Murder, Plain and Simple


First in a new series!

When Angela Braddock inherits her late aunt’s beautiful Amish quilt shop, she leaves behind her career and broken engagement for a fresh start in Holmes County, Ohio.

With her snazzy cowboy boots and her ornithophobic French bulldog, Angie doesn’t exactly fit in with the predominantly Amish community in Rolling Brook, but her aunt’s quilting circle tries to make her feel welcome as she prepares for the reopening of Running Stitch.

On the big day, Angie gets a taste of success as the locals and Englisch tourists browse the store’s wares while the quilters stitch away. But when Angie finds the body of ornery Amish woodworker Joseph in her storeroom the next morning, everything starts falling apart.

With evidence mounting against her, Angie is determined to find the culprit before the local sheriff can arrest her. Rolling Brook always appeared to be a simple place, but the closer Angie gets to the killer, the more she realizes that nothing in the small Amish community is as plain as it seems....

Series: Amish Quilt Shop Mysteries


Angela Braddock flees Texas for Holmes County, Ohio to take over an Amish quilt shop she inherited from her aunt. It’s not only a new job for Angie, but a whole new way of life. Just when Angie starts to settle in and feel at home, she discovers a body in her shop’s storeroom. Now Angie must prove she had nothing to do with this murder as well as decide if she wants to make a go of running a shop in this small town. She doesn’t really want to return to Texas, but she isn’t sure she can fit into the small town of Rolling Brook, especially with the suspicion of murder clouding her reputation.

I usually enjoy Amish stories, but I have mixed feelings about this one. I don’t like it when books about the Amish go overboard idealizing the Amish characters so much they look like saints instead of human beings. However, this book does the opposite and a few of the Amish characters are downright hostile toward Angie and other characters. Many of the actions of the Amish women don’t seem realistic for an average person, so they are especially unbelievable for a devout Amish woman.  I didn’t change my feelings about the overabundance of unlikeable characters in the book, but luckily as the story goes on, Angie meets a few nice people who provide a balance to some of her more unpleasant acquaintances. It’s more believable and makes the book more fun to read.

One of the positive things about the book is the premise of a young woman inheriting a shop in Amish Country and starting a new life. I find that interesting, as is the idea of struggling to fit into a small time to be realistic. I started enjoying the book more about half way through. The search for the murderer kept my interest and was helpful in making up for the disagreeable characters populating the town. I liked Angie from the beginning, but I wish she would have shown more of the spark throughout the book that she showed at the beginning when she puts on her special cowboy boots and feels ready to conquer the world. Instead, she is bullied by her mom, walked on, gossiped about, and insulted by many of the Amish in the town. By the end of the book, Angie has a more clear idea of who her real friends are, so maybe that will give her the confidence she needs to deal with her rivals with her head held high and her boots firmly on her feet. Isabella Alan is a good writer.  I have read other books by the author under the name “Amanda Flower” that are excellent. If Angie’s character shows more spunk and some of the supporting characters become less judgmental and hostile, this series could be very good. I’m not a quilter, but for those readers who are, there are quilting tips at the back of the book. Fans of Laura Bradford or Elizabeth Craig may enjoy this book.

Reviewed by Christine K.