Erryn reviews A Forbidden Rumspinga (Gay Amish Romance Series Book #1) by Keira Andrews, published September 3, 2014 by KA Books, 287 pages. The audiobook was released by Tantor Media on August 27, is 8hrs and 41mins and is narrated by John Solo. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I adore the author so am willing to try my first Amish romance.
When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?
In a world where every detail of life – down to the width of a hat brim – is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else – something he can’t name.
Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family, and community. Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?
Contains mature themes.
There has been a proliferation of Amish romances in the last few years. I’ve watched them and always hesitated because obviously all of them were not written by Amish people. On the one hand, it’s the ‘own voices’ thing that happens. On the other hand, if people outside of the culture didn’t write the stories, those stories would never be told. So if a writer does meticulous research and takes the time to write the story with authenticity, who am I to judge whether or not they have the right to tell the story?
All that set aside, it wasn’t until I stumbled upon Keira Andrews’ Gay Amish Romance Series that I even contemplated reading one of the stories. Suddenly I was willing to step into the pages and get swept away by a good story. In this case, I got to listen to a great story. John Solo was the narrator for this book and I think he did a superb job. He always delivers strong performances and I would say this was of the high calibre I’ve come to expect from him. So glad he narrated this and did so well.
The story had me captivated from the beginning. Isaac Bylor is all of eighteen years old and living in an Amish community in Minnesota. His family had belonged to another community in Ohio, but the elders had deemed the children were being exposed to too much “English” and needed to be brought back to their roots. I’ve seen the culture from the outside (I lived near a Mennonite settlement in Ontario), but have no notion of how it is on the inside. I am a modern girl who loves her internet and movies. To have all that withheld is daunting. To grow up without electricity or running water sounds primitive and although people around the world do it, I’m grateful I’m not one of them. In fact, sometimes I don’t think I’m grateful enough for the life I’ve been provided.
Isaac is trying to follow the rules and is given permission by his parents to study carpentry with another local boy. David Lantz is all of twenty-two. He is the head of household since his father passed away and he’s been making a living, supporting his mother and younger sisters, while working as a carpenter. From the beginning, it’s clear there is attraction between Isaac and David. Neither has been baptized into the church yet, but both understand attraction to someone of the same gender is a sin. They both understand they would be condemned by their community and yet they both decide it’s worth the risk.
David is the more worldly of the two and initiates much of what happens, but Isaac is always a willing participant and quickly learns to express his needs and desires. David refers to Isaac as his little acorn while Isaac simply calls him ‘my David’. The men are truly happy together, in their own way, until tragedy strikes. That tragedy tears them apart and it looked pretty grim for a while. The book is a romance, so I knew a happy ending was coming, but I was never sure of the how and when. I was thrilled when the men got together but there were obviously many many obstacles still left to face. Great news! There’s another book and it comes out on audio this week.
Yay! (Erryn does a happy dance).
Just quickly – this book is entirely from Isaac’s point of view and I thought that was an interesting choice. He is a strong character and I did get a good sense of his feelings, being pulled in many different directions. I definitely want to know more about David and I’m hoping that will come in the next book. I really enjoyed this story and can’t wait for the next one.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars