Plain Roots


Taryn Clark has a good life in the city, after overcoming multiple tragedies. First her parents divorced, then her mother died. At age six she became one more child inside the foster-care system.  Years later, a mysterious note sends her to Pennsylvania and the heart of Amish country in search of her birth parents, and perhaps the family roots she has dreamed of having for so long. Soon Taryn is caught in a series of shocking discoveries, twisting surprises, increasing danger, and hidden family truths.

Enjoyable, emotional, and addictive page-turner are just a few words to describe Becki Willis’ “Plain Roots.” Ms. Willis expertly ratchets up the action—and emotion—as the story progresses. The drama is tight, so is the relentless mystery. The romance is light. At 94% through the story, Taryn and her romantic interest have only held hands and never kissed. Their relationship is built on genuine interest and slowly grows throughout the book. Each word is carefully selected to paint vivid pictures. A few errors hold this story back, including frequent confusing shifts in point of view—sometimes within a single paragraph—and misplaced commas, both of which distract from a smooth word flow. Still, readers will certainly root for Taryn to find her roots, get the guy, and find the place to belong that she has so yearned for.  This is a sweet book about forgiveness and family, neatly framed with a gritty mystery and pulse-pounding action!

Emerson Matthew