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A Forbidden Rumspringa

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When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for explora When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name. Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community. Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all? Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.


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When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for explora When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything? In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name. Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community. Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all? Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.

30 review for A Forbidden Rumspringa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Cullinan

    Scroll through my Twitter feed Friday evening from about 5 until 9 on September 5, and you will see me freaking the fuck out over a book. This is the book. I've been seeing this book around, and I gotta tell you, I was saying no. Because I could think of eight million ways this setup could go horribly, terribly wrong. Having grown up in a family full of pastors and living near two different Amish communities in my life, one the Amish/Mennonite megahub that is Kalona, Iowa, I know Amish, well, and Scroll through my Twitter feed Friday evening from about 5 until 9 on September 5, and you will see me freaking the fuck out over a book. This is the book. I've been seeing this book around, and I gotta tell you, I was saying no. Because I could think of eight million ways this setup could go horribly, terribly wrong. Having grown up in a family full of pastors and living near two different Amish communities in my life, one the Amish/Mennonite megahub that is Kalona, Iowa, I know Amish, well, and while I don't wish to join their lifestyle, I have deep, intense respect for it and their right to live how they wish to. I also know how a gay Amish man would be received, that there's a lot we wouldn't expect in both the accepting and non-accepting departments. I feared a lot of over-angst. I feared slipshod research, over sentimentalization and basically an exploitation of a community. For no other reason than that's what I've seen when I've read Amish romances, far too many times. And if the respect was there, how could there be an HEA? I mean, really? I couldn't work it out. I feared obvious conflicts and all kinds of things bad. I thought, this is stupid, I can't read this book. There's no way. But I caved and read the Amazon sample. The moment on the barn beam hooked me. Hard. I saw the price and thought, okay. I'll bite. I will stand here now, hat in hand and say, not a single fear was realized. Not one. It is full of research and respect and knowledge and FULL understanding. It is not over-angsted. It is fucking hot, while not being gauche given the subject matter. It ends happily, but I swear to god, at 93 fucking percent complete, I still wasn't sure. I really, really worried. I couldn't imagine how. And when it was done, I exhaled with those best of breaths. The ones where you know everything is okay, and you made it, they made it, EVERYBODY FUCKING MADE IT and the sun will come up tomorrow, and two boys will be happily snuggled in corner of it somewhere. I needed this book. This month has been surgical recovery, too many books, too many decisions, too much everything. This week ended with me feeling weird and overwhelmed for reasons both identifiable and not. I've become very, very picky lately, hating almost everything I read. I wanted so much to love this book, but it could not have me cheaply. It had me. It caught me, made me, took me up to the stars and let me run. No, it's not fancy, and that's why I like it. It's sweet, delightful. It made me sigh and freak out and worry and basically let go. If I still haven't sold you and you like my stuff, and you read Love Lessons? This is Walter and Kelly go Amish. I mean, not really. But it is, in its way. Those archetypes. And this was self published. She did this all herself and the team she hired. Hot. Damn. Just fucking go buy it. Read it. Do it. Five goddamned fucking stars. I'm not normally one for sequels post HEA, but I'm totally down for this one. I'm all the hell over it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

    Heart-rending, poignant, and unbearably moving, A Forbidden Rumspringa is without a doubt one of the best books of the year. Raw, real, intense, this is a story of a forbidden affair, a Rumspringa of the heart, a sexual awakening of the deepest kind. As he collapsed with David on top of him, still buried in him, pressing little kisses to his neck and murmuring tender words of praise and love, Isaac didn't care. Let it be like this. Religion oppresses, but growing up “plain,” conservati Heart-rending, poignant, and unbearably moving, A Forbidden Rumspringa is without a doubt one of the best books of the year. Raw, real, intense, this is a story of a forbidden affair, a Rumspringa of the heart, a sexual awakening of the deepest kind. As he collapsed with David on top of him, still buried in him, pressing little kisses to his neck and murmuring tender words of praise and love, Isaac didn't care. Let it be like this. Religion oppresses, but growing up “plain,” conservative Amish in modern-day America brings with it almost unimaginable fear and shame, especially if you’re young and gay. David and Isaac cherish each other. Theirs is an all-encompassing love: possessive, gentle, sweet, a joining of body and soul. “Touching you feels right. It feels beautiful. It makes me so happy, Isaac. If it’s a sin, then I’ll gladly call myself a sinner.” Isaac stroked David’s back, his eyes closed. “Sinners both," he whispered. Isaac and David are on fire. The explorations, kissing, and fervid love making deepen their feelings and make their situation all the more fragile and tragic. Both men have kind families who love them, and that makes it all the harder to make the tough choice, even if to stay means to wither. But with each breath, Isaac grew surer that he would be a different kind of man. The writing is evocative, the characters vivid and complex. Andrews doesn’t preach; she paints a relentless picture of a small community desperately clinging to the old way. There is no judgment, no condemnation, no theatrics. The angst here is so believable because it’s real. How do you break away from the only life you’ve ever known? How do you choose between your lover and your family? How do you betray the God to whom you've prayed? There’s not a flaw in this book. The guilt, shame, longing, passion: they're all there. Love doesn't conquer all, but it's easier to stand with someone by your side. The last chapter is bittersweet, but Isaac and David will find their way. The ending is but their beginning. If hell waited one way or the other now, then let it be like this. "Yes," he moaned. "Give me all of it."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    3.5 stars. Review completed September 15, 2014 First things first. I’ll admit I had my little epiphany after the 15 % mark. Rumspringa sounds similar to our Swiss German umeschpringä and after Googling a bit I know it is also spelled rumschpringe. Now that does sound like Swiss German too because Switzerland knows plenty of different dialects. (view spoiler)[And rumschpringe could be translated as “run about” in the widest sense of the word. Thus, running about and finding a spouse (time for cour 3.5 stars. Review completed September 15, 2014 First things first. I’ll admit I had my little epiphany after the 15 % mark. Rumspringa sounds similar to our Swiss German umeschpringä and after Googling a bit I know it is also spelled rumschpringe. Now that does sound like Swiss German too because Switzerland knows plenty of different dialects. (view spoiler)[And rumschpringe could be translated as “run about” in the widest sense of the word. Thus, running about and finding a spouse (time for courtship). However, what David and Isaac are doing is forbidden. Hence, A Forbidden Rumspringa and that’s the perfect title for this book. (hide spoiler)] I really liked A Forbidden Rumspringa a lot but didn't love it. Just this week I read an extremely shoddy edited and poorly written story and "holding" such a nicely edited and very well-written book in my hands appeased me greatly. After I posted my update at 66 %, the story somewhat tanked, though. That's the reason I had to downgrade my rating to 3/3.5 stars. There was a particular incident that angered me (view spoiler)[(the accident, which of course, was the allegedly “perfect” reason to add some manufactured drama to their relationship but David will come to his senses right before Isaac is determined to leave the Amish community and join his brother in San Francisco) (hide spoiler)] and towards the end it got a bit too sappy and weepy for my liking. While I really enjoyed Isaac and David as a couple, I could never warm up to the Amish lifestyle and their beliefs. It bothered me that parents, especially mothers, withhold affection, i.e. a mom mother does not hug her child. I have no idea how the Amish get around certain laws and rules of the so-called English. How come they can drive their buggies in the dark without proper lighting? They didn't even want to use the orange triangles. Seriously, it doesn't get any more primitive but even that was too worldly for them. I'm sure the States have traffic laws, too. (view spoiler)[Amish willingly put their lives in God's hands. While they are free to put themselves in harm's way, it is all kinds of wrong to endanger other people when they drive around in their buggies at night. Oh, and isn't it hypocritical to live according to their backward Ordnung, but when David's mother was so badly hurt, they were quick to accept help and rush off to the ER? Now for that kind of emergency the English are good enough, aren't they? (hide spoiler)] How come the Amish can home-school their kids and deny them knowledge that would be acquired at a public school? Where I'm living there are laws as to how long a child has to attend school (mandatory schooling). There are laws and orders as to what exactly a student has to learn over the years whether he/she goes to a public or private school but also in case a kid will be home-schooled. As a mother, I am shocked that these people refuse their kids access to a modern world solely based on their beliefs and in doing so, they deny them a proper and good education. Do you really think that some reading, writing, and basic maths is all they need? Is the Bible study all they need? Moreover, I am appalled that the elders don't allow the children to have a personal opinion. Fact is, there is no room for personal development. None whatsoever. It's the equivalent of being brainwashed. Amish people seem to be afraid of losing their offspring to the English world. There are religious expectations and pressure and the youngies have to obey. Subjecting the young people to that oppression just goes to show how much the elders are afraid. They want to retain them in their community and to manage that they have to keep the young people on a very short leash. I'm just glad (view spoiler)[the story ended the way it did, though. Isaac and David left the Amish community to start over in San Francisco. (hide spoiler)] Every little insignificant detail is defined in their Ordnung, which has to be followed to the letter, and of course every worldly thing is a sin. Apropos sin: while the sex was hot (most probably waaaay too hot according to Amish standards), I daresay it might not have been realistic. Two young men, and virgins at that, who have grown up so overly sheltered and cut off from all worldly and "sinful" things, go at it without awkwardly fumbling around, without hesitation; fact is, they practically go at it like pros, especially David. Ogling a couple of dirty pics in a porn magazine can't have taken care of their insecurities. But wait, they weren't insecure at all. Given the fact how uptight and repressed these people are, I have to wonder how they have intercourse. Do they do the deed in the dark, half-clothed and feeling ashamed? Seriously, I have my doubts that they would sex it up (view spoiler)[in the shower, provided they have a shower stall in the first place. Mind you, it's a huge sin to have a shower and a toilet in the house, isn't it? (hide spoiler)] I suppose since they study the Bible and worship God it's not about giving each other pleasure either; it's all about be fruitful and multiply, which by the way, leads me to another issue. It really irritated me when they were talking about some families who had to starve because they couldn't make ends meet. Then. Stop. Breeding. Kids. For. Pete's. Sake. There's no need to have six, seven, eight, nine or ten kids. When you aren't well off, then it's absolutely unreasonable to have such a big family. Bottom line, Amish are devout people and it came through loud and clear here. However, I enjoy succumbing to the worldly temptations and being a member of the Amish community would mean I must not read romance books anymore. That’s unthinkable. The oppressive Ordnung wouldn’t do anything for me. I don’t cherish God but I sure cherish my freedom in general and the freedom of expression in particular. Moreover I treasure the prerogative to have choices that will make me happy. There is no need to beat around the bush, I found the religious aspect of A Forbidden Rumspringa too overwhelming and preachy, which leads me to my conclusion that I'm just not keen on reading more (gay) Amish romance books in the future. I will, however, read the next installment because I'd like to know how David and Isaac's story is going to end. Besides, since (view spoiler)[the next book is set in San Francisco, I guess the Amish world will only play a minor role which I'd appreciate very much. (hide spoiler)] Thus, I'm rather positive that I will enjoy the sequel more. Also, I'm interested to see what kind of stories the author has in store in the future. If you can ignore my issues then I'd say read this book. You might end up loving it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shile

