Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels

Front Cover
JHU Press, Apr 15, 2013 - Fiction - 315 pages

Take a peek beneath the bonnet.

Browse the inspirational fiction section of your local bookstore, and you will likely find cover after cover depicting virtuous young women cloaked in modest dresses and wearing a pensive or playful expression. They hover innocently above sun-drenched pastures or rustic country lanes, often with a horse-drawn buggy in the background—or the occasional brawny stranger. Romance novels with Amish protagonists, such as the best-selling trailblazer The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, are becoming increasingly popular with a largely evangelical female audience. Thrill of the Chaste is the first book to analyze this growing trend in romance fiction and to place it into the context of contemporary literature, religion, and popular culture.

Valerie Weaver-Zercher combines research and interviews with devoted readers, publishers, and authors to produce a lively and provocative examination of the Amish romance novel. She discusses strategies that literary agents and booksellers use to drive the genre’s popularity. By asking questions about authenticity, cultural appropriation, and commodification, Thrill of the Chaste also considers Amish fiction’s effects on Amish and non-Amish audiences alike.

 

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Contents

Slap a Bonnet on the Cover
3
The DNA of Amish Romance Novels
27
An Evangelical and an Amishman Walk into a Barn
57
Taking the Amish to Market
79
Is Amishness Next to Godliness?
105
An Amish Country Getaway
129
Virgin Mothers
155
Amish Reading Amish
179
Something Borrowed Something True
199
Happily Ever After
231
Notes
251
Bibliography
295
Index
305
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Valerie Weaver-Zercher is a writer and editor whose work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Mennonite Weekly Review, and elsewhere.