2012-07-27

Review: Temptation

Temptation (Temptation #1) by Karen Ann Hopkins
Release Date ~ June 26, 2012
Harlequin TEEN
ISBN13: 9780373210541
e-ARC received from publisher via Net Galley

Goodreads Synopsis:
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've done a surprisingly good job of avoiding Amish novels in the past, regardless of their prevalence within the Christian fiction genre (which I only occasionally read. Probably because there are a few too many of the same Amish stories everywhere). But Temptation caught my eye, and I figured that maybe this would be a good way to give it a shot.

And I was immediately fascinated by and drawn into the story; Noah and Rose were intriguing, and surprisingly lifelike. But the story, ultimately, completely fell apart for me and I found myself increasingly frustrated with the book for a number of reasons.

  1. An impossible situation:

    We all know right from the get-go that this relationship between Noah and Rose just really isn't going to work (or it won't work out easily, at least). But you still can't help but root for them at first, and hope that somehow they can find a way to beat the odds and find some way to be together that makes everyone happy. But some times, life just isn't like that. Some times, actually more like most of the time, some people will be unhappy with how things turn out and the decisions you make. And that can hurt. So I was really hoping for a powerful book that would deal with some hardhitting issues about growing up and making those hard choices.
But unfortunately, Temptation utterly fell flat for me. Try hard as I might, I simply could not buy into the book or its characters. Temptation is very clearly a romance, and I found there was little else to it which I found disappointing. The relationship between Noah and Rose is all-consuming, ularly disappointed with how the Amish culture ended up being portrayed. I understand that Temptation is a work of fiction, and that not all Amish communities are the same. I've studied cultural relativism, and I'm familiar with that way of thinking. But my problem is that taking such a biased perspective of one culture puts the story in a rather precarious position.

Just about any reader with a modern sense of gender equality and contemporary relationships will be shocked by many things which take place between Noah and Rose. And I was extremely disappointed to see that so much of it fell on the expectations of Rose to change- understandable from one perspective, but there was very little serious thought given to any other option.

I will say though that the dual perspectives were really well done- Rose and Noah totally sounded like different people, and it was a technique that worked well for the story to present their differing ideas and contrasting backgrounds.

Noah's a difficult character to relate to, but that's understandable given his past and the community he grew up in. Rose's weakness, however, I found to be rather uncharacteristic. And for all the reasons they say they love each other, those seem to be the qualities they want to stamp out of one another.

Moreover, the insta!love was too much for me. Thse two jump right into a teenage "true love" mindset, hurtling towards forever at the speed of light. They're extraordinarily immature and I jus twant to lock them up for a few years just so they can grow up and think things through slowly. The majority of their problems could have been easily solved had they stopped making out every minute they had to actually have conversation with each other and figure out why they liked each other. And they're shockingly physically close considering their Amish community doesn't even allow boys and girls to sit next to each other at the table.

I'm not sure whether the author simply didn't know much about Amish culture in general, or whether she was trying to present her opinion on it but it felt rather stereotyped and narrow. That, to me, was one of the most disappointing aspects of the book. There was a great opportunity here that was completely missed.

Temptation is truly another Romeo & Juliet inspired story; it features many familiar elements of that famous Shakespearean work, but I'm afraid I disliked this one even more than I dislike Romeo & Juliet.


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6 comments:

Rachelia (Bookish Comforts) said...

Wow, this one does sound like it has its issues, and presents things very one-sidedly. It must have taken a lot of things going wrong for you to give it a rating of 1 - I don't know if I recall ever seeing that rating on here. I definitely don't think this one would be for me either. Thanks for the honest review Brenna!

Christina said...

Bookish Sarah reviewed this and pretty much ripped it to shreds, in a very logical manner like you're doing here. I, thankfully, was not interested in this to begin with, mostly because of all the reasons you were hesitant. After that review, I suspected when I saw this that things were not going to go well for it in your review.

Eeesh. Noah sounds simply awful.

Catalina L. L. said...

I'm not the only person who can't stand Romeo and Juliet? Yes!!! If this book is truely worse than Shakespeare's play I'm amazed you where able to suffer through it.

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

Well since I have a modern sense of gender equality I'm going to vote that I don't read this book. Which is too bad because there's so much potential with a story like this.

And on that note I definitely recommend Miriam Toews books instead. They're focused on the Mennonite community instead of the Amish but they're well written, interesting and respectful

Lex (Eyes on the Pages) said...

And to think that I almost picked this book up at Wal-Mart the other day! Thanks for your brutal honesty, Brenna! It's kind of sad when you find out that instead of the deep, insightful read you were hoping for ends up being like a stereotypical Nickelodeon TV show.

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Well after reading this I am glad that I didn't look more into picking this book up. I was hesitant because of the idea of the Amish community, I'm glad because it sounds like my hesitations were right. Thank you for this Brenna, though this book sounds like it had potential it sounds like it fell flat.

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