One of the questions that I get asked A LOT from my followers and friends is whether or not Amish women read Amish fiction.
The answer to that, quite simply, is YES!
Now, if you had asked me that same question about five years ago, I might have answered differently. At that time, most of my experience with the Amish was limited to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. And almost all of my Amish friends lived on farms. Large farms that required an awful lot of work. Raising large families, tending to enormous herds of dairy cows, cutting acres and acres of hay, and dealing with the different fields of crops meant that women did not have a lot of time for reading. If anything, they read the Bible, devotionals, or the monthly magazine, Family Life.
But a few years back, I learned otherwise. A friend of mine was attending a supper at an Amish house and the women seated around the table began to talk about Amish fiction. The hostess, a woman by the name of Naomi, commented that she enjoyed reading Amish fiction but her favorite book, so far, was (cough cough) Plain Fame written by yours truly.
Let me tell you, I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard this story. You see, I always thought that my general readership was non-Amish Christian women who wanted to read clean and wholesome books that were set in the Amish country. As Christians, they loved the Amish religion (like I do) and as women, they loved the wholesome and clean Amish culture (just like me). But to learn that an Amish woman not only read Amish fiction but loved my Plain Fame book?
Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Indiana and met a young Amish woman who also read Amish fiction. She had a personal favorite author and then read one of my books. She, too, was an easy convert. 😉
Since that time, I’ve encountered more and more Amish women who do, indeed, read Amish fiction. I love hearing their opinions of the different authors and story lines. Unlike many readers, these women can quickly ascertain which authors know their stuff and which ones do not.
Personally, I’m a stickler for accuracy and when I read other Amish fiction authors who write silly things, I get upset and throw the book (if it’s paperback) across the room–like the time I read about an epitaph on a gravestone in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that read “…dearly beloved daughter, wife, and mother.” Amish do not write such things on their gravestones, at least not in Pennsylvania! A small error that told me a lot about this author.
Anyway, it makes sense that Amish woman read Amish fiction. I enjoy reading different genres and, quite often, read contemporary women’s fiction. So why wouldn’t Amish women read books that are centered in their own communities?
It just goes to prove that you never know what you don’t know until you learn that didn’t know it to begin with. 🙂