Some things just don’t go together. They might be quite wonderful separately, but when they come together, it just doesn’t work. Things like ketchup and donuts. Or skunks and dinner parties. After reading Plain Fear: Forgiven by Leanna Ellis I am utterly convinced that the Amish and vampires should never, ever be put together either.
First the cover art of this novel is quite well done. It shows that there is malevolence about the farms of the Plain Folk. And what evil it is. Since this is the third novel of the Plain Fear series, it is necessary to do a little backtracking to get with the plot of Forgiven. Samuel Fisher is the younger brother of Jacob. He killed his brother and he is second-guessing himself. Yes, his brother had turned into an unholy creature, but Samuel is finding it hard to overcome his guilt. He begins to question his Amish faith and lose faith in his family. Previously forbidden things like motorcycles, the occult, and women are his new normal. He begins a relationship with an English (non-Amish) girl, Andi, which is well into the territory of fornication.
When his brother, Levi, takes a fall and breaks some ribs, Samuel agrees to go help him on the farm in Pennsylvania. While there, Samuel is reunited with former friends and allies: a priest, a band of vampire hunters, and an innocent Amish girl, Naomi. He is taken into training, even as his brother, Jacob, tries to help him battle evil from beyond the grave.
To say this book is strange would be an understatement. As a person who has read Christian fiction, I could tell that the author of this book had more than a passing understanding of the Christian faith. (Indeed, Ellis has written several Christian fiction titles.) To me, this book read like a Christian fiction book about vampires. There were quoted Bible verses, many of which are not commonly known to non-Christians. As well, there are many examples of prayer and reliance on God. The melding of the vampires and this world was clunky at best, and I found myself wanting to read about the peaceful life of the Amish on the farm, rather than the promised coming vampire apocalypse.
The ultimate villain in this book is a young female vampire named Jezebel (Biblical allusion, anyone?) and she rallies her forces to take down the vampire hunters. The confrontations were a bit graphic and I found the climax to be underwhelming. It was over before I knew it. I knew that Samuel would ultimately make a responsible choice for his future, and the story ends with most of the good guys finding peace and resolution.
If you have not read the first two books in this series, I don’t think you should start with this third one. But, if peculiar combinations are your cuppa, you might want to read the Plain Fear series.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina