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]
Some[who?] argue that the non-Amish authors fail to understand Amish theology and how it differs in key areas from mainstream Christianity. They thus present characters who may appear Amish but who maintain an evangelical Christian worldview. For example, a character might proclaim an assurance of salvation, rather than a "living hope" of such as the Amish do. Amish specific beliefs such as non-violence, non participation in government, and an unwillingness to proselytize may be glossed over or not mentioned. Evangelical themes, such as sexual purity, are substituted.[citation needed]
As a genre Amish romance novels have flourished over the last decade and a half. Wanda Brunstetter, writer of Amish fiction, says, "When people read my books, it takes them to a simpler way of life. Hanging clothes on the line, cooking meals from scratch, turning off the television and mobile phones and just visiting. We've lost that way of life. I think my readers are craving that."
It's difficult being different in the Amish community, something Sarah and Miriam know all too well. Once, Sarah fell in love with an English woman and, realizing what that meant, withdrew into herself until Miriam walked into her life. Miriam was torn between trying to love a man she saw only as a brother and attempting figuring out what her heart truly wanted. Lesbians in the Amish community end up shunned, but that's a risk they're willing to take to be together.
Amish romance is a literary subgenre of Christian fiction featuring Amish characters, but written and read mostly by evangelical Christian women. An industry term for Amish romance novels is "bonnet rippers" because most feature a woman in a bonnet on the cover, and "bonnet ripper" is a play on the term "bodice ripper" from classic romance novels.[1]
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