My Amish Reality: A Kinder, Gentler World
When people learn that I write Amish inspirational romances, their first response is: “Like those reality shows on television?” Not quite. Have you ever see a reality show about the Amish that is either inspirational or romantic? Exactly.
Since authenticity is important to me, I find it surprising that Amish society, which does not allow photography, is now featured in high-def. One of the basic rules of Amish life is that Plain folk avoid being photographed, following the Bible’s disapproval of “graven images.” So how do Amish people have starring roles in these shows? I can’t explain the adults, but most of the young people on the shows – ages sixteen to twenty-two – are in their rumspringa, and are not yet bound by the rules of the church. Rumspringa is a period during which Amish parents traditionally look the other way while their kids get a little crazy in search of an Amish mate. The theory is that they’ll sew their wild oats, fall in love, and then become members of the church. Most Amish youth return to the fold, though a few make their way in the outside world.
When producer Jon Kroll began filming Amish in the City in 2004, there was an outcry that engaged a few members of Congress, who claimed that the show was disrespectful to the Amish. A summer hit, the show put urban, non-Amish youth together with Amish teens who were on the fence about joining their church. Kroll is proud of the show, which he believes revealed the Amish teens to be kind and considerate, in contrast to the rude, obnoxious English youth in the cast.
Watching the train wreck of Plain folk thrown into a world lacking in moral scruples can be an unsettling experience. Instead, I retreat to the Lancaster County town of Halfway, an animated, civil (if fictitious) world where Amish and English come together to help each other solve problems, find a sense of belonging, cherish family and make the world a better place. Of course, every book needs conflict, and the characters in my October release, A Simple Faith, are faced with a terrible tragedy as the van they are traveling in is involved in a deadly collision. Lives are changed by this sad event, and yet the people of Halfway provide the loving, respectful support that we all need to turn tragedy to transformation.
So, no, my books are not like those reality shows. I prefer to slip away to a kinder, gentler reality of Elsie, Ruben, Rachel and James in Halfway, Pennsylvania. The clip-clop of horses’ hooves, the smell of baking pie and the kindness of strangers – that’s my Amish reality.
Preorder A Simple Faith here.
Rosalind Lauer is the author of A Simple Winter, A Simple Spring, A Simple Autumn, A Simple Faith, and the novella A Simple Crossroads. She grew up in a large family in Maryland and began visiting Lancaster County’s Amish community as a child. Lauer attended Wagner College in New York City and worked as an editor for Simon & Schuster and Harlequin Books. She now lives with her family in Oregon, where she writes in the shade of some towering two-hundred-year-old Douglas fir trees.
“Bonnet Fiction” We Love
I don’t know about you, but lately I’ve been seeing “Amish” everywhere. Between the Amish hair-cutting attacks, and the new TLC mini-series Breaking Amish, the Christian Mennonite subgroup has been all over the media. Mainstream society seems to be fascinated. Similarly, in the romance world, Amish romance as a genre has been on the rise for a few years now, with no sign of stopping. Affectionately, we’ve dubbed it “Bonnet Fiction”.
Romance Reader – Stacey, ‘Oooh! Look What I Found!’ + Giveaway!
Gems from myTo- Be-Read Pile
By Stacey Agdern, blogger, bookseller, reader extraordinaire
Five books. Two anthologies. Two paranormal romances. One contemporary. One Amish romance. One historical. What do they have in common? Nothing really, except that they’re all gems from my ‘to-be- read’ pile.
We’re in the midst of a season that in it’s own way, places great importance on finding the hidden. From the importance of the Passover Afikoman, to the fun of Easter eggs and the beauty of the first crocuses, Spring is all about taking joy in what we find.
So too with a ‘to-be- read ‘pile. The great desire for spring cleaning coincides with the realization that your ‘to-be-read’ pile is, in reality, too big. And so you begin your search for the hidden., the gems without which your book buying cannot resume.
One of the first gems I came across was a historical by debut author Theresa Romain. ‘Season for Temptation’ was amazing, reminding me of all the reasons I love historical romance. I can promise that the second book in this series will not wait in the to be read pile.
There are certain series I prefer having multiple books in before beginning the first. Only authors whose books I know and love fall into this category, because there is nothing worse than discovering you own multiple books in a series you don’t like. Laura Anne Gilman hooked me as a reader with her magically flavored ‘Retrievers’ urban-fantasy-romance series. Her clear transition to first person prose and beautiful world building (enhancing a city we both live in) makes me an extremely happy devotee of her brand new PUPI series. The first book, ‘Hard Magic,’ is a fast paced urban fantasy with a narrator who is coming into her own in a world with ever-changing rules. And with two more installments on the tbr, I couldn’t be happier.
‘Wild and Steamy’ is a rather fabulous example of what happens when authors get together on their own and put together an anthology. Two novellas that continue series I adore– Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas and Carolyn Crane’s Disillusionists trilogy (of which I have a book in the tbr) and one novella that shows the steamier side of Jill Myles, an author I’ve read and loved before.
‘Seal of my Dreams’ is another example of what happens when authors get together, only this Anthology was for a wonderful cause. It features stories from authors I’ve read recently (Roxanne StClaire, Cindy Gerard, HelenKay Dimon, Stephanie Tyler), authors I’ve adored in the past, and am waiting with bated breath for a new story from(Tara Janzen, Gennita Low) and new authors I will certainly read more of (thankfully I have at least one Stephanie Bond title in the handy tbr).
I am notorious for my adoration of Amish romances. However, for obvious reasons, I’m very picky about my story-lines, which makes me just as picky about the authors I read. Thankfully Rosalind Lauer’s ‘A Simple Winter’ hit my sweet spot. Wonderful world building and lovely characters that let me enjoy the story for it’s own sake. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.
Have you dipped into your own tbr pile recently and found some really good books? Or do you even have a ‘to be read’ pile? Let me know, happy reading ,and I’ll see you next month!
Giveaway every week on R@R – 5 randomly chosen commenters could win — winners announced on Sunday – good luck!