    Audiobook - 4 stars Story 3.5 stars Not what I expected and ended up enjoying it more. My take is this is what happens when two boys discover what their hands and dicks can do, orgasms, ass, lips, prostate etc. Isaac and David did use what God gave them for betterment of their sex lives. Yapp, they fucked like bunnies. I liked that the religion stuff was not extreme. I ended up enjoying it. Audiobook - 4 stars Story 3.5 stars Not what I expected and ended up enjoying it more. My take is this is what happens when two boys discover what their hands and dicks can do, orgasms, ass, lips, prostate etc. Isaac and David did use what God gave them for betterment of their sex lives. Yapp, they fucked like bunnies. I liked that the religion stuff was not extreme. I ended up enjoying it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    **Kindle Freebie 9/17/20!** I swear, one day I WILL read this book. **Kindle Freebie 9/17/20!** I swear, one day I WILL read this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    4.5 stars Well shit. This book was like looking in a mirror. ...except of course I'm a single, heterosexual, Asian woman living the life of awholelottasin...and Isaac & David are...not. Other than that... Ok, so you don't really need to know my whole life's history. But in a nutshell, I grew up in a REALLY crazy Christian background (two words: "Jesus Camp") and how I ended up being where I am today is a long, sordid tale. Let's just say that I related almost uncomfortably with the struggles of 4.5 stars Well shit. This book was like looking in a mirror. ...except of course I'm a single, heterosexual, Asian woman living the life of awholelottasin...and Isaac & David are...not. Other than that... Ok, so you don't really need to know my whole life's history. But in a nutshell, I grew up in a REALLY crazy Christian background (two words: "Jesus Camp") and how I ended up being where I am today is a long, sordid tale. Let's just say that I related almost uncomfortably with the struggles of the 2 MC's in A Forbidden Rumspringa...especially in the vain of all that I thought I was not allowed to do...choices I was not permitted to make. Always living every moment in fear of getting caught sinning, shame of feelings & emotions, and guilt...good god, the guilt, of not being perfectly obedient. So this book was a very personal read for me in many ways. And on top of that? It's just a damn good book! I hesitated to start this book for awhile...bowing out of 3 different buddy reads of the book! (slacker!) It's just "religious" books are my personal favorites. And something about being set in an Amish community almost made me feel like I was...infringing?...disrespecting?...their way of life. And, mostly, I'm just a wimp...and I'd heard there's some angst in here (funny how angst has become this ONE word that describes any kind of emotion other than utter bliss in books today...) So, who cares why it took me so long to read it. Story goes, I read it, and I'm reeling... The attraction, and then the slow revelation of love, between David and Isaac, 2 young men of-age to join the church and commit completely to the very strict sect of Amish community, was addictive. I was fascinated by the lifestyle...the rules. I was fascinated about how some are made for the simple life and some aren't. I was fascinated how much we take for granted that is different in the way people live even in our same country. And of course, I was stricken and INTENSELY STRESSED OUT at anything close to a situation where the two, sneaking around to experience their lust and love, might get caught (<-this...THIS...was all too familiar from my own youth) I also really loved how this book wasn't just about the two main characters. But it was also about each of them separately...and their individual struggles of responsibility, family, fear, their attraction to other men. It made me feel invested in each of them as individuals as much as I was in them as a couple. The author takes her time in laying out this story, but boy does she spin a tale for the ages. I was at the edge of my SEAT...my heart pounding...dying to know what happens...despite being in this quiet, simple backdrop of this Amish community. And she manages to really put some delightfully sexy "let's explore each other and our sexuality cause I can't keep my hands off of you " scenes. I'll admit, my only TINY TINY niggle was that David seemed pretty experienced with knowing how to have sex (including prepping his partner) after having only seen 1 dirty magazine and a handful of action movies. But I can get over this... :) I'm dying to know how this THREE BOOK (yes!!!!!) series is going to play out...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Eli Easton

    Every once in a while, a writer reads a book and thinks "Damn it! I wish I'd written that." In case it's not clear, that's a high compliment. :-) This is one of those books. I live in Lancaster County, PA, (Amish country) and this past spring wrote a murder mystery/romance set among the Amish that's currently making the publisher rounds. So I was anxious to read this book. In a word: it's very well done! I love that both of the MCs are Amish and the setting and their personalities felt very real t Every once in a while, a writer reads a book and thinks "Damn it! I wish I'd written that." In case it's not clear, that's a high compliment. :-) This is one of those books. I live in Lancaster County, PA, (Amish country) and this past spring wrote a murder mystery/romance set among the Amish that's currently making the publisher rounds. So I was anxious to read this book. In a word: it's very well done! I love that both of the MCs are Amish and the setting and their personalities felt very real to me. It's hot, and romantic, and just lovely. Yum! Highly recommended and I look forward to the sequel.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gigi

