Stolen Bride, a Story of Amish Life, is Accurate and Enjoyable

Although I have only read one Beverly Lewis novel, I still have had a longstanding interest in the Amish. For that reason I have often visited Shipshewana, Indiana, and the Lancaster, Pennsylvania areas and stopped in Amish towns in western Michigan.

I purchased hand-crafted furniture from the Amish and it remains flawless and solid after three decades. My father-in-law lived in a town surrounded by Amish farmers and pointed out to us the farms where we could purchase pies, eggs and other products. A favorite nearby place to visit was the Amish shops in and near Centerville to load up on our favorite candies.

And that is why I was instantly drawn to a novel released in 2011 by Valentine Dmitriev, Stolen Bride: Kidnapped Amish Girl Finds Freedom, Love in New World. The story begins with The People of Blessing, a small Old Order Amish community. Naomi Knapp, a beautiful, young Amish woman faces an arranged marriage with the community’s aging, widowed bishop. To prevent this from happening the bishop’s son, who left the Amish life to become a star model in New York City, kidnaps Naomi, taking her to the big metropolis.

The story continues in New York City where Naomi discovers a new life that prompts a hunger for more knowledge and education as she, too, becomes a model much sought after by agencies. The plot keeps returning to the Naomi’s family and the Amish community to keep readers informed of what is happening to her parents, siblings, friends, the bishop and his new wife, and how they are “shocked” when photographs of Naomi modeling the latest fashions are discovered.

The author must have done a lot of research before writing because I felt that Stolen Bride remains very true to the Amish lifestyle that I have come to appreciate. I did learn that Dmitriev’s research for the book took her to the Lancaster, PA, area which I’m sure she enjoyed as much as I did.

I really enjoyed reading this book and was fascinated by the panoramic and telescopic views it offered of the Amish way of life and the portrait it gives of agricultural life in rural America. And I enjoyed Stolen Bride much more than I did the one Beverly Lewis novel I read. Now I am torn between whether to read another Lewis novel or another Dmitriev novel.

By Emory Daniels

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