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Amish Romance Novels Find Niche on Bestseller Lists

Vampires are no longer the only ones who can't have sex in romance novels, now the Amish can — or can't — too. Dubbed "bonnet books," Amish romances are a new subgenre in the ever-multiplying species of romance novels.

The G-rated love stories always contain the most essential ingredient of any romantic page-turner — forbidden love. Usually between a young Amish woman and an outsider, the romances are set against Pennsylvania's idyllic countryside. Mix in the allure of an insulated community, a la Big Love, and you've got a bestseller. Barnes & Noble book buyer Jane Love said Amish novels account for 15 of its top 100 religious fiction titles. She said, "It's almost like you put a person with a bonnet or an Amish field in the background and it automatically starts to sell well."

So who's reading these "bonnet books"? To find out,


Fiction is viewed as "distracting and deceitful" by the church, yet the Amish are reading. Though they say the books dramatize life on the farm, complaining that buggy accidents, young romances with outsiders, and Rumspringa (the period when Amish teenagers experiment with the outside world) sound more like soap operas than reality. One woman told an author, "All the women in our church district are reading your books under the covers, literally."


But outsiders like us are still the main audience — would you read one?

Source: Flickr User Kat . . .

Join The Conversation
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
Growing up in the countryside with amish and mennonites in PA, I have no problem with the mennonites, but am not a fan of the amish. While most of the world thinks they're quaint, I've seen animal abuse that would make you cry. They see nothing wrong with locking up a horse or ox in a barn and starving it to death while it stands in its own feces once it gets too old to work anymore. I once saw a horse that was rescued that had been locked up in the barn to the point where his hooves had rotted off, and he had maggots living in his flesh. Animals are machinery to them afterall, not creatures with feelings or any intelligence. They are the breeders who operate the puppy mills and will slaughter hundreds of sick puppies if they think an inspector is coming and mass bury them on the farm or shred them and spread the remains on a field. I've met a girl who ran away when she was a teen because her brothers would come in her room and rape her repeatedly and in such a male dominated society, her father wouldn't put a stop it. She swears that it goes on in more amish homes than you can imagine. The amish have no problem with child labor or denying medical treatment to a sick child. Occassionally here you'll hear of a drug bust where a group of amish farmers were dealing heroin or cocaine because "they do not have to follow american law", they live by their own law. I recognize that not all amish people are like this - there are some great people, who would do anything for a member of their community. But for me, I've seen the dark side of their culture and there is nothing worth fantasizing about in this culture. They can be just as corrupt, cruel, greedy and selfish as the next person.
MissSophia MissSophia 7 years
Excuse my ignorance but I thought Amish people weren't allowed to buy stuff from outside?? That they are completely self-sufficient and don't use telephones and techonolgy?
janneth janneth 7 years
I want to read one!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I read one book about a young woman who fell in love with an outsider, left with him, and was shunned, but it was nonfiction. My boyfriend bought it for me because of my serious distaste for the Amish, which it really just reinforced.
graylen graylen 7 years
My sister and I both read the Cindy Woodsmall series (one is shown above) and they were really good books. I had never read anything with an Amish/Mennonite background, but I didn't have any trouble getting into the series. I would certainly recommend it!
Kimpossible Kimpossible 7 years
I love novels that include the Amish way of life in them. I've always had a fascination with that lifestyle/religion and have often wanted to live on an Amish farm for a month or so. Beverly Lewis writes good Amish novels. I especially liked her Abrams Daughters series.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 7 years
they are mennonite, pinker... I have read one of these types of books, and while they are not my thing, they sure do seem popular with people around here! karen kingsbury books are all the rage, it seems....
pinkerbell03 pinkerbell03 7 years
Pretty sure those ladies in the picture are Mennonites, not Amish.
nancita nancita 7 years
I am very curious to give these a read. Good for the Amish for formalizing a fantasy life.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
any forbidden love tale is more sensationalized or romantic... I would read these for sure!
PinkNC PinkNC 7 years
Good for them.
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