Today I have a guest post from author Karen Ann Hopkins on the topic of shunning in the Amish community. This is something very important to understand when reading both Temptation and Belonging because the idea of shunning drives so many decisions that the characters in these books make while interacting with each other.
Just the sound of the word shunning is ominous. I’d heard the word in relation to Amish culture at different times throughout the years, but it wasn’t until I moved into an Amish community four and a half years ago that the word really resonated with me.
Shunning is a term that Amish people use to describe the act of cutting off relations with a relative or friend, because of that person’s actions. Interestingly, most people assume shunning is permanent, but it’s is also used as a term to describe short-term punishment of a member of a community. On several occasions, teens in my own community were given terms of four to six weeks of shunning as discipline for breaking the church’s rules. During that time period, they were unable to take a meal with their family or other members of the church. They weren’t allowed to attend church events either, but the worst part of the retribution was having their sins told to the entire congregation on Sunday while they sat on the splintery bench before their peers. Shunning is the highest form of penalty for the act of rebellion. The type of disobedience instituting that kind of punishment usually involves sexuality, alcohol consumption or using modern technology.
The word takes on a much more sinister dimension when a person is permanently shunned from their family and community. This happens when a person, usually a young adult, chooses to leave the Amish community. The flight from the community commonly involves a relationship with an outsider or the desire for higher education and more financial opportunities. Once a person decides to take the path to the outside world, they are no longer welcome into their family’s home or at community events. They may still have some contact with relatives and friends, but it’s limited and they’re not allowed to take meals together or offer their assistance in any way to an Amish person again.
This is why Noah’s choice to leave his own Meadowview Amish community to be with the love of his life, Rose, is such a dire decision. If he chooses to be with Rose, he will lose the close ties with his family forever.
In my own experience, some of the teens who’ve left their communities have returned and settled back into Amish life, but there have been a few times when Amish teens have left their culture and happily accepted their new lives in the outside world. Regardless of the outcome, it’s never an easy decision.
Your heart misleads you.
That's what my friends and family say.
But I love Noah.
And he loves me.
We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other's arms.
It should be
ROSE & NOAH
But it won't be.
Because he's Amish.
And I'm not.
Buy it on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, Facebook
Or add it to your Goodreads list.
I left everything I knew behind.
But it was worth it. He was worth it.
No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself.
If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE
But not everybody believes this is where I belong.
Buy it on Amazon, B&N, Indiebound
Or add it to your Goodreads list.
About the author:
A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.
Find her on Facebook, Goodreads, Blog
15 signed copies of Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Follow the tour. Go to the official tour page to see all the participating blogs.