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]
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."
Middlebury, Indiana is home to an Amish Artisan Villiage, and Amber Wright, owner of the shops, gets a call that the manager of the coffee shop, Ethan, is dead. Shaken, Amber has to eventually hire a new manager and find Hannah Troyer, a young Amish woman. They quickly become friends and it doesn't take long before they begin looking into Ethan's mysterious death themselves. Running into a lot of dead ends, secrets, and a little romance, Amber and Hannah won't stop until Middlebury's secrets reveal themselves.
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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