Thursday, June 14, 2012

Temptation (Temptation #1) by Karen Ann Hopkins

When I found this book through NetGalley, I had to read it.  You really don't see many Amish fiction books geared for the YA audience.  It's also set near Cincinnati, which isn't a part of Ohio that I associate with an Amish community.  It was intriguing to me on a couple of levels, really.  I live on the edges of what most people call "Amish Country" in Ohio.  I see Amish people going about their business almost daily and I interact with them fairly often at the weekly area farmers markets where I buy their eggs, bread and produce.  Most of them are friendly and kind.  They really aren't what most people expect when they think of Amish people.  I've never met one that even owned more than one dog, let alone ran a puppy mill.  I've never seen them lay a hand on their children.  In public they speak mainly English and they will give you a great deal on produce- not really the mark of the "swindlers" that some people think they are.  They even smell nicer than a lot of the English farmers in the area so that not bathing rumor is probably just that.  I think you really need to get to know a group of people before you try and pass judgement on them.  This story is about something that I have never actually seen for myself: an Amisher and an Englisher falling in love.  Most of the young people that I've met that marry outside the Amish community that they grew up in are young men who left the community and it's church to live a modern life.  They then marry English girls.  Most locals call these people "fence jumpers."  I've never known one of the girls to leave or seen anyone enter the community from the modern world.  This story focuses on just that.  A clashing of beliefs and worlds.  Here's the Goodreads blurb:

Your heart misleads you. That's what my friends and family say. But I love Noah. And he loves me. We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms. It should be ROSE & NOAH forever, easy. But it won't be. Because he's Amish. And I'm not.

This was an interesting and cute little story.  The one thing about the whole thing that ruined it for me is how unlikely a good resolution is.  There really is no answer.  The gap between an Englisher and an Amish person is huge.  This is going to be a series, it seems, so I really want to see how Ms. Hopkins tries to work through this situation.  It seems like to have any kind of chance, one of them will have to give up everything that they've ever known.  How can that be a good basis for a relationship where one person gives everything and the other doesn't?  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the story, the ending just left me ... empty.  Wanting more, I guess.  But as I said, this appears to be a series so we should get more in the next book.  The characters were fun and interesting.  Noah reminds me of the boys that I see at market every week.  Most of them are a bit shy and I honestly think the only reason they'll even talk to me is because they have to to sell their vegetables.  Once they get to know you though, they can be very friendly.  Noah has that feel to him but I think he's a little atypical in that he is a bit more outgoing with Rose than most Amish boys would be.  Rose is interesting because she's a equestrian and a dancer.  The love of horses is something that she has in common with Noah but the dancing would be at odds with his faith.  The supporting characters are also interesting.  Noah's parents could be easily made out to be the villains of this story but they aren't really.  Like real Amish parents, they just want to keep their children safe and see them grow up to be successful.  They just feel that to do that, they need to grow up and live in the environment that they believe will facilitate that.  Rose's brothers are interesting because it seems like her younger brother has a better understanding of her than her older brother.  Her father is a doctor and starts out sounding like a likable educated man but he's not free of prejudices either.  He feels that the Amish way of life is awful and misogynist and so on.  How things look to outsiders is never really how it looks to those on the inside, I think.  I really feel that the woman love their place in Amish society for the most part.  So, much like on Sister Wives on TLC, the question becomes this: if the people being "mistreated" or "subjugated" don't feel that they are- is it really any of our business to judge them?  It's a sticky question for sure.  I really hope that you'll give Temptation a try even if you don't usually enjoy Amish romances.  It's an interesting read for sure.

You can find Temptation on Goodreads by clicking here.  Temptation earns 3 Fairies for being an interesting and though provoking romantic read.


Lark Andrea said...

I thought this was also a really good read and it brought up some intriguing elements to ponder.

Megan said...

Agreed!! Great Minds think alike! ;)