Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Karen Ann Hopkins to the blog as part of a blog tour for her latest novel, Lamb To The Slaughter. We also have an awesome giveaway for you guys, so after reading Karen's great guest post and checking out Lamb To The Slaughter be sure to scroll down and enter!
Last year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Karen's Young Adult romance title, Temptation (click HERE for my review) and I really enjoyed it. It was my introduction to Amish fiction and I was honestly surprised by how much I loved it. Karen Ann Hopkins is a fabulous storyteller, her prose is evocative and full of heartfelt emotion. And guys, I am super excited for her adult romance novel! Can't wait to read it soon!:)
The Appeal of Amish Romance
In this day and age of advancing technology and fast moving hookups and breakups, relationships are more difficult than ever. There’s a cynical attitude by many people, both female and male, entering into a romance nowadays that it’s not going to last forever. When you add on the availability of online dating services and social networking, there’s a constant supply of potential mates, which has created a very picky dating pool. This atmosphere has taken some of the sweetness out of romance. Yet, even as we’ve adapted to the ever changing dating climate, I think there’s still a little part in each of us that yearns for the simplicity and honesty of a good old-fashioned romance. The Amish still hold that promise within their culture and that’s what makes an Amish romance captivating to many of us. But things aren’t always what they seem. I’m going to take this opportunity to tell you about the realities of Amish romance and more specifically, what it’s like to court Amish style.
Yes, there is still a place in the world where the process of a boy and a girl getting to know each other is called ‘courting.’ In Amish communities throughout the Midwest and stretching into other regions of the United States, dating is called courting and breaking up is referred to as ‘quitting’ each other.
Because of my years of contact with Amish teens coming to my farm to participate in horse-back riding activities, babysitting my children or hanging out with my own teenagers, I’ve come to understand their secretive world of courtship very well.
First off, Amish teens do get to pick their partner, contrary to popular belief. But they
must choose another Amish member or they’ll get into heaps of trouble as seen in my YA Temptation series where Noah, an Amish teen, falls for Rose, an outsider. The boys and girls of a community spend their entire lives together; meeting as toddlers, going through school together until the eighth grade and participating in church and weekly youth activities, such as singings and volleyball or softball games.
By age sixteen, many of the Amish have already decided on their future spouse. Courting is serious business for the Amish. ‘Dating around’ is not acceptable behavior within the Amish society. A person chooses carefully who they will commit to courting, because they know that they will be expected to stay in the relationship due to problems that can arise within the community when couples ‘quit’ each other. Also, divorce is almost unheard in the Amish world, so teens tread lightly with the opposite sex until they decide on the right person.
The Amish youth are encouraged to begin romantic relationships, because it helps insure that they will remain Amish. Since the teens aren’t allowed to court until they’ve officially gone through the ceremony to join their church, many young ones who might have reservations about living their lives the Amish way, will commit to it in order to be with the person they’re fond of. With courting, comes the prospect of marriage and a jump into adulthood, which satisfies the hope of more freedom.
Each community has its own set of courting rules. For instance, the community that I live in has a-hands-off courting policy. This basically means that a couple will get in HUGE trouble if they get caught holding hands, kissing or going any further physically within the relationship. Punishment includes reciting their sins before their entire community on Sunday and possibly being ‘shunned’ for a length of time, usually lasting one to six weeks, depending on the conduct. Shunning is especially painful to the couple, because it means they won’t be able to see each other until the time is up. Other communities are a bit more relaxed on the matter, but Amish teens are always held to a high standard when courting. This doesn’t mean that couples aren’t getting a kiss in here and there or even going much further into a physical relationship, but they are watched carefully and learn early on to either abstain completely or be extremely stealthy in their liaisons.
Although, the courtship rituals of the Amish society might sound harsh to those of us on the outside, there are many positives to their strict structure. Most couples will begin courting at the age of sixteen and marry by the time they’re nineteen or twenty. Because the teens have a deep sense of responsibility and meaning about entering a relationship, they don’t play games, and there is much less drama and heartbreak involved. They enjoy support from their families and community and begin their lives together on solid ground.
I’ve witnessed many teens go through the process of courting and each couple eventually married. In the end, they were in love and happy…and isn’t that what we all strive to achieve in a romance?
Even though Lamb to the Slaughter is a murder mystery, I still wanted to spice it up with some of that good old fashioned romance that I mentioned earlier. And I must say, Lamb has its fair share of love, almost love and love lost. At the heart of the story is Naomi. She’s a pretty young Amish woman with a rebellious spirit. She’s also in love with two boys. One is her handsome and upstanding Amish beau, Eli. The other is Will, an English (non-Amish) teen, who captivates her with his fun and easy going manner. Of course this situation doesn’t end well.
The other romance in Lamb, and a delicious one to write, was between Serenity, the tough-as-nails Sheriff of Blood Rock and the gorgeous building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who used to be Amish and joins her on the murder investigation. Serenity and Daniel have each had their fair share of failed relationships and even though the chemistry between them is undeniable, they’re both stubborn creatures and incredibly intimidated by their growing closeness. There’s a lot of sexual tension between these two, an ingredient that I think makes for a very interesting side story. And as more books develop in this series, I’m sure readers will look forward to seeing whether they end up as a lasting couple.
See for yourself the appeal of an Amish romance in Lamb to the Slaughter and take a nail biting roller coaster ridealong the way!
Thank’s for having me at Evie Bookish today! I love to hear from readers and answer any of their questions (especially the Amish related ones)! Please contact me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or visit me on my website at, www.karenannhopkins.com. I also have a special giveaway going on right now that I’d like to share with you. If you purchase Lamb to the Slaughter on either Kindle or Nook, you can be entered in a giveaway for a three book autographed set of the Temptation series. It includes copies of Temptation, Belonging and Forever! All you have to do is personally contact me on FB, Twitter, Goodreads or my website and let me know that you’ve purchased Lamb and I’ll get you entered. The drawing will be held on May 30th in conjunction with blog tour ending. This is a separate giveaway from the Rafflecopter above. Happy reading!
Karen Ann Hopkins.
We have a really exciting prize package for this tour, so make sure to follow along for more chances to win every day! What’s up for grabs:
• A $100 Amazon Gift Card
• An autographed set of Karen’s YA Temptation series
• A traditional Amish style hand stitched wall hanging/lap quilt with the lone star pattern in country colors
Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
About the book:
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Pub. Date: March 18th, 2014
Find it: Goodreads | Facebook
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Lamb to the Slaughter is a story about the intertwining lives of three unlikely people in an Indiana Amish Community and the devastating results when a rebellious teenage girl is found shot to death in a corn field during the harvest. Serenity Adams is the newly elected young sheriff in the country town of Blood Rock and besides dealing with the threatening behavior of her predecessor, she now has a dead Amish girl on her plate. At first glance, the case seems obvious. The poor girl was probably accidently shot during hunting season, but when the elders of the Amish community and even the girl’s parents react with uncaring subdued behavior, Serenity becomes suspicious. As she delves deeper into the secretive community that she grew up beside, she discovers a gruesome crime from the past that may very well be related to the Amish girl’s shooting. Serenity enlists the help of the handsome bad-boy building contractor, Daniel Bachman, who left the Amish when he was nineteen and has his own dark reasons to help the spunky sheriff solve the crime that the family and friends who shunned him are trying desperately to cover up. Serenity’s persistence leads her to a stunning discovery that not only threatens to destroy her blossoming romance with Daniel, but may even take her life in the end.
About the author:
About Karen Ann Hopkins:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.
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