“Your heart misleads you.” That’s what my friends and family say.But I love Noah. And he loves me. We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms. It should be ROSE & NOAH forever, easy.But it won’t be.Because he’s Amish. And I’m not.
I was immediately intrigued when I heard about Temptation, which came out on July 26th. It’s the story of Rose and Noah, teenage neighbours who fall in love. The hitch is that they live two completely different lifestyles. Rose is an average American girl, and Noah is Amish.
Rose and Noah are up against some pretty serious lifestyle and ideological differences. Being Amish isn’t just about living without technology. Their culture includes strict gender roles, a high level of group mentality, and strict observance of community rules. At one point, Rose’s father refers to the Amish culture as “anti-feminist,” and he isn’t exactly wrong.
In order to be accepted as a couple, Rose would either have to become Amish — a process that would include moving away from home to live with an Amish family — or Noah has to leave his church and become English (the catchall term for all non-Amish people). Neither option is ideal, as Rose would either have to sacrifice her education and hobbies, or Noah would have to leave his family and make it in the world on only an eighth-grade education.
Though Temptation is a sweet love story, I rated it three stars because the plotting didn’t impress me. It’s love at first sight for Noah and Rose, and by that afternoon they’re already thinking about how to be in a relationship. The trajectory of their romance, which quickly goes from “Hey, you’re good looking” to “I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” takes place over the space of just a few weeks. I realize that at Rose and Noah’s age, people fall hard for their first love, but taking the action at a more reasonable pace would have made the story a little more believable.
Rose’s behaviour also got on my nerves after a while. Throughout the middle of the book, Rose cries in practically every scene. It strikes me not only as frivolous, but lazy when an author relies on a teenage character’s tears to convey the gravity of a situation.
It was also disappointing that Rose, 16, and her older brother Sam, 18, had done so little growing up in the wake of their experiences. Rose reveals in the first chapter that their mother passed away after a battle with cancer, just a few months before the story begins. This didn’t seem to have much effect on them. They still bickered like children and did very little to step up and help their father run the household. I expected more maturity from characters who had watched their mother slowly pass away.
Noah, for the most part, is a sweet character. He loves his family, lifestyle, and church, but at the same time he feels restricted by them because these things are barriers to being with Rose. My only complaint about Noah was that the chapters narrated from his perspective didn’t sound convincingly masculine.
It’s no fault of the author, but after reading the first few pages it’s easy for readers to spot the typo on the back cover — it’s spelled “Meadowview” in the flap copy and “Meadow View” in the text. When a problem like that pops up so soon, it throws the whole quality of the book into question. I didn’t spot any glaring errors after that, but it does get the reading experience off to a shaky start.
Temptation will likely appeal to fans of Picoult’s Plain Truth, but is a much more lighthearted read. This book is part of a series, and in its sequel we’ll see the consequences of Rose and Noah’s decision to pursue a relationship on common ground. While I wasn’t totally thrilled by the first book, I will more than likely read the second to see where these characters end up.