Saturday, September 14, 2013

Review - Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins

Temptation (Temptation, #1)Title: Temptation
Series: Temptation (Book #1)
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Release Date: 2012
Pages: 383, Paperback
Goodreads Rating: 3.77 stars
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
My Content Rating: PG-13 (Some kissing and talk of sex, but nothing serious)

Summary from Goodreads: 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 


forever, easy.

But it won't be.

Because he's Amish.
And I'm not.

This is one of those times when I felt like a book just wasn't for me.  While Temptation was well-written, there were so many things about it that frustrated me that I really couldn't enjoy the book as much as I would have liked to.  

The story follows Noah and Rose, an Amish boy and an English (meaning not Amish) girl who fall in love.  Because Noah's family would never approve of the relationship, they have to keep it a secret.  When they are discovered, they are faced with a difficult decision - will they give up on their love or will one of them change who they are so that they can be together?

What drove me crazy:
  • Insta-love.  I think that I would have enjoyed this book a LOT more if Noah and Rose's whole relationship hadn't been based on insta-love.  Basically, Noah showed up at Rose's door and was instantly in love with her because of her vivacious spirit (basically because she's different than the Amish girls he's known). One horseback riding trip later, they are completely and utterly in love.  Why?  I don't know.  Noah honestly seemed annoyed with Rose more often than he seemed to like her (which is actually believable based on their backgrounds - and Rose was kind of annoying sometimes).  So, why were they in love?  Ah, see my next point...
  • Lust defines love.  This is a common issue in YA (and other) books, but it seemed especially egregious here.  Why are Rose and Noah in love?  Because they can't keep their hands off of each other.  It has nothing to do with shared values or a sense of joy or even contentment when they're together.  It all boils down to the fact that they are incredibly attracted to one another.  Oh, and they have never been (and obviously could never be) attracted to anyone else - ever.  Because they are meant for each other.  Now, I will say that the adults in the book did try to tell Noah and Rose that attraction is not the only thing to base a lifelong relationship on.  And I honestly thought for awhile that maybe cooler heads would prevail.  Maybe Noah and Rose would actually learn that they were not meant for each other - or at least that they had a long way to go before they could determine whether or not they were meant for each other.  But, alas, no.  Which brings me to...
  • Love is more important that anything else.  Now, of course, we are supposed to believe that love overcomes all odds, but in this case, we are supposed to assume that Rose and Noah's love is more important than absolutely everything else in their lives.  This would be more palatable if they had grown to love each other slowly and found that their lives were richer with each other in them, but the insta-love made this intolerable in my opinion.  Before Rose moved to her new town, she had been a dancer - dance had been incredibly important to her and she had trained several days a week.  Noah wants Rose to become Amish, which would mean no more dance.  Really it would mean no more anything that Rose knows and loves - besides Noah.  No problem, right?  Oh, but it's okay because Rose secretly hopes that Noah will give up everything that he is instead and become English.  It's a relationship based on both people trying to fundamentally change each other.  It was so frustrating!
What I enjoyed:
  • The Amish traditions.  I thought that the book gave a very interesting and believable insight into Amish living.  It seemed that the author knew a lot about Amish life and what kinds of thoughts, beliefs and expectations an Amish person might have.  The Amish characters didn't seem stereotypical - they seemed like real people, regular people who simply live their lives a bit differently than what the rest of us are used to.  While their beliefs obviously defined them in many ways, the Amish characters were also not carbon cut-outs, which I appreciated.
  • Possibility for redemption?  At the end of the book I found myself thinking that maybe things might be a bit better in the next book?  I do think that the next book might have an interesting premise and I'm hoping that Rose and Noah might start to truly realize what they're sacrificing for each other.  At the very least, I would hope that their relationship would deepen so that it will be based on something more than mutual attraction.  I'm still on the fence about whether or not to give the next book in the series a try, but there's part of me that thinks it might be better.
This is one of those books that, while I liked it in some ways, it just didn't sit well with me for many reasons.  I won't say that I didn't enjoy the book at all - there were definitely aspects of the book that I liked a lot.  Unfortunately, for me, those aspects were overshadowed by some fundamental issues that I had that caused me to not really be able to recommend this book.  I know there are others who loved it, though, so I think the book just wasn't for me. I give it 2.5/5 Stars.