    OK, I have given this review some thought and this is how I've decided to handle it: I am a great fan of Keira Andrews and I thought she did a fantastic job with this book, like she does with all her books. If I had known the true content of the book before reading it, I would NOT have read it, because I found the subject matter so off-putting. Therefore, I will not be rating this one. I cannot adequately express just how much I absolutely loathe anything to do with organized religion. I mean OK, I have given this review some thought and this is how I've decided to handle it: I am a great fan of Keira Andrews and I thought she did a fantastic job with this book, like she does with all her books. If I had known the true content of the book before reading it, I would NOT have read it, because I found the subject matter so off-putting. Therefore, I will not be rating this one. I cannot adequately express just how much I absolutely loathe anything to do with organized religion. I mean really, really can't take it in any way, shape or form. In the blurb for this book, it states This is not an inspirational/Christian romance. And it's not. But when I decided to read this one, I was under the impression that the religious aspects were only a small part of the story and that the love story was the main focus. That is NOT the case. This book is about a fictional radical Amish sect in Minnesota and how two gay men from the community come together and fall in love. There was rarely one moment in the book you didn't feel the religious overtones strangling these boys. It was depressing and actually even made me feel claustrophobic at times. According to the epilogue, there will be a sequel coming out in 2015 and I gather it will be more uplifting, but I just can't see how I would be able to read about these boys again after seeing how badly they suffered already living in that oppressive, borderline abusive community. My recommendation to you is to stay away if you have a problem with organized religion, like I do. If that doesn't bother you, please read some of the fabulous reviews posted here at GoodReads. They are absolutely glowing! And that makes me very, very glad for the talented Ms. Keira Andrews. I will be starting Semper Fi for Christmas vacation and could not be more excited! P.S. Eva, I will always love you more than my luggage! That will never change.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    5 Heartbreaking Eechel stars Heading into this story, I didn't really know what I was in for. And I'm so very glad I've read it. A forbidden romance... *sigh* For me this story was believable, heartbreakingly raw, honest and filled with love. David and Isaac are two characters who will stay with me... *sigh* David and Issac were so beautiful and intense together “I’ve dreamed about this. Having you here. Properly, I mean.” He pressed a kiss to Isaac’s throat, then unhooked his shirt, punctua 5 Heartbreaking Eechel stars Heading into this story, I didn't really know what I was in for. And I'm so very glad I've read it. A forbidden romance... *sigh* For me this story was believable, heartbreakingly raw, honest and filled with love. David and Isaac are two characters who will stay with me... *sigh* David and Issac were so beautiful and intense together “I’ve dreamed about this. Having you here. Properly, I mean.” He pressed a kiss to Isaac’s throat, then unhooked his shirt, punctuating each word with another kiss. “Naked. Wet. Begging.” “But as he collapsed with David on him, still buried in him, pressing little kisses to his neck and murmuring tender words of praise and love, Isaac didn’t care. Let it be like this.” I found the Amish way of life fascinating and cruel at the same time on so many levels... The fact that David and Issac had to hide completely was gut wrenching. It's not just them that would be made to suffer, but their families as well. Neither boy was willing to do that. Even though they risked everything for each other, they still put their families above themselves. Even in the end, they tried to be as selfless as they could. "David had drawn his fingertips down Isaac’s cheek. “This will be our own little rumspringa. They never have to know." There is so much I could say about this story, but it would never be enough. So deep. So emotional. Some parts made me cry. Some made me angry. Some made me smile. The writing is wonderful. The characters so very alive. Loved. Recommended. Keira Andrews has got a personalised shelf. Cannot wait for the sequel. “But you still want me? You still love me?” David’s voice was little more than a whisper. “Always, Eechel.” Thank you Isabel and Barbara for reading this book with me .

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ingie

    Written September 28, 2014 4 1/2 Stars - Wonderfully touching and beautifully tender. A love-story in my taste. This Amish M/M topic felt irresistible interesting. I saw an update about this new book a couple of weeks ago and couldn't resist the temptation. I did as I usually do, I clicked and downloaded. A Forbidden Rumspringa cracked. Memorable good! I kind of fell head over heels for this amazing story from the first page. A partially very quiet and low-key novel with all emotions tr Written September 28, 2014 4 1/2 Stars - Wonderfully touching and beautifully tender. A love-story in my taste. This Amish M/M topic felt irresistible interesting. I saw an update about this new book a couple of weeks ago and couldn't resist the temptation. I did as I usually do, I clicked and downloaded. A Forbidden Rumspringa cracked. Memorable good! I kind of fell head over heels for this amazing story from the first page. A partially very quiet and low-key novel with all emotions trembling beneath the surface. Still, a tough reading. ~ A strong emotional reading. Sooooo very "happydancing" glad I picked this one from the large bunch of new romances books you want to own and read, every single week. ********************************************** From Wikipedia Rumspringa (...) is a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish community during which a youth temporarily leaves the community to experience life in the outside world. (more: ..) (view spoiler)[ The Amish, a subsect of the Anabaptist Christian movement, intentionally segregate themselves from other communities as a part of their faith. The Rumspringa normally begins around the age of 14 to 16 and ends when a youth chooses baptism within the Amish church, or instead leaves the community. The vast majority choose baptism and remain in the church. Not all Amish use this term... (...) (hide spoiler)] ********************************************** In an isolated and very conservative Amish village community on the countryside. # Isaac Byler 18, knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else. 'It was true - an Amish man did need his own buggy. But with each breath, Isaac grew surer that he would be a different kind of man.' # The carpenter David Lantz Dark 22, has been left alone after a dark tragedy to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. ‘His lips were gentle, and Isaac had never felt so cared for. So special. “My little eechel.” The endearment was nonsence—little acorn—but Isaac's heart swelled.’ Isaac can't resist the temptation to look a bit extra at some men sometimes. When this story starts has his parents just arranged a place as a carpenter trainee for him at David's. Isaac feel an inner resistance, David is kind of different... ********************************************** I smiled, sighted, was enchanted excited about the Amish M/M topic (and the actual story-plot). I was also mostly very happy about this story's progression and development. Read it nevertheless cautiously with squinting eyes. It felt so incredibly unpredictable. Yep, delightful reading! ...But I was in the same time fussy worried to break my own heart of anxiety. A dangerous heartbreaking nervous reading. I muttered all the time, “please”, give me (and course Isaac and David), a nice beautiful end. An solution with hope for a lovely HEA future. —A Forbidden Rumspringa is after all a romance-book and they must always get you a grand happy end.— Or? Right..?! ~ I just had to belive in that. ********************************************** “If you pray hard enough? What will happen? You'll stop being a...you'll stop being gay?” The word still felt foreign on his tounge, but he knew he had to say it out loud.’ Two young Amish boys in love? Is that even possible? Someone —the MC's, the parents, siblings etc— would be hurt. Such a closed society, such a different everyday life... Isaac is nearly adult but hasn't been outside in the (dangerous 'English') real world for years. He know next to anything about "ordinary" life. He doesn't watch TV, read papers, use a phone/cell or even a simple mirror. He is supposed to be plain, trust God in everything, obey his parents and the 'olders' - and don't ask any questions. He is 18 but in mind still a boy. His feelings and attraction for another man get him to start thinking and questioning. Yes, he was perhaps too slow and naive sometimes. But that's what's so charming and made me trust and belive in this story. This isn't a story about a precocious youngster. Instead we meet a young boy who are accustomed to obey and follow amounts of unjustified old-fashioned rules of life. To do was his parents tell him. To ask if he could go out and meet friends for a while. So very different. Would a member in this Amish parish choose to leave his/hers familys way of life, would he/she be next to "dead" for family and friends. To realize that you're gay doubles difficulties in this closed society. ********************************************** A quite simple story but so thrilling captivating and touching. ~ I'm overwhelmed and delighted. There are certainly details and stuff to say something about, and to turn inside out, here also. ~ Well well! For me is this a genuinely good (with a fresh new topic sense) romantic novel about a young man and some tough life choices. A lovely novel about life, fear and strong emotions. Isaac's and David's desire, feelings, thoughts, were just amazing strong and so very tender. ~ Steaming hot on the grass under god's own heaven, in the hay in barns and over a carpenter bench (oh yeah!!) as well. ~ I want this movie. Recommended for lovers of novels with a romances feeling on it. I LIKE - Thanks for these sparkling little gems that add luster to my romance reading

