Annie’s Recipe – Lots of Chaff
When I was given the opportunity to read Lisa Jones Baker’s latest novel, Annie’s Recipe, I was hopeful. I had read one of her Amish novellas earlier, and although it was not my favorite, I had high hopes that perhaps her next Amish endeavor would be better. Although there are a plethora of writers in the Amish genre, it is easy to separate the wheat from the chaff. Unfortunately, Annie’s Recipe looks to be more chaff.
I do not write this lightly. I want to be constructive in my review of this book. At the heart of the problem is that it appears the author has not done enough research on the Amish, and her writing, in general, could use some fine-tuning and editing.
Examples of Amish errors: A bridal party is overly concerned about having enough dishes and utensils (the weddings are well-planned and run like clockwork.) The characters were WAY too familiar with one another (especially since they had not seen each other in 10 years – Levi refers to Annie as “my Annie” almost right out of the gate.) Both Annie and Levi are anything but humble (a trademark in the Amish culture.) Levi boasts and Annie has no problem with it…what happened to gelassenheit? In the story, it was a surprise that Levi would be a volunteer firefighter (when the Amish, in real life, volunteer for the local fire departments all the time.) This is just a small sampling.
Examples of a need for more editing: Levi had ‘green flecks in his pupils (not his irises.) There was repeated internal and external dialogue – and by that I mean: A character would think something and then say the exact same thing. Much too repetitive. Word choice was also a problem. The characters were constantly putting their hands in the air, or drawing their hand to their chests, and pressing their lips together. I’m sure the thought was to create more “action” with these words, but it just did not happen. Most frustrating was that Annie giggled throughout – not just a couple of times, but at least 10 within the first third of the novel. It was frustrating because the character wasn’t a very comical character, and yet, with all of this giggling, it made the character seem like she was 12 instead of marrying age.
I was given Annie’s Recipe in exchange for my honest review. I had such high hopes, but was disappointed. Hopefully, Lisa Jones Baker will do more research on the Amish, and hone her craft a bit more, before writing another novel in the Amish genre.
Susan Ferrell and her husband make their home in the Atlanta Metro area. Although Susan struggles with chronic migraine headaches, she stays very busy as a stay-at-home mom to one very precocious little girl. While catching her breath, she feeds her Amishaholic tendencies by reading vast amounts of Amish literature!