Most works of Amish romance have protagonists with socially conservative values, especially chastity, who engage in romance in ways which are socially and religiously acceptable in their communities.[5] Similar works may also feature other religious minorities, such as Mennonites, Shakers, or Puritans. Unlike many mainstream romance novels, Amish romance novels do not rely on the portrayal of sex and most other forms of physical intimacy.[2] "Despite the suggestion by some that the appeal of Amish fiction must lie in the arousal of coverings coming off, or suspenders being suspended — hence the coy industry term 'bonnet rippers' — most Amish novels are as different from Fifty Shades of Grey as a cape dress is from a spiked collar."[5]
Many readers do enjoy reading what's unfamiliar to them. That's why genres like fantasy and science fiction are so popular - because the reader gets to experience something they wouldn't otherwise experience. With Amish romance, readers get to take a journey to a life they're unfamiliar with, without the constraints of modern technology to get in the way of human relationships.
The genre has proven lucrative for publishers,[2][3][4] many of which are Christian publishers, such as Bethany House, Thomas Nelson, and Zondervan.[5] The first commercially successful Amish romance novel, according to writer Valerie Weaver-Zercher, was Beverly Lewis' The Shunning, published in 1997 by Bethany House.[5] In addition, over 150 Amish fiction e-books were self-published between 2010 and 2013.[6] The three most successful authors of Amish romance—Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, and Wanda Brunstetter—have sold over 24 million books.[6]
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