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    BR with friends on 8 december! What a fantastic book! A Forbidden Rumspringa is real, intense, this is a story of a forbidden affair, a “Rumspringa” of the heart, a sexual awakening so moving, so heart-rending both the writing and storytelling were fantastic! Keira Andrews brings us into the heart of the Amish, a super conservative religious sector within the Amish community that rigid by the bishop lifestyle where everyone is under constant surveillance and believes in zero contact with the “eng BR with friends on 8 december! What a fantastic book! A Forbidden Rumspringa is real, intense, this is a story of a forbidden affair, a “Rumspringa” of the heart, a sexual awakening so moving, so heart-rending both the writing and storytelling were fantastic! Keira Andrews brings us into the heart of the Amish, a super conservative religious sector within the Amish community that rigid by the bishop lifestyle where everyone is under constant surveillance and believes in zero contact with the “english”, but for me was not preachy, it did not paint the Amish in a bad light and it pulled me right into the community where David and Isaac live. The angst here is so believable because it’s real needless to say, there was a lot of angst in this story leading to quite a few tears on my part., David and Isaac are so sweet I felt so much love for them. They are so good together; “Touching you feels right. It feels…beautiful. It makes me so happy, Isaac. If it’s a sin, then I’ll gladly call myself a sinner.” You just can’t comprehend anything for them but a happily ever after. Therefore I am eager for book two :D Thanks to my friends for Reading with me!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Henry

    For some reason I thought I wouldn't like this book. For some reason I bought it anyway. This book gave me real human feelz. I'll try not to hold that against it. It is, ultimately, a sweet story about two young men who fall in love, with the added complication that they live in a very strict Amish community. I loved the attention to detail here, BTW. I don't know much about the Amish, and I feel like I actually learned something from this. As much as I wanted these guys to get their HEA... a pa For some reason I thought I wouldn't like this book. For some reason I bought it anyway. This book gave me real human feelz. I'll try not to hold that against it. It is, ultimately, a sweet story about two young men who fall in love, with the added complication that they live in a very strict Amish community. I loved the attention to detail here, BTW. I don't know much about the Amish, and I feel like I actually learned something from this. As much as I wanted these guys to get their HEA... a part of me also didn't. Because for these guys to be together, they will have to leave their community, and their family, behind. Isaac already knows this. He has an older brother who left the community in disgrace and was excommunicated. One of the most heartbreaking parts of this story is when he mentions his brother's name and his littlest brother, born after the oldest brother left, asks who that is. "Nobody," says their father. A really quite wonderful story about two really quite wonderful guys, doing something crazy and dangerous and courageous all at the same time. Bring on Book 2, please!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nick Pageant

    You can read a wonderful review here. You can read a wonderful review here.

  14. 4 out of 5

    The Bursting Bookshelf of a Wallflower

    Story: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ MCs: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover: ⭐⭐⭐ With Keira Andrews being the author of one of my all-time favorite M/M romance books (Semper Fi), I decided to give A Forbidden Rumspringa a try despite the fact that is focusing on organized religion - a topic that I am not usually going for. ---The Blurb--- Growing up in the strictly religious community of Swartzentruber Amish in Zebulon in which things such as mirrors, in-house bathrooms, zippers, computers and feelings such as pride and homosexual love are f Story: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ MCs: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover: ⭐⭐⭐ With Keira Andrews being the author of one of my all-time favorite M/M romance books (Semper Fi), I decided to give A Forbidden Rumspringa a try despite the fact that is focusing on organized religion - a topic that I am not usually going for. ---The Blurb--- Growing up in the strictly religious community of Swartzentruber Amish in Zebulon in which things such as mirrors, in-house bathrooms, zippers, computers and feelings such as pride and homosexual love are forbidden and sinful, eighteen-year-old Isaac Byler doesn't enjoy farming and can't believe his luck, when his father allows him to become the apprentice of twenty two-year-old carpenter David Lantz, who he has felt attracked to since ages. ---The main characters and their relationship--- Both Isaac and David were very interesting main characters that were struggling to accept themselves as being gay in their community. Curious about worldly things such as going to the movies, listening to music or drinking alcohol, Isaac and David soon become friends and while at first trying to keep themselves from expressing their true feelings towards each other, the attraction between them keeps growing. That was why he tried to avoid David Lantz. There was sin threatening to bloom in Isaac's soul, and he had to tamp it down. . While constantly being overshadowed by the fear of being discovered and their inner emotional turmoil, a beautiful, deep and incredibly passionate relationship develops between Isaac and David. Isaac waited for the horror of what they'd done to reach him. Yet as they kissed and breathed each other in, Isaac felt only a peace and wholeness he hadn't realized he'd been missing. That it was a sin, he had no doubt. But it was the sweetest he'd ever known.. And wow ... the sex has been extremely hot. I actually wasn't expecting that at all, but it definitely ranges in my favorite books when it comes to that aspect. Brace yourselves! What would it be like to have David behind him, taking control of him - possessing him? Throat dry, he dug his fingers into the wheathered wood of the fence. As surely as the mare was in heat, so was Isaac. Dreaming to break away from all the rules that they are unable to understand, are they going to be willing to risk losing everything in order to live the life they really want or is their relationship nothing more than a forbidden rumspringa? "What do you think about?" David ran his fingertips over Isaac's shaking thighs. "Trains. Going far away. Rattling over the rails so, so fast." With Isaac's brother that has been to be shunned after his excommunication and the hurt this has caused his parents and David carrying the responsibility for his whole family on his shoulders after the death of his father and a more recent tragic event, leaving the community behind doesn't seem an option. Or is it? ---What's noteworthy--- The book wasn't black or white - it wasn't painting the Amish in a bad way. I liked that the main characters started to question the strict rules they are forced to follow while still being able to see the good in their parents and their friends. God forbid we learn something. [...] They know the more we learn, the more we'll question. The more we question and explore, the more children they'll lose to the world. Warning: As the note in the blurb indicates A Forbidden Rumspringa is not an inspirational/Christian romance and it isn't - it is a very well-researched story that is giving an insight into the Amish community with all it entails. However, the oppressive religious rules and the impact that they are having on Isaac and David and the whole community are omnipresent in the story. Even in the very emotional scenes between Isaac and David, the Ordnung and the potential consequences of acting against it are constantly a part of the relationship and the boys' thoughts.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elsbeth

