I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Karen Ann Hopkins
Published Jule, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Provided by: Harlequin Teen Australia
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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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 Meadow View, 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 was so torn on what to rate this book. On the one hand, Temptation was a book I could absolutely not put down from start to finish. From the moment I picked it up, I was hooked. But, somewhere around the halfway mark, the main characters became extremely infuriating and the feminist part of me was ready to go on a rampage with the decisions that were made by our leading lady, Rose, and the possessiveness of our male lead, Noah.
Spoilers in full review!
Let me just point out that if a book has an incredible readability like this one, it’s a five-star rating hands down, or a four. For that reason, I was see-sawing on what to rate Temptation. I haven’t been able to read a book of this length all the way through in one sitting since Veronica Rossi’s Under The Never Sky, so imagine the thrill at finding another when I dipped back into my review ARC pile! Karen Ann Hopkins has the ability to weave a tale with no boring bits! Although there were MANY things I disagreed with (see rest of the review), I can’t say that this author made me bored in the slightest! The book had some serious star-quality and I’m sure that other readers out there will LOVE it. I want to say that I LOVED it too – because to a certain extent, I really did – but there were just some things I could not ignore when writing up my review.
I guess the main thing was that I seriously disagreed with the actions of the characters and the ‘message’ that this book sort of put across. Whether or not that message was intended, I’m not sure, but the feminist inside me was screaming at our leading lady, Rose. I know a lot of readers put down the Twilight series for being anti-feminist and teaching a generation to be dependent on men, but as a reader, I never found that to be the case. With Temptation, however, the issue of male dependency was always floating on the surface. I first thought Rose to be quite strong-willed and independently minded, although quite childish and naïve. But as she delves deeper into the relationship with Noah, the love interest, he soon manages to squash this out of her. Even though Rose – and the author – desperately try to convince us as readers that she’s so wild and free, her actions and decision-making severely contradict this. I’ll give a few examples a little further down.
I admit that I didn’t know THAT MUCH about the Amish culture before I read this book. My existing knowledge of their lifestyle mainly came from the movie For Richer or Poorer, haha, so in that regard, Temptation really taught me a lot as I read. But even though I ‘know’ that the Amish are quite segregated when it comes to men and women, I couldn’t help but get riled up at how Noah treated Rose even though she was ‘English’ and not born of that lifestyle herself. He was constantly trying to mould her to the ways of his people, even though the reason why he was drawn to her in the first place was because she was so different! He was constantly criticizing her sense of dress, her hobbies, etc.
Rose herself, as I mentioned, seemed initially to be quite strong and feminist herself, and although she had her doubts and got a little cranky at Noah for ordering her around and trying to reform her, she kept giving him what he wanted without much of a fight. This would have all been fine if he himself was willing to compromise, even if only away from the eyes of his family. It just seemed to me that Rose was the one who had to give up everything, even though she’d just lost her mother, and Noah didn’t have to give anything up. He had a lot to lose, but ultimately it was Rose making all the sacrifices. And she was fine with that!
Don’t even get me started about the conversation in the barn when Rose tells Noah she doesn’t think she can give up her life by marrying him and becoming Amish. I was cheering at Rose for finally taking a stand, but Noah takes it personally, making a jibe and saying that the only reason she’s refusing him is because she wants to continue dancing for the ‘English men’ – merely because she’s a jazz and ballet dancer. Rose then proceeds to slap Noah (hooray!) and he holds her hands down, fighting off aggression toward her. If I were in Rose’s position at that moment, I would be OUT OF THERE. For me, this was the final straw in really feeling for Noah and seeing him as ‘the cute love interest’. It was sad, because when the book started I actually quite liked him, and was intrigued by his and Rose’s growing relationship, but as he began to get more possessive and controlling, that was it.
What irked me most is that Rose seemed to pay it no mind. Ala Bella in New Moon, she spirals into depression after refusing Noah’s ultimatum. Should I just mention that this girl is only sixteen? Noah wants her to throw her life to the side, marry him and live in the Amish community, even asking her if he should get her pregnant in order for her father to consent. While Rose initially laughs this off, she even considers the idea later on. I just couldn’t stop shaking my head!
Yes, I can understand that these values are the only ones Noah has ever known, but he IS exposed to the outside world; his family hires drivers to take them to building sites, he drinks Mountain Dew when going to the gas station with friends, etc… so he should have SOME understanding about Rose’s life and her ideals. Instead, he keeps criticising her ‘people’ for being promiscuous (even her own father who is now moving on after his wife’s death) and Rose’s brother, and Rose just takes it! Sure, her brother Sam is a player, but she is constantly bagging him out to Noah and making Noah’s case legit. Don’t give him any more ammo, girl! And even if he’s being truthful, defend your family! They’re all you have left!
Another point that REALLY got on my nerves was toward the end when Noah was in hospital… After almost losing him, Rose tells him that she’s willing to convert to Amish. Noah, who had been ready to convert English, doesn’t even TELL her that he was willing to compromise HER way. He keeps his mouth shut, allowing Rose to give up everything and ‘take the victory’, so to speak. I wanted to quote the passage, but if you’ve read the book you know which one I’m talking about. To me, this really stuck out because it showcased practically all that I’ve mentioned about Noah’s character in one little portion.
I could ramble on about the things I didn’t like in this book all day, but I’m afraid it will detract from what I actually adored about the book. Believe me, it’s a good read – an enjoyable read – but I just couldn’t tuck away my personal feelings toward the whole ‘marriage and kids’ ideal and the boyfriend/husband being the controlling party. If you can suspend your own beliefs, or if you’re a little more non-critical, hopefully it won’t worry you as much as it did me.
At the heart of the book, it’s a story about love and overcoming obstacles to pursue that love. I’ve never before read a YA book focused on the Amish culture, so it’s definitely unique in that aspect and it’s what initially drew me to the book itself. There’s a lot of food for thought, too and I learnt a lot on the way. I only wish that Rose hadn’t annoyed me so much (I’m never more disappointed when reading to find a pseudo-independent female, sigh) and that she had proved to be what everyone ‘said’ she was. Noah at first was quite loveable and cheeky, but that soon turned on its head and I felt that really detracted from my initial enjoyment.
This book could have been tied up quite nicely (not too happy with the ending, but it obviously wasn’t going to happen any other way…) but at the end I found out there’s another in a series… not sure how that’s going to work, but I will definitely be reading it. It’s probably the first contemporary romance YA that I’ve read that isn’t a standalone.
I have so many thoughts on this book – too many to even add into this lengthy review! – but I WILL be continuing with the next book, as the sneak peak kind of indicates that there might be a compromise after all… Karen Ann Hopkins writes a compelling tale, one that is an enjoyable escape for the reader, so I can kind of forgive her for making me scream at the characters and their actions… for now! We’ll see what the next book brings, I guess!