Blog Tour Stop: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

Title: Belonging
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Publication Date: April 30th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
ISBN: 0373210817

I left everything I knew behind. 

But it was worth it. He was worth it. 

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself. 

If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE 

together forever. 

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

This is the continuation of Noah and Rose’s story. 

Rose is serious about committing herself to being an Amish and to do so, she should stay in an Amish community, practice all their traditions, believe and be immersed in their culture until such time that she will be baptized in the Ordnung church so she and Noah can come out and Noah and openly court her. 

My take on this dilemma is that although Rose is so much in love with Noah, she’s not too committed in becoming a real Amish. She may be baptized in Ordnung but it doesn’t necessarily mean that she has to believe all their beliefs. If I remember it correctly, she has a hidden motive in joining the Amish. She was secretly hoping that Noah will eventually be the one to give in and convert into English instead of her embracing the Amish culture. And I guess, one of the factors that have made her decide was because of Noah’s accident. She feared losing Noah so as long as she has him, she can make it through. 

But when she became accepted by the Ordnung Church, doubt crept into her mind especially when Noah kept bugging her about marriage. I think this is when Rose’s thoughts were swarmed with worries and doubts. Would she survive if she got married to Noah? How about her future? How is she going to deal with the fact that she’ll be married in a church in which she doesn’t believe their beliefs and practices? This book will test their commitment to each other even when Rose’s family will stage an intervention that will either make her realize she’s ready to commit or will make her realize that she should never had set foot inside their community. 

Belonging will show the readers how our understanding of one’s culture affects our perception of the people practicing that culture. If people are really loyal and firmly believe in a culture, they’ll stand up for it no matter what and it’s already imprinted in our hearts and minds when we’re young, it is hard to see it at someone else’s perceptive. We become blinded and we only see what we want to see. 

Will Noah and Rose give up on their love for each other or will they find their way back into each other? 

One thing I mostly perceived about the Amish community by reading this book is that, they’re very anti-feminist and it seems so unfair. They put their men on a very high pedestal when in fact the only difference is that men have balls and women certainly don’t. Just look at this dialogue: 

“First things first, Martha – Rose, you are a young woman, and you will act accordingly with our customs. As spoken in First Timothy, ‘A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.’ Therefore you will not be interrupting me again, and you will always show respect to the men in this community. The womenfolk will fill you in on all the details about following our customs and being obedient in time. Do you understand?” 

Although Noah loves even the wildness of Rose, 

“I realized that I would love this girl forever, whether she was difficult or not. It was her wildness that was most endearing to me of all.” 

There are still times when he thinks of ways to trap Rose into their community without him asking for her opinion. 

“For Rose’s sake I didn’t want her to be with child, but for my sake, I silently prayed that she was.” 

There’s this on character that stood out and in one way or another planted the seed of doubt in Rose’s mind. It’s Cynthia, who is a Mennonite. 

“And if your Amish boy isn’t willing to compromise, he might not be worth sacrificing your life for.” 

And of course, Hunter. I like this guy and how I wish for Rose to just choose him over Noah. 

“The problem is, I care way too much. And as much as I’d like to walk away from you, and not have to deal with this infatuation you have with a guy from another lifetime – I can’t and I won’t.”

Sometimes, not saying anything is even worse than chewing someone out.

A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.


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