    BR, June 25th with Paul, Nathan and Julie (re-re-read for Julie, Nathan and myself) ============================================ BR, January 31st with Marco, Momo, Marte and Julie... (re-read for Julie and Myself) Sequel, February 3rd Again... 5 utterly deserved stars!!!! it!!!! Maybe I'll add in my review tomo. I don't have words now. I'm sobbing again!!! So beautiful.... ============================================ BR, Friday September 19th with Susan, Penumbra, Kaylor and Julie This is a difficult rev BR, June 25th with Paul, Nathan and Julie (re-re-read for Julie, Nathan and myself) ============================================ BR, January 31st with Marco, Momo, Marte and Julie... (re-read for Julie and Myself) Sequel, February 3rd Again... 5 utterly deserved stars!!!! it!!!! Maybe I'll add in my review tomo. I don't have words now. I'm sobbing again!!! So beautiful.... ============================================ BR, Friday September 19th with Susan, Penumbra, Kaylor and Julie This is a difficult review for me… I loved this book because it shook me to the core but I also hated it. I hate that people are feeling trapped and are denied any form of happiness!! This is a story about two Amish boys. These two young men, Isaac and David have not joined their church yet, but they are considered to soon be married and start a family of their own. Isaac yearns for something else but doesn’t know what it is, until he starts to work as a carpenter with David. David, the eldest son, is responsible for taking care of his mother and sisters. Between these men is an attraction which grows every day… But according to their community this is considered sinful. Yet as they kissed and breathed each other in, sticky and sated with the oaks standing sentinel, Isaac felt only a peace and wholeness he hadn’t realized he’d been missing. That it was a sin, he had no doubt. But it was the sweetest he’d ever known. Reading this story, I realized the importance of being able to have choices. These children are raised in their own world, not given any other choices in life than the ones they were given. The outside world was evil, full of temptation. We’re all tempted. The tighter they try to lock us away from the world, the more we wonder. They try to prevent rumspringa, but they can’t stop it. I was appalled by the lack of feelings these grownups had for their children. Yes, they were loved but there wasn’t much physical love. And these kids grew up without experiencing the power of touch. I found that so sad… I believe, if you grow up without also being physically loved, being hugged and kissed by your parents, you loose contact with your own feelings. These parents appeared not having feelings at all.. How do you break away from the only life you’ve ever known? How do you choose between your lover and your family? How do you betray the God to whom you've prayed? Daivd - I don’t know what to do. I’m trapped here – I can’t leave my family alone. Yet when I’m with you, I feel … hope. Peace. The peace I want so badly. I’ve wanted it for so long, Isaac.” At the end of the book, I was so nervous, afraid that David would not choose for his happiness but thankfully with the support of my BR friend Julie, I survived. The end was (view spoiler)[bittersweet and I’m thrilled with the continuing story of Isaac and David when they decide to leave the only life they’ve ever known. (hide spoiler)] The world was waiting.....

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Finally another book I can put in this year's top ten list of favorite reads. 'A Forbidden Rumspringa' surprised me with bone breaking realism, a young and strong character who questions his world and a love interest who is so determined to do the right thing and stand by his family that he almost loses himself. Isaac is an 18-year-old Amish boy who doesn't really get the attraction behind courting girls and driving them home after a Sunday singing. In his Amish community, young men end their scho Finally another book I can put in this year's top ten list of favorite reads. 'A Forbidden Rumspringa' surprised me with bone breaking realism, a young and strong character who questions his world and a love interest who is so determined to do the right thing and stand by his family that he almost loses himself. Isaac is an 18-year-old Amish boy who doesn't really get the attraction behind courting girls and driving them home after a Sunday singing. In his Amish community, young men end their school education after Grade 8 and stay at home, working on their families' farms until they're mature enough to join the church and take a wife. Isaac has a knack for carpentry, so his father arranges an apprenticeship with the 22-year-old carpenter David who takes care of his widowed mother and sisters and therefore hasn't yet joined the church and taken a wife. Working with hot and handsome David shows Isaac a few things about his world that he could never have discovered on his own. First, the forbidden trips to the 'English' town to watch a movie in a drive-in cinema and eat fast food and later on, the joys of gay sex that both guys explore together once they overcome their initial inhibitions. But while Isaac's view of the world expands and he starts to question the truths of his community, wanting to learn more about what else there is out there, David withdraws, thinking a life in the church, supporting his family is the only possible life for him, feeling bad for having led Isaac off the path of righteousness. When a terrible tragedy shows Isaac how little power his love has in the face of a hostile community that doesn't embrace diversity, he makes a decision that will change his life forever. What a ride! I cannot believe the tight hold this book had on me. It's so terrible to see two guys love each other, knowing they cannot be together and need to leave everything, especially the people they love and are responsible for, behind or else let their community suffocate them. I admired Isaac and his courage, his dreams about flying away on the roof of a train. I loved David's loyalty to his family, his breakdown, and his torment. I can hardly wait to read the next book from David's POV. Oh, and would you believe that this book about two Amish boys is one of the sexiest stories I've read this year? I mean, wow. Who would have thought?! I liked their attitude of 'If we go to hell anyway, let's make it worth it'. I feel so bad for their families, though. They were all loving and fully fleshed out people. But the parental generation was stuck in their strict ways, not allowing space for change and development which made it hard for the younger ones. My advice: Get rid of Bishop Yoda and go for a more liberal guy who doesn't go all Darth Vader on your kids... ;-) 5 stars and on my top ten list 2016! Thank you, Marte, for recommending it to me!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    * A Reader Obsessed *

    4.5 Stars This is what I would have wanted to know before going into this series. 1. Is this really religious? Yes. The Amish community depicted here is extremely strict in all that they do. There are rules upon rules upon rules, governing pretty much every aspect of their lives. As one would guess, this religion looks at the modern world with disdain and at homosexuality as a grave and serious sin. 2. How angsty is this story? Pretty darn angsty. I would say my anxiety levels were moderate and they 4.5 Stars This is what I would have wanted to know before going into this series. 1. Is this really religious? Yes. The Amish community depicted here is extremely strict in all that they do. There are rules upon rules upon rules, governing pretty much every aspect of their lives. As one would guess, this religion looks at the modern world with disdain and at homosexuality as a grave and serious sin. 2. How angsty is this story? Pretty darn angsty. I would say my anxiety levels were moderate and they stayed that way throughout the entire story. There was this constant fear of being discovered, as well as so much inner turmoil and guilt that weighed heavily on Isaac and David. Over and over they worried about their morality, while resigned that they could never be together without being ostracized by their family and community. 3. How's the actual romance? Freaking fabulous. If you want sweet, soulful yearning and palpable sexual tension, then this is the epitome of that. Tender and innocent - that rush of first love, lust, and fervent exploration was a wonder to behold. Divine actually. And hot. *ahem* So overall I would say it was painful to witness Isaac and David struggle immensely. They earnestly want to do what's expected of them, but such desires were in direct opposition to fulfilling their own right to be happy and to be themselves. I admit I was on pins and needles while reading this, but I'm quite sensitive when it comes to this kind of subject matter. However it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. It helps that their romance was so good that it outweighed most of the negative, and though I still have some serious trepidation about the angst that is sure to come, I will definitely carry on.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Breann

