Monday, September 13, 2010

Incoming Amish

by Jim

This blog post from Entertainment Weekly is just the latest in a series of articles about Amish romance novels that are breaking out all over the place.
I can see why the chaste world of the Amish could be a fascinating place to set a romance novel. All that restrained passion. All those longing looks. And sure enough, there are enough “bonnet books” creeping into bestseller status to indicate the beginning of a trend. But could it actually happen?

Call me crazy, but I can’t see this becoming a full-blown trend. And EW’s comparison to vampire books is off base. Part of what made that so sustainable is that the genre naturally allows for people to bend mythology and create entirely different sorts of worlds. But with the Amish...I mean, there are only so many ways to not use electricity.

My prediction: one as yet unpublished bestseller followed by a slew of copycats flooding the marketplace and never becoming as successful again.

But what about if the Amish WERE vampires….

10 comments:

  1. At my library, the Amish are just as big as vampires and have been for years. I suppose it depends on the market, but in our rural area Inspirational romances are big business. Amish seems to be the biggest request, closely followed by Christian themed books set in the time of western expansion.

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  2. The Amish trend has not really taken off in Australia. I've read a couple because I was curious about their lifestyle. I did enjoy them, but it after a few I'm ready to follow those sinful bloodsuckers again ;-j

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  3. We've actually got a few amish here in the boondocks in Michigan. Just yesterday I was talking to my brother who said that not even the mafia would bother coming this far out to take care of "business" and I mentioned that perhaps the amish are secretly a clan of ninja's and that they kick bad-guy butt as well as tip cows.

    He said if that were true, he'd definitely read that book. I don't think he's read a real book in 15 years.

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  4. This kind of trend is one that can very easily tick me off. I belong to a minority religious group, so I feel pretty protective of other minority religious groups. Especially ones that can't defend themselves from bad, lazy or ignorant descriptions.

    If the novel is very accurate, it won't offend me. Sadly, I see way too many novels portray minority religious groups in stereotypes.

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  5. If this is the beginning of a trend, I can't say it sparks my interest. Then again, historical romances (or romances in general) have never really done it for me.

    Now, give me some Amish vampires in a love triangle and THAT'S a book I'll wanna read ;-)

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  6. "I mean, there are only so many ways to not use electricity." ~ Holy. Ghost. Ever so often one of you guys write something that makes me sprinkle abrupt-laughter-spittle on my screen.

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  7. The chaste sorts of romance appeal to some people, especially those who want more longing instead of sex. Actually, it very well might appeal to anyone who liked that aspect of the Twilight books, so the article might not be that far off. Still, I don't think it'll be a huge trend, just a niche for a few years.

    I think there have to be Amish vampires out there somewhere. Or at least vampires terrorizing the Amish. That could be somewhat interesting...

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  8. Were-amish! They turn beasty at night.

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  9. There must be some sort of appeal, because Lifetime Movie Network has had an influx of Amish movies lately (yes, I admit, I sometimes watch LMN with my mom). It's all sort of, "She runs from her Amish past...can he break through her Amish walls...she returns home to her Amish parents..." All rather absurd, like most Lifetime movies.

    There's a good-sized Mennonite community about an hour away from where I live (horse and buggy, plain clothes) and I can see the appeal of "chaste" books to them, also, but only if they're accurate. I think there tends to be a fascination with "different," which leads to the danger of stereotyping.

    So definitely some sort of appeal, but I can't see a widespread explosion of popularity

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  10. Hey, here's a comment from someone who really is Amish! Okay, technically, my background is Amish-Mennnonite, which happened in Ontario and not elsewhere, and has since officially been changed back to just Mennonite. Confused? Yep, me too. On top of that, I grew up with TV and cars. And books. Lots of books.

    I'm so leery of these Amish romances. I read an excerpt last year which was so inaccurate it was angering. There are so many misconceptions already. This makes it worse. I wonder if the authors have any first-hand knowledge of the culture and religion they are writing about. I have to be able to trust that an author is writing fiction based in reality, or else I can't take the story seriously.

    Like, what's with all this talk of restrained passion and longing and chaste purity? Hello? Ever noticed how many kids Old Order families have??? I'm pretty sure these folks are well aware of the God-given gift of sex. Talk about running out of ideas without electricity!

    The there's this idea that most Amish/Old Order youth can't wait to get the heck out. I have a hard time believing this. I'm sure most look at the rest of the world with curiosity, but also likely a feeling that everybody else is living a strange life. Think about it.

    Anyways, that's my perspective. But I just love to stir up a controversy. It's in my blood. Don't forget, we anabaptists are original rebels...

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