Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels by Valerie Weaver-Zercher | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels

Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels

by Valerie Weaver-Zercher
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Shelf Awareness - Marilyn Dahl

The promise of the cover is borne out by the content: an engaging analysis of 'bonnet rippers' and their audience.

Femonite

Weaver-Zercher’s book is a fascinating read, that raises some questions about this increasingly popular genre, but also tries to add complexity to our understandings of how Amish fiction functions.

Mennonite World Review - Melanie Springer Mock

Thrill of the Chaste is an entertaining read... [Weaver-Zercher's] light, engaging voice makes her ideas accessible. I found myself caught up in her rich, often humorous descriptions... Weaver-Zercher redeems the genre and its readers.

Choice

The unusual subject of Amish romance is treated engagingly in this crossover book... Highly recommended.

Mennonite Quarterly Review

Weaver-Zercher’s book-length exploration is not only a groundbreaking contribution to an area that deserves more study, but also an excellent read, as all-consuming and hard to put down for this scholar of American literature and popular culture as Amish romance novels are for their devoted fans.

Yearbook of German-American Studies - Karen M. Johnson-Weiner

Thrill of the Chaste is a well-written, well-researched, and very readable study of this fast growing fictional subgenre, and Weaver-Zercher sheds much light on the importance of these texts for understanding contemporary American culture... A major contribution to literary analysis, this book will fascinate all who have wondered about the Amish and why so many people want to read about them.

Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature - Lorie Sauble-Otto

Weaver-Zercher has made a significant contribution to the field with a very comprehensive and scholarly approach to the "bonnet fiction" phenomenon of the 21st century... Thrill of the Chaste is of interest to anyone working with reader-response theories, the uses and functions of popular literature, and the commodification of culture and cultural products. Weaver-Zercher's book is importantly about the history and evolution of the genre; however, the most significant contribution that the book makes is its examination and evaluation of the publishing industry that is both meeting and creating demand for the genre.

Brethren in Christ History and Life - Pauline Stevick

Articulate, relevant and beautifully written... [ Thrill of the Chaste] is very accessible to those who will give themselves to it. Those who choose to read it will undoubtedly find themselves more discriminating readers.

Nova Religio - Beth E Graybill

In this comprehensive book, Valerie Weaver-Zercher explores the recent phenomenon of Amish "bonnet fiction"... In well-written, engaging prose, Weaver-Zercher argues convincingly that this genre is production-drive in nature.

Conrad Grebel Review - Robert Zacharias

Timely and engaging... Thrill of the Chaste is an eminently readable book... This is a welcome text for a number of fields; we will, indeed, be writing about it for some time.

Journal of Contemporary Religion - Dawn LLwellyn

Weaver-Zercher's energetic and witty study reaches beyond an examination of the popularity of Amish fiction for individual readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781421408910
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
03/28/2013
Series:
Young Center Books in Anabaptist and Pietist Studies
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
1,238,361
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Lynn Neal

The scholarship is sound—the author deftly incorporates theoretical, historical, and sociological research into her extensive study of the genre, its producers, and its readers. The prose is both lovely and lively. Quite simply, a delight to read.

Julia Spicher Kasdorf

As Valerie Weaver-Zercher tracks the sources, emergence, and sudden rise of Amish romance fiction, she looks deeply at the writers, readers, and cultural changes that conspired to create the phenomenon. She writes with passion, principle, and wit, raiding academic disciplines to create a more-than-intelligent analysis of 'bonnet books.'

Suzanne Woods Fisher

Readable and engaging, Thrill of the Chaste studies the exploding subgenre of Amish fiction from every angle: Why is it so popular? What are readers seeking? Do these stories truly reflect the Amish? What motivates the authors? The publishers? Sometimes hard-hitting but always fair, Weaver-Zercher's fascinating book is a must-read for anyone interested in the plain life.

Meet the Author

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.

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