Well, I thought it was about time for another blog post. And this one is devoted to Amish Romance novels.I will preface this by saying that I think the Amish are pretty neat in a lot of their ideas. Their response to the Nickel Mines tragedy was a reminder to all of us about forgiveness. So know that I'm not making fun of the Amish, but rather people who decide that the Amish would be a good subject for some mushy gushy fluff writing.
I will start by saying that I am biased. Just writing "Amish Romance novels" makes me snicker. Though, in their defense, all Romance Novels make me snicker. All this to say that this discussion of the genre will be not be balanced at all. You have been warned.
Last weekend, I went with some friends to a huge buffet restaurant in Lancaster. The restaurant had an enormous gift shop of which 65% were items I'm pretty sure no one would ever buy. How many people really collect Betty Boop figurines? Anyway, the best part of that shop was the book aisle, which was mostly composed of Amish Romances.
I did not realize this was a booming business, but apparently it is. Heck, they were even featured in the Wall Street Journal, with this headline: "They're No Bodice Rippers, But Amish Romances Are Hot."Apparently they're selling well. They're all written by non-Amish authors that apparently have researched their subject matter, but I'm skeptical.
Perusing the front and back covers of several of these novels, I had three observations:
1. The Amish women on the cover obviously plucked their eyebrows. Is that even allowed? Also, you're not fooling anyone; we can tell you're wearing mascara.
2. The visual ingredients for a winning cover are fences for ladies to lean on, buggies, fields, and a wistful, misty floating head of the heroine. Covers may have one, two or all of these! Because every knows, fences, buggies, fields and wistful ladies are the epitome of Amish culture.
3. Whoever wrote the back cover descriptions must have had loads of fun. They were all something along of the lines of this:
"Hepzibah feels trapped in the Amish life, dying for the day she can go on Rumspringa. Casting her bonnet aside, she runs to the world of the Englishers, falling for Lance Weatherby, the boy from town who bought cheeses and shoefly pie at her family's shop. But as she takes her life into her own hands, Lance becomes distant, wondering what became of that plain-clothes girl with no buttons he once admired from his pimped- out bicycle. Will Hepzibah discover her true place and true love, or will she lose everything she holds dear?"
"Miriam is a young widow afraid to love, but in need of comfort. When her bachelor neighbor Obadiah agrees to help her with the chores her husband used to do, she finds herself gravitating to this strong, handsome, optimistic pig farmer. Just as she feel herself falling for his kindly bearded face, a tragic buggy accident leaves him physically and psychologically wounded, fearful of driving and missing several fingers. Now Miriam must be his anchor. Will she have enough strength for their chaste love to blossom? Hold onto your bonnets for this romantic buggy ride!"
I composed those myself, but you get the idea. Hang on...maybe I have a future in this biz! If they're selling so well, I should get on this bandwagon:
I leave you with an excerpt from my possible future book "Love Turns Like a Buggy Wheel":
"Dorcas struggled to lift the heavy butter churn paddle, her face flushing from shame. If she couldn't even do simple chores like this, how could she ever be the wife Jedidiah needed her to be? If only she had been more careful sewing that quilt and had curbed her zealousness at producing those miniscule stitches. Her fingers were still swollen painfully from her vigorous craftmaking. Jedidiah sat silently in the corner, scratching in his ledgerbook. He was always quiet, but Dorcas felt that since their marriage he was even more so. He probably regretted marrying such a bumbling, blonde haired, green eyed woman. She was wiping a hot tear from her eye, when she felt strong hands take the paddle from her hands. "Let me help," Jedidiah said with a shy little smile peeping out from his impressive beard. As the milk splashed in the churn, Dorcas wondered if this was the start of something new....."
And here's the cover: