THE AMISH BRIDE OF ICE MOUNTAIN
Like most Mountain Amish girls, Mary King has always dreamed of her wedding day. But she never imagined that a sudden, irresistible kiss would result in marriage to the handsome Englischer professor studying her unique community. Or that doing the truly honorable thing means keeping their relationship chaste so both she and Dr. Jude Lyons can someday go their separate ways.
But when Mary accompanies her husband-in-name-only to Atlanta to meet his wealthy, overbearing family, she's tempted more than ever by Jude's kindness, humor--and vulnerability. And when a wrenching misunderstanding causes her to return heartbroken to her remote Appalachian home, she's certain she's lost the real love they have found...and the shared future she's come to want so much. But a crisis of more than faith will work surprising miracles--and show Mary that love is strong enough to make the impossible come true.
Please read the entire review before signing up for the giveaway draw as this book deals with the physical intimacies in marriage in a very frank way. See the last couple of paragraphs for my views on that.
First off, I love Kelly Long's writing. She has a wonderful gift for creating characters that matter. I was quick to relate to both Mary and Jude, eager to watch their 'arranged marriage' story develop into a forever love story.
It's a fascinating tale of two divergent worlds colliding. Mary's is faith-filled and simple while Jude is lost in cynicism and complications. And yet I could see his yearning for more depth and meaning in his life with his fascination with the Amish life style on Ice Mountain. Simplicity versus complicated merge into something both dreadful and wonderful.
Both have domineering fathers who manipulate circumstances to achieve their own desired end leaving Jude and Mary to deal with the repercussions of their fathers' manipulations. What tension! And angst! Raw emotions abound as the pair struggle to navigate the treacherous waters they've been thrown into.
And while I wouldn't classify this as Christian fiction, I will say that The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain has one of the most moving inspirational threads I've ever read. So, why don't I consider it Christian fiction? For one, the publisher is secular -- Zebra (an imprint of Kensington books). Secondly the frank exploration of sexuality, even though in marriage, definitely pushes the boundaries of Christian publishing as we know it.
So -- about all that sexual tension....here's my take on it. First off, I should acknowledge that I've been reading Christian books exclusively for five years now. That was a deliberate choice on my part. I love having my faith encouraged through fictional characters. Those inspirational words bring a richer depth to my reading experience. I also appreciate the 'clean' read. In fact, while I have read traditional romances in the past and even tried my hand at writing them, I became increasingly disillusioned with the content of mainstream romance. In my opinion it has pushed the boundaries until there doesn't seem to be any boundaries left.
I have no problems with showing desire between characters. That attraction is God given and blessed under the right circumstances (my opinion). I've been amazed at the derogatory reviews some Christian books have received simply because a hero acknowledged a physical attraction to the heroine or vice versa. I like my romance reads to be well...romantical...but not explicit. That old Christian publishing adage about leaving the bedroom door closed seemed like a good measuring stick to me. In The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain, Kelly Long has left that door wide open -- rocking off it's hinges actually.
To be fair, I bought the book knowing that the content might be challenging. The author has posted a PG disclaimer on Amazon and upgraded it to a PG-13 in an interview on amishwisdom.com. But I also bought the book thinking it was from a Christian publisher. So --- the physical side of marriage is a major part of Jude and Mary's story. And while tastefully done -- there's no hiding that physical attraction is definitely a major plot point. I will say that at times I found the intimacy came across as the cat, "Jude" playing with the mouse, "Mary". Sometimes it seemed to impede the love story rather than enhance it. There were two scenes that I was uncomfortable reading and I think part of the problem was that Jude and Mary had become such real, living, breathing people to me that I felt like a voyeur.
This definitely isn't the right read for everyone but it is a wonderful, emotional and truly inspiring story. Only you can decide if it's the right choice for you.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Amish Bride of Ice Mountain please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday December 28 2014. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!