If you have walked into a Christian bookstore lately, or thumbed through the Christian Book Distributor's catalog it would be hard not to notice that Amish fiction has just absolutely exploded with popularity. Ridiculously so. Everyday, I feel I'm hearing about a new author, or a beloved author who is now writing Amish fiction.
Truthfully, I've loved some of Beverly Lewis's books. Like so much. There's just so much story potential in such closed communities. But why does everyone else like Amish fiction so much?
I have a few theories.
1) Close community. Often these stories portray the Amish community as very tight. They make big sacrifices of time and resources for each other. They've known each other forever. It's hard in our world to find those kinds of community and I think we all crave it from time to time.
2) "Simple" Living. Their lives are anything but simple with all the work they do, but there is no television or cell phone to take them away from being fully present where they are.
3) Huge Sacrifice. The stakes are always so high. Love art? In order to paint you might have to sacrifice your relationship with your community to continue. Love that English boy? Have to leave the family behind. These decisions are heart wrenching and big. And lead to lots of secrets...
A very popular author whose Amish fiction works I haven't read is Cindy Woodsmall. I know that she is very very popular. She was even interviewed on Nightline about her popular books! You can watch that video online at ABC.
The publisher has sent me two copies of Cindy's newest book, The Hope of Refuge. I am going to give one of them away to one of you. This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world! Here's the book synopsis:
Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.
Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?
Giveaway: If you can't wait to see if you win you can buy it here. Otherwise, to enter this giveaway, leave a comment and tell me why you think Amish fiction is so popular, your favorite Amish fiction book, or if you haven't ever read one, why you want to read one!
Be sure to leave a valid email address and I'll pick a winner at the end of this month.