Today I’m welcoming Rachel J. Good to the blog. Rachel is going to talk about her book Change of Heart and the part Rumschpringe plays in the novel. Take it away, Rachel.
I grew up near Lancaster, PA, so my fascination and friendship with the Amish led me to write the Sisters & Friends series. The first three books in the series book are about the three Esh sisters, and later stories are about their friends and relatives. In Change of Heart the oldest sister, Lydia, tries to keep her 16-year-old sister, Emma, from going wild during Rumschpringe.
Although many people have heard of Rumschpringe and know it’s the Amish “running-around” time, most think only of teens going wild—partying, smoking, drinking, driving cars, and using forbidden electrical equipment. Perhaps that idea comes from the TV shows about the Amish, which usually aren’t very accurate portrayals of real life. The real purpose of Rumschpringe is for teens to consider whether or not they’ll join the church. Some do this by experimenting with the lifestyles of their Englisch (non-Amish) neighbors, but this behavior is actually rare.
Interestingly enough, few Amish teens rebel during Rumschpringe. Most stay true to their faith and join other groups of youngie (youth) for hymn sings, volleyball and softball games, table tennis, and ice skating. Each teen group has a name such as Bluebirds, and these teens follow their family values and community rules. Once teens have decided they want to become members of the Amish church, they attend baptismal classes for 12-18 months, depending on the community’s practice. Then they are baptized during a fall church service. About 90% of all Amish teens choose to join the church.
In the Sisters & Friends series, I wanted to show the different ways teens react to their freedom during Rumschpringe. Lydia postpones joining the church to keep an eye on Emma, who rebels and experiments with Englisch ways. The youngest sister, Sarah, joins the church at age 16, as soon as she can.
Change of Heart
Lydia Esh’s younger sister Emma is running wild during Rumschpringe, causing the family major heartaches. Although it means risking her reputation, her job as a schoolteacher, and her courtship with Jakob Zook, Lydia attends parties to watch over Emma and protect her sister’s virtue. When Emma begins a relationship with Kyle, an Englischer, Lydia teams up with Kyle’s older brother, Caleb, to keep the couple apart. As Lydia and Caleb spend time together keeping an eye on their siblings, Lydia falls for this forbidden love. Will she stay true to her faith even if it means giving up the man she loves?
About the Author
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good, writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. After raising five children, she turned to writing, editing, and illustrating, and now has more than 2300 articles and 30 books under several pen names. In addition to the Sisters & Friends series, she’s also the author/illustrator of the Amish Quilts Coloring Book. Find out more about Rachel at her website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Change of Heart can be purchased at Amazon, CBD, or a local bookstore.