Why is it so popular? What’s the big draw to stories taking place in the Amish culture?
I was in Walmart today, looking for lightbulbs, and happened to walk by the book section. There are not that many book for sale in Walmart–the latest commercial fiction, a handful of nonfiction, and some kids’ books. That’s it. (And yet, they sell more books than any other bookseller. Go figure.) But even I was surprised to see that a whole shelf was devoted to Amish fiction.
If you’ve never been tempted to read an Amish Romance, you’re probably shaking your head and saying, why? Why does anyone want to read about women in drab dresses and men with goofy beards and straw hats? Why do so many readers LOVE these heartwarming stories?
I used to think the interest was mostly in the faith element. And I’m sure that that is a part of it. But as I began my own research for the writing of Plain Secrets, I discovered that Amish fiction has this “other” world quality. In much the same way that reading Historical Fiction takes us back to a time of different standards and comforts, Amish stories are filled with characters who live such different daily lives from our own, they seem almost foreign. And this isn’t all. The Amish have priorities quite different than the majority of Americans. It’s this concept of community first–community needs before those needs of the individual. And so, the much of the conflict in Plain Secrets is a struggle of the characters trying to find some balance in this.
I’m ashamed to say that my generation is pretty far removed from that sort of thinking. It was something I gave much thought to as I wrote Plain Secrets.
Anyway, I think that this is just one of the charming elements of Amish fiction that draw in the modern day reader.