Wednesday, September 22, 2010
My First Amish Romance – But Is It Really About the Amish?
(An Ada's House Novel) - Paperback
by Cindy Woodsmall
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
The Author Has Never Read an Amish Romance!
I had never read an Amish Romance so I asked the author, Cindy Woodsmall, who has written many of them, which one to read. She said, while she has written many, she has never read an Amish Romance, either! However, she did recommend “The Hope of Refuge” which was one of hers.
Best Opening Pages -- Impossible Not to be Hooked!
After reading a few pages of “The Hope of Refuge” I was hooked. As these these pages and the next two chapters were not yet about the Amish, it became very clear to me that Cindy Woodsmall is an extraordinarily talented author. I would compare Cindy Woodsmall's quality of writing to that of Linda Howard. After reading all of "The Hope of Refuge", I was delighted with the story. It is clearly a 5-star book. But here’s the rub: I’m am not that interested in the Amish. I would have liked the book just as much if instead of an Amish community, the story featured a community of Navajos in New Mexico or even communities of vampires or werewolves.
The "Ugly Duckling" Theme Romance
I would call “The Hope of Refuge” an “Ugly Duckling” theme romance. In this theme the outsider, usually the heroine, is considered an ugly duckling (often by herself) and discovers that she is actually a beautiful swan within the swan community (Amish, Vampire, or Harry Potter Wizards). This ‘Outsider” finding a home and acceptance is a very powerful theme because many people feel alienated at various times in their lives. (Especially young people.)
A 5-Star Story No Matter How You Look at it!
Even if you are not interested in the Amish, you can still enjoy reading this book because the story is excellent. The heroine is a widow with a young daughter who is being stalked by an evil man who might even kill her and her daughter. She runs away with her daughter with no preparation taking a bus as far as her money can take her. She winds up in an area with Amish families. Her mother fled this same community when the heroine was a little girl. The story is about how the heroine and daughter find refuge in the Amish community and how she actually has her roots in that same community.
It's About the Talent -- Not the Amish!
"The Hope of Refuge" is a heartwarming, wonderful story. Yet I think it is a universal story of an outsider being accepted in a new group and finding happiness therein. I also think the author should try writing a mainstream theme novel ala Linda Howard and Nora Roberts. I think she would also be a mainstream best selling author.
Read the book and see if you agree.