    Simply wonderful. I was so worried this would be overly angsty for no other reason than it would be easy to do so. But, no. No, this was about Issac's journey to finding his own happiness. Taking his own rumspringa, regardless of the strict rules that govern his life. When Issac is first assigned to be an apprentice for David he knew it was a bad idea. He knew being around David would worsen his already sinful thoughts about the other boy. As they continued to work together, Issac realized that his Simply wonderful. I was so worried this would be overly angsty for no other reason than it would be easy to do so. But, no. No, this was about Issac's journey to finding his own happiness. Taking his own rumspringa, regardless of the strict rules that govern his life. When Issac is first assigned to be an apprentice for David he knew it was a bad idea. He knew being around David would worsen his already sinful thoughts about the other boy. As they continued to work together, Issac realized that his attraction may be reciprocated. Even though they both realized that they liked each other in that way, they couldn't risk it. They danced around each other, a touch here and there, until finally... Finally. *really bad explosion sound effects* "Issac waited for the horror of what they'd done to reach him-to grip his soul in terror. Yet as they kissed and breathed each other in, sticky and sated with the oaks standing sentinal, Issac felt only a peace and wholeness he hadn't realized he'd been missing. That it was a sin, he had no doubt. But it was the sweetest sin he'd ever known." Coulda been the hottest frottage scene ever. I'm pretty sure it was. Their exploration of each other was worth the wait. Don't let the Amish theme fool you. David did done his research in the ways of sexytimes. He did good research. Mmmhmm. They didn't let their innocence hold them back at all. Even still, they were pretty clueless about relationships in general and learned how to love together. "'We don't have to do anything else if you don't want to.' Issac took a deep breath. 'But I do. I want it so much.' 'So do I.' David kissed him softly. 'Touching you feels right. It feels... beautiful. It makes me so happy, Issac. If it's a sin, then I'll gladly call myself a sinner.'" *dreamy sigh* Issac and David totally captured my heart and would not let go. The weight they had to carry because of their feelings seemed almost unbearable. What they had to go through was heartbreaking. But I was so glad that they did it anyway and that I was able to be a witness. Ack. I'm such a goner for them. "David had drawn his fingertips down Issac's cheek. 'This will be our own little rumspringa. They never have to know.'" The fact that they had to hide completely was gut wrenching. It's not just them that would be made to suffer, but their families as well. Neither boy was willing to do that. Even though they risked everything for each other, they still put their families above themselves. Even in the end, they tried to be as selfless as they could. I don't know anything about Amish culture. So, I can't say if the way they were depicted in The Forbidden Rumspringa was accurate. But I can say that it felt real. Every scene with their families felt genuine. Every interaction between the characters felt like it really could be happening. Hell, it felt like it was happening. And the ending. I couldn't believe that the words on that next page were THE END. I'm pretty sure there was yelling involved, especially when I saw '2015', which feels like an eternity away. So, I went back. (I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who does this, right?) I went back to the last page and reread it over and over again. I wanted to make sure I soaked up everything I could about David and Issac and what they are about to embark on. The end was completely satisfying while making me completely crazy with wanting more. I'm so glad their story isn't over yet.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    A Forbidden Rumspringa is a beautiful story of love, family and faith. It was not preachy, it did not paint the Amish in a bad light and it pulled me right into the strict, insular community where David and Isaac live. I loved the portrayal of both men, old enough to remember what it was like in their former community, which was slightly less restrictive about dealing with the English (non-Amish) and allowed the young a rumspringa to explore life outside the community before they decided to join A Forbidden Rumspringa is a beautiful story of love, family and faith. It was not preachy, it did not paint the Amish in a bad light and it pulled me right into the strict, insular community where David and Isaac live. I loved the portrayal of both men, old enough to remember what it was like in their former community, which was slightly less restrictive about dealing with the English (non-Amish) and allowed the young a rumspringa to explore life outside the community before they decided to join the church. David has suffered the loss of his brother and father and is doing everything he can to support his mother and sisters, while Isaac is dealing with the memories of a brother and family left behind in the old settlement. David is in training to join the church, at which time he will be expected to take a wife and settle down and Isaac, having just turned 18, is also feeling the pressure to do the same, but cannot imagine his future working out that way. As Isaac begins his apprenticeship as a carpenter with David, his doubts are only confirmed when his feelings for David are reciprocated. The love the men have is challenged by the knowledge that it is a sin to love each other and it will inevitably end when they are caught or they join the church. While Isaac is beginning to strongly question his place in the community, David's need to stay for his family seems an insurmountable obstacle. This was my first Keira Andrews book. I thought both the writing and storytelling were fantastic, really allowing me to visualize the setting and feel for the characters. I don't want to give any story away, but getting toward the end of the book I still didn't know what to expect and it really kept me on the edge of my seat. While not exactly a cliff hanger, more a HFN, there is definitely another part of the story to be told and I am eagerly awaiting the next installment (somewhere around February 2015 I'm told).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    Well, this book is absolutely fantastic!How Isaac and David develop their forbidden relationship is magical. The awareness of feelings that shouldn't exist in their world, the discovery of what sex should meant to them, and how hot that sex could be, brought those two young Amish boys to together! And they surely fit well!!! This was my first Amish book, and though I had an idea of how reclusive this community is, I never imagined how much. In our age, it's really difficult to see a world where p Well, this book is absolutely fantastic!How Isaac and David develop their forbidden relationship is magical. The awareness of feelings that shouldn't exist in their world, the discovery of what sex should meant to them, and how hot that sex could be, brought those two young Amish boys to together! And they surely fit well!!! This was my first Amish book, and though I had an idea of how reclusive this community is, I never imagined how much. In our age, it's really difficult to see a world where people choose to deprive themselves of things so basic to most of us. I can't even imagine myself living in such a world, much less living it as a choice. Of course I respect those who choose such way of living, or any other, but I don't understand why Amish choose to live without basic things, like health care, for example... I don't think God value those kind of choices... I want more Isaac and David, please! December 8th... another fantastic BR!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alona

    This was so beautiful! Absolutely perfect. I read about Gay-love in the Amish community before, but this book was better, in the way that it really let you into the heart of the religion, the believes, the day-to-day life, the way they look/dress, and why... It was truly a learning experience, and I was amazed to see how VERY similar the Amish are to the extreme religious Jews (after googling a bit, I even learned that they share the same genetic illnesses due to the same way of living. Amazing!) I This was so beautiful! Absolutely perfect. I read about Gay-love in the Amish community before, but this book was better, in the way that it really let you into the heart of the religion, the believes, the day-to-day life, the way they look/dress, and why... It was truly a learning experience, and I was amazed to see how VERY similar the Amish are to the extreme religious Jews (after googling a bit, I even learned that they share the same genetic illnesses due to the same way of living. Amazing!) I was hooked from the very beginning to the story and the characters, I loved both of them and felt so sorry for the hard dilemmas they have to face, being a true believer yet finding out that what you are is completely and utterly WRONG, forbidden and condemn you to hell. I loved the way they started asking questions, and slowly answering them by thinking for themselves for the first time. Oh, and don't let the subject of religion discourage you, it's got some HOT scenes! Off to book number 2.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dia

