A Review: The Plain Fame Trilogy by Sarah Price

Plain Fame Plain Change Plain Again

This is a joint review of the trilogy itself so if you haven’t read the books, be warned that there will be (unavoidably) some spoilers below.

Plain Fame

Amanda Beiler is a young Amish woman traveling back to Pennsylvania from a visit in Ohio. Alejandro Diaz is a famous Cuban singer living the life in the limelight of the international media. Their worlds collide on the streets of Manhattan when an accident that brings them together and, despite their efforts, will not let them be apart. What happens when that bridge is crossed between two very conflicting worlds and two extremely different cultures?

The first instalment in the Plain Fame series presents us with innocent Amanda Beiler, who has lived a Plain life without much interest in changing that.  At least that’s how she is painted in the first book.  She has quietly accepted her lot in life so when she meets Alejandro, she does not know what to make of him.  In anyone else’s hands, Alejandro’s desire to escort Amanda back to the farm after being hit by his limousine would have come across as purely selfish.  In Price’s hands though, the reader loves Alejandro and believes the best of him.  As a reader, I was a little jolted by the final conversation between Amanda and her parent’s when she is about to leave with Alejandro.  At no time previously did it appear that Amanda had unresolved deep-seated issues with her parents so it was a bit of a shock to hear Amanda claim that her parents blamed her for her brother’s death.  It seemed to come out of nowhere.  That being said, this first book is not overly complicated and the reader is engaged quickly in the love story that is unfolding before her eyes.

Plain Change

Book 2 of 3 in the Series

After being forced to leave the farm, Amanda Beiler, a young Amish woman from Lititz, Pennsylvania finds herself immersed into the world of Alejandro Diaz, a famous Cuban singer living the life in the limelight of international media. As she travels with Alejandro, she begins to see more of the world and, despite the apparent differences, also recognizes that their lives are more similar than she thought. What happens when that bridge is finally crossed between two very conflicting worlds and two extremely different cultures?

The second instalment presents us with an altered perception of Amanda Beiler, which is surprising.  It is not often that an author attempts to flesh out main characters by re-telling the narrative that the reader has already accepted.  In the first book, Amanda is presented as an innocent Plain girl, who by chance becomes entangled with Alejandro.  In the second book, Price provides the reader with snap shots of Amanda’s memories, growing up Plain.  The reader is forced to re-examine their characterisation of her and comes to realise that Amanda did not necessarily simply accept her Plain life before.  She always had questions and hidden frustrations that she is only now addressing.  Alejandro begins this second instalment by simply trying to protect Amanda long enough to get her back to her Plain roots, should she choose to return.  I had a slight problem with the fact that sheltered Amanda seemed to have no qualms living with Alejandro and appeared to give very little thought to how it would look to her community.  In my opinion, her ability to choose to return to the community became non-existent the minute she left with Alejandro, although I’m prepared to admit that I could be wrong on that front.  It just seemed a little difficult to swallow that the community would allow her back into the fold without questioning her virtue, after she’d spent time living with an unmarried man, unchaperoned.  It also felt a little odd that Amanda didn’t miss having her parents and sister at her wedding.  I would have also enjoyed seeing Anna in some of those snap shot flashbacks.  Regardless of these small criticisms, I enjoyed the book and genuinely felt swept up into a fantasy world, where true love conquers all.

Plain Again

Book 3 of 3 in the Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Plain Fame Trilogy

Only weeks after being married, Amanda is back at her parents’ farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to tend to her ailing father while Alejandro is back on the road performing for his adoring fans. How will time and distance impact their relationship? Will the demands of his fans overshadow his love for Amanda? And how will the Amish community react to Amanda’s presence (along with the return of the paparazzi) in their community?

Plain Change (Book 2) set up the final drama found in this third instalment by hinting at interference by Mike, Alejandro’s manager, and the infamous Maria.  Naturally, all of the drama that was hinted at then took centre stage in the final book in the series.  I was frustrated by a couple of things though.  The reader found out in the first book that Alejandro fathered a child and appears to have financially met all of his obligations.  The whole way through this series the reader is told again and again how much of a family man Alejandro is.  So my expectation was that, through knowing Amanda and loving her, Alejandro became a better man.  A better man would take his role as a father seriously.  When that didn’t happen, I was disappointed and it made Alejandro seem less of a man to me.  Also, when the reader finally meets Anna, she seems to be a capable, responsible woman.  As a result, it doesn’t quite make sense to me that Amanda felt like she had to do it all: remain on the farm, keep it running and take care of her father once Anna and her husband arrived.  Anna was stronger than I expected her to be, having been told about her earlier depression, so I agreed completely with Alejandro and thought that Amanda’s trip back to Lititz was unnecessary.  My final criticism was that Anna (in my opinion) made a good point to Amanda about the place of God in her life and yet, this was never addressed.  As soon as Alejandro and Amanda were reunited, it was forgotten.  I would have liked some attention to how Amanda was going to handle her relationship with God, her Plain roots and her future with Alejandro going forward.  I felt that she was heading towards a realisation that she needed to take charge of certain aspects of her life, rather than simply holding Alejandro’s hand as he led her down his path for his life.  So, in summary, I enjoyed the series – truly, I did.  My criticisms aside the love story itself was a total escape for me from reality, which I loved.  It felt like I stepped into another world where true love is real and conquers all.

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