Thus begins Kathryn Cushmans new novel, Almost Amish.
Julie, the baker of the drooping cupcakes, is a burnt out mom who is struggling to be all things to all people, and is--in her own eyes--a failure.
Her sister-in-law, Susan, on the other hand is practically Wonder Woman and Super Mom put together. When Susan is offered a reality show (along with her 17 year old daughter, Angie); she invites Julie and her two children, Whitney, 16 and Brian-- the junior high genius, to be the other family in the cast.
Feeling every bit the middle aged, haggard, mom, Julie jumps at the chance to get off the treadmill of imperfection that is her life, to partner with the impeccable Susan for a summer of Almost Amish fun...or at least some respite from her cell phone and endless summer activities.
The tasks and challenges of the show kept me engaged, along with some great characters, like Kendra, the producer, and Gary, the hired handyman with a soft spot for Susan-- who is newly divorced. (All that perfection couldn't keep her husband from straying...)
Cushman throws in plenty of surprises both for her characters and her readers. It was like watching a reality show within the reality show of the book. (If that makes any sense...)
All in all, it was a wonderful, thought provoking, and really creative read. It got me thinking... Wouldn't it be fun?
Have you ever wanted to be part of a reality show?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Her first two manuscripts remain firmly ensconced in the back of her closet (the dust bunnies tell her they really are terrific!). Her third attempt became her first published novel.
A Promise to Remember and Leaving Yesterday were both finalists for the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award, and Waiting for Daybreak was a finalist in Women’s Fiction for the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award.
On the homefront, she has been married to the wonderful and handsome Lee for nearly twenty-five years now, and their two daughters are currently braving the worlds of high school and college.
They’ve lived in Santa Barbara for over twenty years. It’s a beautiful place and Kathryn feel blessed to be there (although a seventy degree Christmas still leaves her dreaming of a white one—or at least a colder one!)
When she's not writing or reading or braving seventy degree holidays, you’ll find her trying her best to keep up with her daughters in their various theater, softball, dance, and filled-with-activity lives.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Overcommitted and overwhelmed, Julie Charlton is at the breaking point. She knows she should feel blessed as a mother and wife--but she just feels exhausted. And then, the miraculous happens. Her sister-in-law Susan, a Martha Stewart-in-training, lands the chance to participate in a reality TV series about trying to live like the Amish and needs another family to join her. It's just the break Julie needs.
But the summer adventure in simple living soon proves anything but simple. With the camera watching every move, Susan's drive for perfection feels a lot like what they left behind, while Julie suddenly finds herself needing to stand up for slowing down. Whether it's cooking, cleaning, or dressing differently, each new Amish challenge raises new complications...and soon each woman learns unexpected lessons about herself and her family.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Almost Amish, go HERE.