    3,5 stars rounded to 3 I see everybody loved this book and I can totally understand why. Unfortunately it didn't really work for me. I enjoyed parts of it and it kept me entertained, BUT I was just too busy being heartbroken for Isaac and David... Well maybe Gay Amish Romance isn't for me. Not sure I'll continue this series. Maybe after a while. There are some great reviews here and I don't want to spoil it for others. If this kind of stories work for you, then you should give it a try. The writi 3,5 stars rounded to 3 I see everybody loved this book and I can totally understand why. Unfortunately it didn't really work for me. I enjoyed parts of it and it kept me entertained, BUT I was just too busy being heartbroken for Isaac and David... Well maybe Gay Amish Romance isn't for me. Not sure I'll continue this series. Maybe after a while. There are some great reviews here and I don't want to spoil it for others. If this kind of stories work for you, then you should give it a try. The writing is good and the sex is really hot.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I have no words for how much I loved this book. I don't think I can adequately describe my reading experience or how these characters touched my heart. I think you just need to read it and discover it for yourself. I have no words for how much I loved this book. I don't think I can adequately describe my reading experience or how these characters touched my heart. I think you just need to read it and discover it for yourself.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    This books is infused with the details of life in a very restrictive Amish community, one which has drawn back from the modern world to the point where the young people are given no permissive Rumspringa. In this group, adolescence does not include any chance to sample the allure of the "English" world of luxuries and technology and decadence and risk, before committing to home and church. A tragedy back home was the trigger for these folk to draw away from their more permissive origins into a r This books is infused with the details of life in a very restrictive Amish community, one which has drawn back from the modern world to the point where the young people are given no permissive Rumspringa. In this group, adolescence does not include any chance to sample the allure of the "English" world of luxuries and technology and decadence and risk, before committing to home and church. A tragedy back home was the trigger for these folk to draw away from their more permissive origins into a remote Minnesota location where they can practice a purer faith. But along the way, they have lost family members to the outside world. And even without any permission, the young people are tempted by all that the outside world has to offer. Isaac is old enough to remember their previous home, and the older brother who left the family and never came back. He's been gradually more and more aware of how his expected fate, to join the church, marry, and bring up children in the little hardscrabble farming community, seems like a doom, not a future. When he's given the chance to apprentice to David, a talented, attractive young carpenter, he figures out the strongest of his objections to that fate. When he thinks of home and future, it's not a girl that he wants beside him. This story is smoothly written and engaging, as Isaac and David discover each other, and the true nature of their desires. David is the sole support of his widowed mother and sisters, and tied to his home with obligations he can't break. But he has also been chafing at his bonds longer than Isaac has, and has discovered more of the outside world. For a while, they manage to be together in a charmed bubble of space and time, undetected. But in a small, tight community, that can't last forever. I enjoyed this book for both characters and setting. Isaac's gradual awakening and realizations are well done, and the community around him is depicted realistically, and not as a cartoon of brimstone and prejudice. You can believe that many of the adults want only the best for their young people. I enjoyed Isaac's friends and the younger siblings in the story, both his brothers and David's sisters. Adherence to the tenets of the church is portrayed bleakly, but that fits with the situation of a community driven to an extreme of isolation by a charismatic leadership and the pressures of a tragedy. I found the end a little less satisfying. After the careful slow build-up, things came to a head abruptly, and in a way that seemed a bit out of character for David in his situation. I'd have been prepared and happy to wait through half of another book to reach that point. But it will no doubt please some readers, and I will look forward to the sequel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ariana

    *4,5 stars* This was sitting on my tbr shelf for quite while, because I wasn't sure about its theme and whether I would like it. I really take my hat off to Keira Andrews. I got sucked into David and Isaac's story on page one and spit out at the end, rushing to get book 2. What an amazing book! To be frank, the severe and strict rules of Zebulon did shock me, and from my very 'English' POV there were a lot of things extremely hard to understand. How can it be wrong to hug a child? How can it be wr *4,5 stars* This was sitting on my tbr shelf for quite while, because I wasn't sure about its theme and whether I would like it. I really take my hat off to Keira Andrews. I got sucked into David and Isaac's story on page one and spit out at the end, rushing to get book 2. What an amazing book! To be frank, the severe and strict rules of Zebulon did shock me, and from my very 'English' POV there were a lot of things extremely hard to understand. How can it be wrong to hug a child? How can it be wrong to smile? How can it be wrong to educate children properly? How can it be wrong to question ideas? At times the severity of the rules made me shiver and gasp with disbelief. And the pseudo explanation that 'this is our way!' really grated on my nerves. Being gay in a community like that is just unimaginable. David and Isaac go through hell and back, just acknowledging their sexuality to themselves - forget about falling in love or telling other people! To them any thought outside the 'textbook' is a sin, but liking and wanting men??? David has come better to terms with it than Isaac when they meet, but the mountain of guilt attached to it is huge for both men. Their readiness to believe that people have accidents, become ill etc, as a result of their 'abomination' made me scream with frustration. It broke my heart to see them question their goodness and loyalty just because they fall in love and want to be together. And that is the beautiful thing here - David and Isaac's love is so genuine and innocent (despite the hot sex, LOL) it made me tear up at times. There is no playing around or pretending, just deep, honest feelings they both acknowledge. And there is so much respect. Needless to say that the pain and anguish of having to decide between who they are and their families is excruciating. Despite everything, both men love their parents and siblings and leaving them is tearing them apart. Their journey of making their choice was heart wrenching to borderline painful (in the best sort of way!), but also utterly captivating. The only thing that surprised me was (view spoiler)[ how easily both guys, but particularly Isaac, came to terms with gay sex. Neither had been with a man before and they took to it like 'ducks to water'. I would have thought that they might have been a little bit more unsure and hesitant - although I'm NOT complaining about them being inhibited! *g* (hide spoiler)] Fabulous book with oozes of feels! Highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    Whoaaa. Hold up! Please deposit all presumptions here and personal baggage goes over here and…. Wouldn't it be nice to ‘turn yourself off’ sometimes? No matter how open-minded you might be, you inevitably bring things along with you. You can’t help but carry a load of opinions, experiences and emotions wherever you go. It makes you ‘who’ you are. Well, for me, I have Amish neighbors and friends and they are vastly different than the Amish community portrayed here. I know this dampened my enjoymen Whoaaa. Hold up! Please deposit all presumptions here and personal baggage goes over here and…. Wouldn't it be nice to ‘turn yourself off’ sometimes? No matter how open-minded you might be, you inevitably bring things along with you. You can’t help but carry a load of opinions, experiences and emotions wherever you go. It makes you ‘who’ you are. Well, for me, I have Amish neighbors and friends and they are vastly different than the Amish community portrayed here. I know this dampened my enjoyment of the story. I suppose there are times when you should avoid stories that are too close to home simply because you can’t help but compare your own experiences and the author’s tale. It took me nearly till the halfway mark before I could separate myself enough to truly enjoy this story. There is a certain charm when forbidden love survives. Ms. Andrews creates the most beautiful love that should never exist and had me on the edge of my seat, fervently begging for her to allow it to endure. As Amish are resolute with their beliefs, it’s not surprising this played a major factor in the story. Religion hung heavy and could be oppressive for some. Yet this didn't bother me…much. Their way of life is indeed enormously different than the ‘English’ ways but their love is strong. *nudges bag aside* Again, my neighbors are private, natural and hard-working; BUT, they are also loving, welcoming and affectionate. The cold reserved attitude towards each other, especially their children was not easy for me to concede to. I am aware that this differs from community to community, but it was still hard to read. (view spoiler)[ Yes, yes...there are orange triangles on this bugyy and brake lights too. One of the key markers to signify that you are almost to *my* home is the buggy road sign on the edge of the road. But...you will find orange markers and even flashing red brake lights and white headlights on the buggies around my house because sadly, accidents like Mrs. Lantz's are not all fictional. (hide spoiler)] Isaac is coming of age, preparing for his baptism and receiving his responsibilities in the community. His family farms, dairy to be precise, and he hates it. His father graciously arranges for him to apprentice under David Lantz experienced hands of woodworking. David is four years older than Isaac but hasn't taken his vow with God yet due to the heavy weight of taking over his deceased fathers duties. Pressures from the community are profound and David will not be able to evade them much longer. David is not the only focus of interest when it comes to the elders, Isaac has his fair share of scrutiny as well. Stolen moments behind the barn doors ignite a love affair against all odds. It was reckless abandonment at its finest. I shall never wonder what it might be like to suffocate from the decision to live your life as you’re told and expected or to actually chase the happiness on the other side of the looking glass. I heard, I felt, I understood. It was heavenly and it was cruel. Deep and gorgeously fleshed out young men draw you effortlessly into their obscure yet simple world. This alone won me over. The conclusion was slightly rushed but it was not truly goodbye, rather a bridge to new beginnings. Absolutely glorious story and if it wasn't for my bothersome personal connection, it would have most likely soared to the top. *4 follow-your-heart stars*

