Years ago, Emma Keim's husband Sanford passed away, leaving her heartbroken and alone to raise her three daughters. Her family hasn't been quiet about the fact that they expect her to stay a window, but meeting Jay Hilty a fellow single parent and widower, changes something within her. Jay feels it too. Watching his oldest son become engaged and the joy it brings him makes Jay question if it's time to finally move on.
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. 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. "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."
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."
Julia Bradford thought the worst day of her life was the day her son witnesses a gang shooting, forcing them to enter witness protection. Living with Abraham King on his Amish farm is a huge change for Julia, but she finds herself drawn to their peaceful way of living. And to Abraham. The actual worst day of Julia's life is when her family gets tracked down by those that wish to harm them. Will they survive...together?
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.
Isaac Byler grew up in the Amish community of Zebulon, Minnesota. Because their community doesn't have the rumspringa common in other communities, it means Isaac will soon need join the church and find a woman to marry, something that just feels wrong to him for unexplained reasons. David Lantz is left supporting his mother and sisters after tragedy strikes. When he takes Isaac on as his apprentice, an attraction grows between them and they will be forced to reconcile their feelings and their faith.
Many years ago, Henry Yoder betrayed the Stoltzfus family and Leah Stolzfus, try as she might, has never forgiven him for it. Henry comes back into her life, claiming to be a changed person and vows to show Leah just how different he truly is. After Leah discovers a dark family secret, Leah relies on Henry to get her through it. Henry is determined to make amends and start over with her, but Leah isn't sure if she's ready yet. Even if she wants to be.
The genre has proven lucrative for publishers, many of which are Christian publishers, such as Bethany House, Thomas Nelson, and Zondervan. The first commercially successful Amish romance novel, according to writer Valerie Weaver-Zercher, was Beverly Lewis' The Shunning, published in 1997 by Bethany House. In addition, over 150 Amish fiction e-books were self-published between 2010 and 2013. The three most successful authors of Amish romance—Beverly Lewis, Cindy Woodsmall, and Wanda Brunstetter—have sold over 24 million books.