Emma Stolzfus has never been courted or kissed, despite a few dates during her rumspringe years that never amounted to anything. Now thirty years old, it has become her place as the youngest unmarried daughter to look after her 78-year-old mother, living with her in the little house on the family farm now run by her bossy sister Karen and her husband John.
Emma may live a quiet life in the physical world but in the world of her mind she’s very active. In the dark hours when her mother is asleep, Emma hauls out her ancient Smith-Corona manual typewriter and writes – letters and essays to Amish periodicals, short stories, even a novel she’s been working on in fits and snatches of time for the last five years. While her best friends Amelia Beiler – soon to be Fisher – and Carrie Miller know she writes letters to the editor, they have no idea about her fiction.
Tyler West, an editor at a New York publishing house, takes an interest in Emma’s novel. Secretly, she goes to meet him and he shows her the city and ultimately offers her a book deal. It is the first time a man has taken an interest in her and beyond that he wants to publish her novel. Emma suddenly finds herself torn between her Amish faith and the lure of all the English world offers her.