  27. 5 out of 5

    ȷαεlα

    Shocking! For me this book was.... something else. Before starting it, I confess, I didn't really know anything about the Amish traditions and culture. Everything I read was new to me . After reading some chapters, I googled Amish, and tried to learn everything about them. It was really shocking. OMG! These things are real. I can't believe such people exist. I don't want to judge anyone, but their conservativeness is so archaic. They risk their lives daily so they can remain true to their belief Shocking! For me this book was.... something else. Before starting it, I confess, I didn't really know anything about the Amish traditions and culture. Everything I read was new to me . After reading some chapters, I googled Amish, and tried to learn everything about them. It was really shocking. OMG! These things are real. I can't believe such people exist. I don't want to judge anyone, but their conservativeness is so archaic. They risk their lives daily so they can remain true to their beliefs. Anyway, back to the story. Isaac and David, two young Amish boys, fall in love in an impossible and tough environment, where everything modern is forbidden. They have to keep their romance hidden until some very bad things happen and they question everything. I liked Isaac. He was pure and real. David didn't impress me. He was the initiator of everything and then he regretted that. I liked how Isaac took the reins of his life in his hands. The side characters were ... strange. I truly believe (now) that they really exist. I wouldn't like to have parents like David's or Isaac's. So conservative. Sometimes, the MCs sounded younger than their actual age. That's maybe because their thoughts, desires and wishes are refrained. I would like to say that there was relationship development between them, but apart from the Very hot scenes, there wasn't much talking or getting to know each other. They barely talked. I am truly sorry for all those young girls and boys who are obliged to live such a life and give up on their dreams. I'm continuing this series, I'm too hooked up with this new culture. I want to see Isaac happy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    BR with Julie, Elsbeth, Penumbra and Kaylor Let me start off with saying this is a really good book! The writing was excellent and I have a feeling it was very authentic. I can absolutely understand why everyone loved it. I loved Isaac and David. They were so sweet together. And I admired the way they always tried to take care of their families, and how they were trying to be really good Amish men. I really liked the tenderness, the touches, the sweet kisses. The sex was off the chart hot! I was won BR with Julie, Elsbeth, Penumbra and Kaylor Let me start off with saying this is a really good book! The writing was excellent and I have a feeling it was very authentic. I can absolutely understand why everyone loved it. I loved Isaac and David. They were so sweet together. And I admired the way they always tried to take care of their families, and how they were trying to be really good Amish men. I really liked the tenderness, the touches, the sweet kisses. The sex was off the chart hot! I was wondering if the sex would be explicit because Isaac was only 18 years old. Fortunately the sex was there (yeah baby yeah!), and it was GOOD! The sexual tension before anything happens between Isaac and David, oh my, that was really well done. Even after they’d gotten together, I felt the constant longing for each other. So this all sounds like a really good book, right? It actually really is. Why only 3 stars then? This time I want to emphasize that it really is ME, and not this book. I honestly can’t enjoy any book right now where people are dictating how other people should live. How it is normal for the Amish community to tell other people what to do, how to live their lives. I felt so claustrophobic while reading this book. My skin crawled with the way it is considered normal that you find a partner, get married, have lots of babies, work your ass off and don’t enjoy life. No one there seems to have a choice. It’s just how it is always done. I know this book is about choice and breaking free of the bonds of your upbringing. Because yes, Isaac and David (view spoiler)[eventually do choose to escape the way they live (hide spoiler)] . But I kept thinking about all the people who were still in their community and especially about those who were so unhappy there. I don’t judge people with different lifestyles. To each his own. But I could not take any more reading about feeling like you don’t have a choice. So please do not let my review keep anyone from reading his book. Everyone else loved it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    This book "won" the Internet last year and it received so many glowing reviews (including an enthusiastic reaction from Heidi Cullinan). I was reluctant to read it since I wasn't really sure how I would react to the Amish part of the story. The thing is, when it comes to religion in my romance, especially in MM romance, I usually either feel 1) uncomfortable or 2) ragey. So I'm happy to stay away. Until this book was chosen as Book of the Month by my Indonesian M/M readers group. So I had to This book "won" the Internet last year and it received so many glowing reviews (including an enthusiastic reaction from Heidi Cullinan). I was reluctant to read it since I wasn't really sure how I would react to the Amish part of the story. The thing is, when it comes to religion in my romance, especially in MM romance, I usually either feel 1) uncomfortable or 2) ragey. So I'm happy to stay away. Until this book was chosen as Book of the Month by my Indonesian M/M readers group. So I had to read it. Interestingly (or is it unfortunately?) my reaction to the Amish part wasn't exactly what I was predicted before. I don't want to sound offensive ... because maybe I do, but my reaction was exactly the same like when I'm facing my Muslim friends when they are talking about an action or a thought that I just find ridiculously silly. No, NOT the kind of what the terrorists believe, but some everyday things. I can't help to snicker at them in my head, though nothing comes out of my mouth. That was the reaction I had here. I was snickering all the way through (and really, I was in a wrong state of mind when I kept giggling at the word Zebulon, which sounded like a Star Trek planet, and I kept imagining Worf the Klingon saying it with his flat tone "Captain, we have arrived at Zebulon"). I won't elaborate because if I can't say something nice about someone's faith, I shouldn't say anything at all. So I will leave it at that. Otherwise, to me this was just an okay story. It seemed that David and Isaac were quickly falling into their relationship too, quite naturally, which was weird for me since they were supposed to be virgins and not exactly exposed to sex before (except for watching a stallion mounting a mare or seeing it on a magazine -- but surely it was different, no?). I expected some awkwardness, I guess. It was hard for me to sympathize when I didn't feel their emotional conflict that well (it didn't feel as deep and as complicated as I pictured it to be, at least for me). They also became too mushy during sex, and the sex description felt too adult for characters that supposed to be "new adult". So yes, 3* only for this. I didn't dislike it but it wasn't a stellar read too. Will I read the next book? Nope. I wasn't invested enough in them. I wish David and Isaac their HEA though.

  30. 5 out of 5

    M.I.A

    4.5 Stars Non Spoiler:Review for full series It's been a couple of weeks since I've read this, so this isn't going to be very thorough. Plenty of reviews for this series. I'll just say I was genuinely surprised by it and have had this series on the back burner for a while unwilling to purchase it. It's now on Kindle Unlimited and I believe the first book is still free on Amazon. If you're deterred by the religious aspect: Don't be. This reads like the story of two men who experience culture shoc 4.5 Stars Non Spoiler:Review for full series It's been a couple of weeks since I've read this, so this isn't going to be very thorough. Plenty of reviews for this series. I'll just say I was genuinely surprised by it and have had this series on the back burner for a while unwilling to purchase it. It's now on Kindle Unlimited and I believe the first book is still free on Amazon. If you're deterred by the religious aspect: Don't be. This reads like the story of two men who experience culture shock despite being in the same country. Two men who go from a recluse society that abhors all things of modern society into the LA scene (pretty sure it's LA, a bit of a blur, but California for sure) . There is something truly magical about seeing our modern world through the eyes of two young men who grew up without any real knowledge or access to things as simple as running water, lightbulbs, refrigeration, bathroom. Let alone television and internet. Basic history or government knowledge isn't even on their radar. It's fascinating. They didn't even have basic identifying paperwork! 💛The romance 💛 This story is actually quite steamy. Pretty high on the erotic scale. Both mc's have been so repressed that when they're together it's like a sexual frenzy. So for a story with a religious theme expect alot of sexy times 😉 I really enjoyed all aspect of their love story. From two Amish boys loving one another in secret. To their adventure into the modern world, wide eyed and innocent. Discovering new passions, new ways to live, new ways to love. The hurdles of modern society. Missing the comfort of home while still relishing their freedom. Trying to find a balance between their rigid religion to one that can be molded to fit their true believes. It's not an easy road. They both fumble and make mistakes. Struggle. But the love they have for one another flourishes, grows and adapts. I have to say this series had me googling and watching everything I could about the Amish society. It's all very interesting. Highly recommend this series for those who've yet to read it!

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