For Sure and Certain by Anya Monroe

For Sure and Certain by Anya Monroe

5 out of 5 stars

She knits, cans jam, and lives in the city. He’s an Amish college student, breaking the rules. They’re so right, it’s wrong.

Marigold, a recent high school graduate with a shady past, is looking to redefine herself. She doesn’t know what she wants exactly, but college isn’t it.

When she meets Abel, an Amish guy on Rumspringa, his ‘running around’ time, she doesn’t plan on falling for someone wearing a straw hat and suspenders. But she can’t help it, Abel is the breath of fresh air she’s been waiting for.

Abel, who’s moved to the city for a summer program at Jamestown, never imagined Marigold would be drawn to the life he was trying so hard to avoid. His family expects him to take over the family farm; college parties and dorm life don’t quite fit in with their plans for him.

Opposites attract, but nothing is easy with love. When they trade places for the summer they learn a life together isn’t as for sure and certain as they thought.


My Review
I loved this story. The characters are fresh and original, the author’s voice is unique, and the tale is a sweet, winding one with several twists. Abel is an Amish boy on Rumspringa, accepted into an elite summer program at Jamestown. Marigold is a privileged teen who’s floundering in her quest to find herself. Yet these two click when they first meet, each seeing something rare and special in the other. But it’s not love at first sight. It’s more like intrigue upon first meeting.

The clash of cultures results in a lot of misunderstandings, and while this is a romance, it’s also a lot more. Both Abel and Marigold go through tremendous growth, making it read more like literary fiction. Even the writing style is very different than most contemporary romances, but it works here. It’s a formal style that still manages to remain youthful.

World Building
The author has done her homework, creating an authentic portrayal of the Amish community interwoven with contemporary college life both on and off campus. The slow-paced Amish lifestyle in humid Lancaster County without air conditioning is palpable, as are their mannerisms, ways of speaking, their daily lives. It’s all beautifully contrasted with the rush and craziness of life in D.C. It’s easy to see what Marigold and Abel see in one another’s worlds and that’s the true brilliance of Anya Monroe’s storytelling. We see both D.C. and Lancaster through the eyes of both characters–  the jaded views of the teen who grew up there, and the wide-eyed wonder of the one who didn’t.

The main plot is two-pronged. It’s about Marigold’s search for her identity and Abel’s search for where in the world he belongs. The romance is a very strong subplot, and at times it appears to be the main plot, but because what each seeks is their true selves more than anything else, I finally came to the conclusion that it’s not a typical romance. Marigold made a lot of mistakes in her past, searching for where she fit in — at school, in the world, and even within her own family. Always feeling like she never quite fit in at home, she regularly reinvents herself. Now that she finally feels comfortable in her own skin, Abel lands in her life with his Amishness and his dreams, making her question where she belongs.

Abel wants more than life on an Amish farm. Even though he didn’t graduate high school, he aced his SATs, granting him admittance to the Summer Intensive at Jamestown. He’s like a fish out of water with his foul-mouthed, pot-smoking roommate, but what he learns in the program fuels his desire for knowledge and excites him about business in a way he’s never felt before. And although he and Marigold come from two different worlds, they have so much in common, that it almost feels as if they can overcome anything to be together.

The author throws in several twists and the ending is not the one I saw coming, one full of emotion and heart.

All of the characters are really well done. Even secondary characters have their own complete arcs. Marigold and Abel are particularly well developed and through everything, they stay true to who they are, even though their growth is tremendous. No one comes across as two-dimensional or stereotypical.

Monroe’s writing is refreshing. Her style sets it apart from other young adult/new adult contemporary fiction.

The ending was a satisfying conclusion that wraps up all the loose ends, but in a way I didn’t anticipate

Top Five Things I Loved About For Sure and Certain
1. The Authenticity. The way the Amish culture is woven into the story proves the author has done her homework. She neither portrays it is idyllic nor faulty, only real, with good and bad, fitting the lifestyle needs of some, but not everyone.

2. Marigold’s Style. She alters and wears her great grandmother’s clothes, pairing them with leggings and boots in a fun and funky style that’s all her own.

3. Abel’s Straw Hat. Abel never turns his back on where he comes from in order to fit in. His straw hat is as much a part of him as “ja” and “’tis”.

4. Yarn. I love to knit, and reading about all the freshly died wool Marigold has to play with made my fingers itch to make something.

5. The Love Story. It’s a sweet take on two people from different worlds overcoming their differences, miscommunication, and misunderstandings in an unpredictable way.

Bottom Line
For Sure and Certain is a beautiful tale of finding yourself through trial and error and living for yourself and not to please others.

I was provided a copy of this book by the author. It does not affect my review in any way.


About the Book
Title: For Sure and Certain
Author: Anya Monroe
Publisher: The Lovely Messy
Release Date: February 5, 2015
Pages: 390
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links: GoodreadsAmazon


Author Anya Monroe

Author Anya Monroe

About the Author
Anya Monroe likes to write stories and paint words on her walls. She believes in love at first sight and fights for happily-ever-afters. As a wife and mom to six kids, she carves out time to write between carpool pick-ups and date nights because words are her heartbeat. She lives a ferry ride from Seattle and is a total Pacific Northwesterner who drinks chai lattes and wears Birkenstocks and has dreadlocks. She’s a cliché, but doesn’t mind it. Not even a little.

She documents her lovely-messy life on IG @anyamonroe. Find her there!

Where to find Anya Monroe
Goodreads Website | Instagram