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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guest Post by Karen Ann Hopkins author of Temptation

When I moved to the Mays Lick Amish community four and a half years ago, I was both excited about making friends with my new neighbors and intimidated.  I was somewhat prepared for the cultural differences, having done some prior research, but I was mostly going on a lot of the same per-conceived notions that many people do about the Plain people.

I’ve done several guest posts lately, where I talked about the Amish young people, their lifestyle, and my experiences with them, but today, I’d like to discuss another aspect of being Amish that most outsiders rarely consider—the inherent danger of being Amish.
One of the first times I drove down my road I came upon several buggies in front of me.  The terrain here in northern Kentucky is gently rolling, and if you’re driving in a car, you hardly notice the small hills, but as I slowed behind the buggies, it soon became apparent to me how hard the horses were working to pull their charges up the roadway.  
Being a horse-person myself, I was in no hurry, and settled into a snail crawl behind the line of buggies whose horses were now walking up the incline, unable to continue at the trot.  The driver of the car behind me wasn’t as patient.  The white minivan stayed right on my backside until we crested the hill and then passed me and the buggies in a burst of speed.  The van was able to pull ahead of the first buggy just before the blind curve in the road.
We were lucky.  There wasn’t any oncoming traffic on that day, but the people in my community have experienced many accidents, some with tragic results, due to the juxtaposition of buggies and motorized vehicles sharing the roadway.

Even though there are several bright green neon signs posted on the surrounding roads in my neighborhood, there have been several accidents involving buggies since I moved in.  An Amish man was taken by ambulance to the local hospital after his buggy was hit by a car.  He refused to leave the scene of the accident until he shot his horse himself, putting the pure animal out of its misery.  He broke several bones, including his pelvis.  In another accident three young girls were ejected from the buggy, one suffering a broken wrist, when a small car rammed their buggy.  The horse was lucky in that case, running home without injury.  Then there was the episode in front of my own home when a young, newly trained horse, pitched a fit in the roadway causing the woman and her small children to scramble out of the buggy to safety before the horse’s hooves struck them.
Each of the above incidents were frightening, but the one buggy wreck that sends shivers down my spine each time I think about it took place in Indiana about a year before I moved to Kentucky.  An Amish family living up the road from me was in the process of moving their family from Indiana to Kentucky at the time.  Some of their older children had remained in Indiana to finish up the move while the parents were settling here in Kentucky when a terrible tragedy occurred. 
Three teenagers were in a buggy on their way home from an Amish youth event when their buggy was hit by a semi-truck going at a fast rate of speed.  The girl and her boyfriend were killed and the girl’s brother was paralyzed from the waist down in the accident.  The sister and brother were my neighbor’s children.  They rushed to Indiana to be with their son and daughter, not making it in time to say goodbye to their daughter.  The truly shocking part of this sad story is that several other buggies filled with teenagers came upon the wreckage before the emergency personnel arrived.  The images will always be in their minds of that fateful day.
I personally have ridden in open buggies several times and as long as the roadway is clear, it’s exhilarating, but the second I hear the rumble of an engine, my body tightens with tension.  The Amish accept the dangers of sharing the road with cars, believing that whatever happens to them is God’s divine purpose.  Most of them certainly don’t worry as much about it as I do, but I’ve noticed that the family who lost their daughter, hire drivers to take them to town and events more often than the other Amish families.
The dangerous roads are just one more hurdle that the Amish cross each and every day in their lives.  I don’t even have to ask them if the lifestyle choice is worth the risk, it’s apparent in their smiling faces as they wave at me when I meet them on the roads—their perfectly content with the risk.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins

Title: Temptation

Author: Karen Ann Hopkins

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication date: June, 2012

Softcover: 400 Pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first in a series.

How I got this book: Copy from the author.


Why I chose this book: Reading the synopsis of this book, it seemed so original and unique that I couldn’t possibly pass it up.

Synopsis:

 Your heart misleads you.
That’s what my friends and family say.

But I love Noah.
And he loves me.

We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms.

It should be

ROSE & NOAH

forever, easy.

But it won’t be.

Because he’s Amish.
And I’m not.


Review:

There is so much I have to say about this book.  When I started reading it, I didn’t want to stop.  I wanted to keep paging through until I came to the very end.  Hopkins’ writing style is unique and powerful, and I loved every word of it.

The emotions in this book are so raw.  At the very start of the book, you know that this is truly an impossible love story.  An Amish boy and an English girl.  There’s no way it could possibly work out, you tell yourself, but you root for them throughout the book, wanting their love to be validated.  I like that the love between Noah and Rose isn’t perfect.  You can easily see the flaws, see their differences, know that this is going to be hard for them until the very end.  But that’s what makes it so realistic.

Hopkins really did her research on this one.  I’ve been living around Amish communities my entire life, yet I learned so much about their way of life in this book.  I didn’t realize how strict some sects of their communities could be, and how impossible certain things for them could be.  I loved how she switched points of view between Rose and Noah so we could see just how very different they were.

I was shocked that this was going to be a series.  Reading the book, I honestly couldn’t see a solution for Rose and Noah to be together.  There’s going to be a second installment coming out, and I will definitely be marking the release date on my calendar.

I would recommend this book to anyone.  Not only is it a powerful love story, but it’s about dealing with tragedy, coming of age, and just how far you’ll go to be happy.

Check out Temptation at Goodreads :http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13223243-temptation

The Temptation Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/temptationbook

Karen Ann Hopkins on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KarenAnnHopkins

ALSO: Look for a guest post by Karen Ann Hopkins coming up this week!