50 Shades of Hay: 12 Things You Didn't Know About Amish Romance Novels

The world of the romance novel has long been prone to easy ridicule, but perhaps no other genre of romance is as strange, fascinating, and misunderstood as the little-known Amish romance novel. Though purists probably wouldn't consider these books a genuine type of Amish literature, nor are they necessarily intended to be romance novels for Amish people, the genre is a unique and surprisingly influential one. The first thing most people notice about Amish romance novels is the first thing people notice about any romance novel: the cover. But in place of swelling bosoms, massive man-pecs, and lusty looks, you see a timidly smiling young woman, usually wearing a prayer headcover, cape dress, and apron, standing in a serene country setting. This portrait sets the stage for a very specific kind of love story: amour in the land of the Amish.

Many readers—far more than you might think—enjoy Amish romance novels for the escapism and entertainment they provide, even if the novel offers little resemblance to real Amish culture. For those unaccustomed to these types of books, it may be helpful to learn a bit more about Amish romances to better understand their peculiar appeal and the place they inhabit in contemporary literature.