Sallie Riehl was born in Paradise Township, Pennsylvania, deep in Amish country. As a wee girl, her Mamm said she had "itchy feet." Sallie realizes she isn’t settling into Amish life as easily as the rest of her nine siblings, and her parents worry she’ll end up leaving or remaining a Maidel—unmarried.
Sallie reassures her Mamm that she loves being Amish. She doesn’t mind hard work, especially when she and her sisters rub elbows and chat while churning ice cream, putting up jams and jellies, and hanging out the laundry. She doesn’t long to be “fancy,” but the predictability of life in Paradise Township weighs on her.
When Sallie is hired as a summer nanny for a well-to-do family with a beach home in beautiful Cape May, she sees the ocean for the first time and lives in the family guest house by the shore. Through caring for young Autumn, a ten-year-old who is having difficulty accepting her baby brother, Sallie gains a glimpse of a very different world, one much more complex than she has ever known. In time, she meets Kevin, a young naturalist who, like Sallie, loves the ocean and who has family ties to the Mennonite community. The two become close, but Sallie vows not to "get in over her head."
At summer’s end, Sallie will have to return to Paradise Township and family, but her desire to explore her own path into God’s great kingdom and her affection for Kevin begin to pull her in the opposite direction.
As the number one name in Amish fiction, author Beverly Lewis could rest on her laurels. Instead, The Ebb Tide delivers a lovely and believable heroine, a glorious beach setting and serious life-choices against an uplifting backdrop of family warmth and faith. This coming of age story provides a pleasant respite for readers, both plain and fancy.