Book Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

Belonging

Title: Belonging (Temptation #2)
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 432
Rating: 1.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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.

My Review:

Rose knows that what she has with Noah is forever. She’s given up her English ways and is willing to become a real Amish girl if it means she can be with Noah. Trading in her dancing shoes and family for a white bonnet and life without modern technology, Rose knows that things are not going to be easy. She has to impress the community Elders before the small close knit society will even consider letting Noah court Rose. But to be with the man she loves – Rose is sure all the change and sacrifice will be worth it.

This is was an interesting read for me because by the time I finished the novel, I wasn’t sure I liked any of the characters. Rose is trying to fit in with Amish society solely for Noah. She moves in with a family and learns the ways of the women – from cooking to cleaning, mending and social expectations – there is a lot for her to take in. With her formerly supportive family now behaving as if she has joined a cult and her interactions with Noah being severely limited due to dating customs, Rose is alone in a foreign world – one where she doesn’t even speak the language. I admired Rose for the choice she made to sacrifice a lot for love and Noah however I disagree with some of the decisions she made. Despite trying to toe the line as a good Amish girl, Rose still lives in the belief that she can change Noah and convert him to the English way of life. She uses her feminine wiles on him and goes as far as making vows to a church and a faith she doesn’t believe in. I understand that Rose is young (only sixteen/seventeen throughout this book), however I believe that is old enough to understand what she’s doing. She wants the world to take her relationship with Noah seriously however there are times when she acts incredibly childish and immature. Noah on the other hand is portrayed fairly badly throughout this book. The thing he loves most about Rose is the thing that he wants to change. He is unwilling to compromise regarding Rose and his Amish beliefs and I got the feeling that his main reason for wanting to be with Rose was to get her into bed. He does some pretty terrible things – goes as far as to potentially ruin an Amish girl’s entire life just as some kind of retaliation for how Rose made him feel. I could not believe that he was telling Rose to cut ties with her family and how he couldn’t stand Rose’s opinions and frequently kissed her to shut her up.

I was disappointed at how easily it was for Noah and Rose to give up on each other. For a love that was stronger than anything else in the world, it didn’t take much to break it. Rose’s family have seemed to have done a one-eighty since the first book. They were supportive of Rose and her choices and now they behave terribly and I don’t quite understand why. We do get to see some of Sam’s (Rose’s older brother) feelings about the situation from occasional chapters told from his point of view, but it felt fairly shallow (After two months of Rose living with the Amish, he continues to burst into laughter each time he sees her new clothing but apparently still wants her away from the cultists… it just didn’t quite feel authentic). Sam’s involvement with Rose’s new friend was an interesting turn of events however added little to the overall story.

I wanted to learn more about the Amish culture from this book however I felt like it wasn’t very well explored. I think the only things I learned were the clothes were dowdy, the weddings devoid of colour and the church services extremely long.

The author took a brave move with this book – she could have written another book about star-crossed lovers who always behaved perfectly and were flawless. But these characters all have their issues and in many ways that makes them more realistic. Everyone in this book makes mistakes and I admire the author for taking that route. There are a lot of problems that the characters in this book have to face and Noah and Rose have a tough road ahead of them.

The third book of the Temptation series, Forever,  was released last month and despite my problems with Belonging, I’m still eager to see what happens next. This book left us on a slight cliff-hanger and I’m curious as to the fallout in the Amish community and just how Noah and Rose compromise to find a happy ending.  

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

    • Maybe it was just me. So many five star reviews on goodreads. And I can see why they rated it that highly. But I wasn’t a huge fan. If you get around to reading it you might be one of those five star people!

  1. Hi Kate! I came across your blog through goodreads, so I figured to stop by and check it out. I am also now following it through bloglovin, linkyfollowers, and networked blogs.

    I actually have never heard of this series, but wow, what an interested concept. I think you are right, despite the issues you stated in your review, the author deserves credit for writing about such a controversial topic. It’s common to hear stories or read books about young women and men leaving the Amish culture, but never have I heard a story about someone wanting to embrace the culture in the name of love. I think this series could be a huge hit if not for all the issues you talked about in your review. If you decide to read book 3, let me know what you think about it once you are finished. I am curious to see your thoughts on it 🙂

    Anyway! Feel free to stop by my blog sometime! I am always looking for new blogger buddies to chat with.

    Best Wishes and awesome review!
    Mia @ TheMusesCircle
    http://www.themusescircle.blogspot.com/

    • Thanks Mia!
      I think I’m alone in my views about this book. After I finished my review I went and read some others on goodreads and it seems a lot of people thought it was a five star read. And whilst I didn’t enjoy it that much I can understand why others would rate it so highly. I often get bogged down in practicalities and realism where other people get swept up in the romance. I’m not saying that either side is wrong but I can see why there are people at either end of the spectrum for this book.

      I’m going to go straight to your blog to check it out as soon as I finish writing this comment! Thanks for the follow 🙂

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Forever by Karen Ann Hopkins | whY.A.not?

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