Amish Romance Novels Find Niche on Bestseller Lists

Vampires are no longer the only ones who can't have sex in romance novels, now the Amish can — or can't — too. Dubbed "bonnet books," Amish romances are a new subgenre in the ever-multiplying species of romance novels.

The G-rated love stories always contain the most essential ingredient of any romantic page-turner — forbidden love. Usually between a young Amish woman and an outsider, the romances are set against Pennsylvania's idyllic countryside. Mix in the allure of an insulated community, a la Big Love, and you've got a bestseller. Barnes & Noble book buyer Jane Love said Amish novels account for 15 of its top 100 religious fiction titles. She said, "It's almost like you put a person with a bonnet or an Amish field in the background and it automatically starts to sell well."

So who's reading these "bonnet books"? To find out, read more.

Fiction is viewed as "distracting and deceitful" by the church, yet the Amish are reading. Though they say the books dramatize life on the farm, complaining that buggy accidents, young romances with outsiders, and Rumspringa (the period when Amish teenagers experiment with the outside world) sound more like soap operas than reality. One woman told an author, "All the women in our church district are reading your books under the covers, literally."

But outsiders like us are still the main audience — would you read one?

Source: Flickr User Kat . . .

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