The book you need right now: Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
Scroll through my Twitter feed Friday evening from about 5 until 9 on September 5, and you will see me freaking the fuck out over a book. This is the book.
A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
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?
I’ve been seeing this book around, and I gotta tell you, I was saying no. Because I could think of eight million ways this setup could go horribly, terribly wrong. Having grown up in a family full of pastors and living near two different Amish communities in my life, one the Amish/Mennonite megahub that is Kalona, Iowa, I know Amish, well, and while I don’t wish to join their lifestyle, I have deep, intense respect for it and their right to live how they wish to. I also know how a gay Amish man would be received, that there’s a lot we wouldn’t expect in both the accepting and non-accepting departments. I feared a lot of over-angst. I feared slipshod research, over sentimentalization and basically an exploitation of a community. For no other reason than that’s what I’ve seen when I’ve read Amish romances, far too many times. And if the respect was there, how could there be an HEA? I mean, really? I couldn’t work it out. I feared obvious conflicts and all kinds of things bad. I thought, this is stupid, I can’t read this book. There’s no way.
But I caved and read the Amazon sample. The moment on the barn beam hooked me. Hard. I saw the price and thought, okay. I’ll bite.
I will stand here now, hat in hand and say, not a single fear was realized. Not one. It is full of research and respect and knowledge and FULL understanding. It is not over-angsted. It is fucking hot, while not being gauche given the subject matter. It ends happily, but I swear to god, at 93 fucking percent complete, I still wasn’t sure. I really, really worried. I couldn’t imagine how. And when it was done, I exhaled with those best of breaths. The ones where you know everything is okay, and you made it, they made it, EVERYBODY FUCKING MADE IT and the sun will come up tomorrow, and two boys will be happily snuggled in a corner of it somewhere.
I needed this book. This month has been surgical recovery, too many books, too many decisions, too much everything. This week ended with me feeling weird and overwhelmed for reasons both identifiable and not. I’ve become very, very picky lately, hating almost everything I read. I wanted so much to love this book, but it could not have me cheaply. It had me. It caught me, made me, took me up to the stars and let me run.
No, it’s not fancy, and that’s why I like it. It’s sweet, delightful. It made me sigh and freak out and worry and basically let go. If I still haven’t sold you and you like my stuff, and you read Love Lessons? This is Walter and Kelly go Amish. I mean, not really. But it is, in its way. Those archetypes.
And this was self published. She did this all herself and the team she hired. Hot. Damn.
Just fucking go buy it. Read it. Do it. Five goddamned fucking stars. I’m not normally one for sequels post HEA, but I’m totally down for this one. I’m all the hell over it.