This review also appears on Fictionators
I've had this book on my TBR for a long time--since April 2012, and I have no idea what took me so long to read it. The whole Amish community has always fascinated me. Throw in a forbidden romance, especially
one published by Harlequin Teen, and I am all about it. Not surprisingly, I really liked this story and can't wait to read more about Rose and Noah.
Following the crushing loss of her mother, sixteen-year-old Rose moves with her father and two brothers into an old dilapidated house out in the country. She's not happy about moving, having to give up dance, or switching schools before her junior year, but she loves her family and is trying to be optimistic. She's instantly smitten the moment she sets eyes on Noah Miller, an Amish boy who lives nearby.
...the way this Amish guy looking at me was affecting my body. As if it had just come out of a deep hibernation--all the fluttering and tingling vibrations that were now popping up in the center of my belly were spreading out, letting me know that I really was alive, after all the troubles of the past year.
Hmm...maybe this place wouldn't be so bad after all.
Noah's equally intrigued and after some sneaking around to meet up, the pair soon find themselves in a predicament:
There was little chance that Noah and I could work through the obstacles in our way. The fact that I didn't wear dresses and a bonnet and that he probably had never heard of m favorite bands before, and even if he had, he wasn't allowed to listen to them, were just the fist things that had popped into my mind. There were so many issues we'd have to deal with. How could a relationship possibly work?
As they fall in love, they each learn more about the other's culture and way of life. They want to be together, but it's not as simple as they'd like it to be. One of them is going to have to totally give up life as they know it--either Rose will have to be willing to become Amish or Noah will have to leave his community, church, and family to become "English" for them to be together.
And if she wasn't willing to become Amish to be with me, then what good would it do for me to run off and be English with her? In the English world, there would be so many forces at work to make our relationship more difficult. Like her going off places whenever she wanted to or dressing in her tight clothing. I couldn't deal with all that. I didn't want to. I knew, deep down, that leaving my community would be a disaster for the two of us.
Told in both Rose's and Noah's points of view, I really enjoyed this story. One of the things that I loved the most was that neither character was perfect. Both of them
were headstrong and wanted their way. I especially loved that Noah was consciously trying to convince her to see his side of things.
"I just felt that if you really loved me, you'd give up your English life so we could be together."
I loved that he wasn't above using whatever he could to entice her to want to be with him. Which, that sounds nefarious, but it wasn't at all sinister, I promise! He wanted her to submit to him but recognized her inability and unwillingness to do so, which was totally against his culture.
The characters' feelings seemed so authentic to me. How could a sixteen year old possibly think she knew enough to totally change every aspect of her life to be with a boy? That's what's genius. Only someone so young and totally in love (and infatuation) would be able to think about throwing caution to the wind and jumping in.
What didn't I love? Rose cried too much! (lol) I didn't love Noah's parents or Rose's brother, Sam. I felt like they were all too flip-floppy. I don't want to spoil, so that's all I will say about that. :) I'm hoping we'll get more explanation for at least Sam's behavior in the next book. I also didn't love that Noah's faith wasn't more prominent. It was mentioned, but I would have thought that he would pray for direction more. He didn't even ask Rose if she was a Christian, which I found odd. The other thing that I found strange was that Rose didn't seem to ask many questions about their way of life. I guess a lot of that will happen in Belonging
, but I'm surprised by her lack of inquisitiveness here.
This was a surprisingly quick read with characters that I enjoyed and a unique storyline, and I think you'll like it too!