Guest Reviewed by Morgan
Title: A Forbidden Rumspringa
Author: Keira Andrews
Series: Gay Amish Romance #1
Heroes: Isaac Byler/David Lantz
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 231 Pages
Publisher: KA Books
Release Date: September 3, 3014
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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?
Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.
Review: In this version of the Amish faith, electricity and running water are forbidden. Even English isn’t spoken in the home. School stops at the 8th grade and boys become married men at 18. In Zebulon, even other versions of the faith are considered too lax and allow too much freedom.
Isaac is 18, and is now considered the oldest son since his brother Aaron left the faith in shame and is now, for all intents and purposes, dead to them. Isaac isn’t much of a farmer, the family business, so his father arranges for him to apprentice with their group’s carpenter, David Lantz.
David’s younger brother also shamed the community when he and 2 other kids got high and crashed their car and died. Now David is responsible for his mother and sisters, but financially speaking, things are tough. David meets an “English” (non Amish) neighbor who helps him to sell some of his carpentry for cash to help his family. She also exposes him to things he never would have seen in the community: movies, magazines, MIRRORS, zippers, cars… the list is endless, and with each new experience, David’s beliefs are challenged more and more. Only his feeling of responsibility to his family remains the same: he can’t leave the community because he can’t leave them.
Isaac had noticed David, and vice versa, months before. When put in a situation of day to day proximity to one another, the spark that started then ignites. It doesn’t take long before the two are engaged in their own version of “rumspringa,” or adolescent romantic exploration, and it involves lube!
Both men know what they are doing is strictly forbidden, and this adds to the excitement. However, there will come a time when they both need to decide what the future holds: more unquestioning belief in a faith that has more questions than answers or doing the unimaginable and leaving behind everything they know to be together.
I admit I was not at all attracted to this book when I first saw it. I just don’t like religious themes – having had too many bad experiences. But I kept seeing the good reviews from people I trusted, and I thought… well, I’ll give it a shot.
What a pleasant surprise! Yes, the religion plays a heavy, heavy role, but the romance is so beautiful that I didn’t mind the religion. For those of you with an interest in the religion, Keira Andrews does an amazingly thorough job of explaining the Amish faith and the differences. I think you can skim those parts and still get the benefit of reading the story if those parts don’t interest you.
Isaac’s naïve view of the world, then his complete faith in love, are really touching. I thought it was fascinating that of all the sins he was committing, he stood firm on not looking at himself in the mirror. Like, if he didn’t see himself doing these things, then perhaps he could still hide? David, is more comfortable with the “sin”, he’s more concerned about his family and his feelings of guilt surrounding them.
I found the ending to be actually sort of a surprise in the way things unfolded – it’s very exciting – you’ll enjoy it! And, even better news, this is book, one and in book two, we get to see more of the characters, that is awesome because … well I can’t tell you, but it will be great to see what happens next.
I had read Keira Andrews before, and I found this book to be a step above her other books – it is very well written, and the story is very touching and might just make you think, too.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*