What is Amish Romance?
Amish romance novels... have you heard of this genre? Sounds like something you'd like to read? Want to know more about it? Firstly, just the title sounds intriguing, right? There are many things Amish that piques our curiosity and we'll be willing to explore a little more. Add to that the word romance... it definitely has some allure. Well, you're not alone there, actually, Amish romance novels have been in the market (and are a huge success) since 1997 when the first novel was published.
Amish romance is a subgenre of Christian fiction, It features Amish characters, written and read mostly by Christian Evangelical women. These novels are not written by Amish people so they don't portray the Amish way of life perse but it's a genre that has fascinated readers and has been influential. Millions of readers enjoy Amish novels because they offer a view of a simple life (with glimpses of the Amish culture) and the entertainment they provide.
For those of you who are not familiar with Amish romance novels here are some facts of what you can expect if you choose to pick one and start reading:
They are more "Bonnet Rippers" than "Bodice Rippers"
Amish novels have acquired the nickname of "bonnet rippers", but don't you get the wrong idea. There is no actual bonnet ripping (out of passion that is) in these Amish romances. The bonnets get ripped due to frustration (it could be of the sexual sort too), but mostly they get ripped during a buggy crash (which happens quite a lot).
Amish romance is not written for Amish people
Yes, the novels are written about Amish people but they are not for Amish people and their writers are not Amish. The writers of Amish romance are Christian Evangelical women over the age of 50, they are published by Christians publishers and the marketing efforts are directed mainly to Evangelical book buyers. There are three top Amish romance writers: Beverly Lewis, Wanda Brunstetter and Cindy Woodsmall.
Amish romance novels are a multimillion dollar industry
Amish romance novels are an outstanding economic success, just in the US, they represent a big piece of the Christian publishing pie, which generates yearly $720. Quite impressive! Two of the Amish romance rockstars, Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter have sold, combined, more than 30 million books and that just keeps growing.
Amish romance became popular with Beverly Lewis' "The Shunning"
This novel published in 1997, written by Beverly Lewis is credited to be the one responsible for making Amish romance popular, Literature about the Amish have been around since the early '90s, but it wasn't until "The Shunning's appearance that it became the rage. Just this novel has sold over 1 million copies.
Amish principles are downplayed in Amish romances
Since they are not written by Amish writers and they catered to Christian Evangelical women of a certain age and beliefs and tenets, real-life Amish beliefs and tenets are part of the novel's stories. The traditional Amish principles, in the novels, are diminished or downplayed because they do not fit into the Evangelical worldview, they are not part of the main plot points.
Almos every plot includes a Buggy crash
Amish romance writers need to be creative to find ways so that their protagonists get thrown together or get a twist in the stories. With not a one sex scene in the story, they have turned to buggy crashes and they seem to accomplish the goal. Buggy accidents are staples in Amish romances, that's how the two chaste lovers get jostle so their bodies can make contact or they are used to create some drama so the protagonists can solve a daunting but not insurmountable problem together.
Most characters in the Amish romances are "good"
You won't find something in the likes of Breaking Amish in the Amish novels. Most of the characters in the stories are good. They are virtuous people, extremely devoted to their families, to their communities and to their faith, That's maybe one of the allures, people enjoy reading about fiction where there's still plenty of good people.
The characters in the Amish romances will always have their Happily Ever After
If you like your romance novels to end with a happy-ever-after, then you won't be disappointed with an Amish romance. This is guaranteed, you'll see. All will be resolved efficiently and the two protagonists will end up together, getting married and having kids.
Why Amish Romance is So Popular
The success of Amish romance novels shouldn't be a surprise, they are popular because we, as humans are very attracted to mystery. We live in an era where nothing is left to the imagination, (especially in the sexual sphere), so it's understandable the desire of many people to be transported to times with taboos due to a religious culture.
In most Amish romances there's a combination of a romance between a hero and a heroine and a divine love story. Loyal readers of this genre love these novels because they give them hours of entertainment and also because it resembles devotional reading. When people read Amish novels, they are transported to a simple way of life where there is no (or very little) technology. Nostalgia plays a huge part in the popularity of Amish romance.
Lovers of Amish romance are not looking for racy stories. The stories in Amish romances have three elements that make them favorites among readers: chastity, modesty, and fidelity. In most novels, the female protagonist falls in love with a man outside her community but you'll see that the relationship always remains pretty romantic.
The use of dialects like Pennsylvania German, used by some writers, gives the prose of Amish romance an aura of antiquity, that combined with the rural settings and age-old phrases and practices... it makes the readers feel like they're reading historical fiction, even though the books are set in the 21st century.
For all these reasons, Amish romance novels are so popular, they transport the reader to the past without having to let go of their iPhones.
6 Books to Start for Beginners
If you're keen on being transported to simpler times and enjoy clean and sweet romances where couples find true love by being true to their faith and traditions, then you should take a look at these books. You have many choices but we recommend that you start with these 6 books. They will get you hooked on Amish romance.
1. The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
You can start with the Amish novel responsible for making the genre popular among readers. The Shunning by Beverly Lewis tells the story of Kattie Lap, an Amish woman who has always longed for forbidden things On the eve of her wedding to a widower Bishop she discovers a shocking truth about her family that will throw her life into confusion. This novel has sold more than 1 million copies and is a must for you, beginners, on Amish romance.
2. When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall
In this romance written by Cindy Woodsmall, the protagonist, Hannah Lapp dares to love across the boundaries of tradition and by doing that she's at risk of losing everything. She loves a Mennonite name Paul Walker and is about to get married when tragedy strikes and her world crashes. After that tragedy, she starts questioning all her life and all her beliefs. Will Hannah get her happily-ever-after? Get on reading and find out
3. The Storekeeper's Daughter by Wanda Brunstetter
Wanda Brunstetter's The Storekeeper's Daughter tells the story of Naomi Fisher. An Amish young lady who in addition to helping her widow father run a store, manages the household and is in charge of raising her seven siblings. No time for romance and then tragedy strikes when her younger brother disappears from the backyard. Would anyone be able to love and trust her now? Get this book and find out.
4. A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipston
A Gift of Grace is the first book in a trilogy that tells a story of the women of Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. In this first book, you'll meet Rebecca Kauffman, a married woman whose life is transformed when she gets custody of her two teenage nieces. Her "English" sister and brother-in-law are killed in an accident and now she has two non-Amish teenage girls to take care of and guide. Her world gets torn apart by two different cultures and she starts to question everything.
5. Courting Cate by Leslie Gould
Courting Cate is a charming retelling of a Shakespear classic, delightfully done by Leslie Gould. Cate is a sharp-tongued woman that has to marry before her young and sweet sister could even begin to start courting. That poses a problem because with her fiery temper and striking appearance Cate has driven away all her suitors. Enter Peter Treger and things are about to change or not?
6. The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher
In The Choice, Carrie Weaver has to make a choice between her home and her heart. She was planning on running away with the love of her life and leaving behind her home, her Amish community, and her faith, but that's not what happened. Instead, she must enter a marriage of convenience with Daniel Miller. Will she follow God and her heart to discover where she belongs? Get The Choice to find out.
Amish romance novels will capture your heart with clean and sweet romances, they will transport you to a time where life was simple and where family and faith are pillars of life.