them practice and how Susan a great rider and Zoe, Connie’s daughter take the reins and soar to the top.
Things go fine for a while but when Betsy, Fannie’s sister calls her mother and breaks her engagement to Hiram they are disgraced, upset and insist after speaking with her that she rethinks her thoughts and reconsiders her decision as well as not seeing the young man who is not Amish anymore. Only time will tell whether this will work as Noah and Fannie draw closer and then apart not knowing as they say throughout the novel what God’s plan is for both of them and where he sees them in the future as another snag the music provides a new hurdle for the group and Fannie. Anger takes over and her abstinence rules as Fannie gets angry, mounts her horse Tinker and what happens changes everything in a split second. Added in the author relates the way young people court, seeing each other at group events and then allowed some private time. But, when the Bishop once again puts a snag in her role as head rider and the performance saying that the music is not allowed they come up with another way to circumvent that until one more thing happens that sets her off and the end result just might cost her more than she is willing to pay. The show is supposed to be televised and the Amish do not want the faces of the girls on television or their pictures taken along with the problem of the music sets her off on Tinker and an accident that could cost not only Fannie but Tinker too serious problems in both of their lives. What happens next will surprise readers as the injuries both encountered are serious and Noah comes to the hospital to see Fannie who sends him away and rebuffs him even though he sees what is right in front of him. The ending is quite heartfelt as both Noah and Fannie have come clean with their parents about their fake courtship but he wants to make it real and permanent but what about her? She is stubborn, immature, at times thoughtless and does not realize that God has a plan for her she just needs to take off the blinders. What happens at the end? Will the girls perform and if so how will the music problem be solved? What about Noah, Walter and his team will they go to the minors and then the majors? Life decisions are made and each one must find their own direction and what is right for them as Noah has to choose between Amish and English baseball and his great pitching arm and Fannie has to decide about riding, working with Connie and her horses and Noah. The ending will surprise readers and the final outcome you will have to learn for yourself when you decide whether there is any merit in their creating Their Pretend Amish Courtship!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine