The launch date for my new memoir, Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds is less than two months away. That official date is February 3, 2014.
My publisher, Herald Press, is doing a survey to gather people’s feedback on two separate book covers. They are offering a chance to win one of two free copies of the book when you fill out the survey. I hope you go get a sneak preview of the book cover (it will be one of these!) and have your name entered into the drawing for delivery when the book is launched. Because of our fast turnaround, this survey ends on Friday at noon.
Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds is about leaving behind my Amish community in Ohio at twenty years old and boarding a night train for Vermont, where I knew no one. My new life of freedom included establishing a social life, working as a waitress, and making plans to continue my education. I met a Yankee toymaker and street peddler, David, with whom I developed a budding romance.
My freedom came to an abrupt end when a vanload of Amish people showed up at my front door to bring me back into the fold. I could not resist the overwhelming presence of the bishop and others, and so I returned to Ohio with them. Thus began my struggle of feeling torn between two worlds. My Amish world offered belonging and community. My Vermont world offered freedom.
Meanwhile, David tried to continue our relationship. I kept telling him, “I’m Amish, and you’re not—our romance is impossible.” I could not push David away any more than I could hold him close.
My two worlds collided when David came for a visit. I was caught in the middle and I needed desperately for him to leave. I delivered a thorough rejection. When he departed, I thought I’d never see him again.
I began teaching in an Amish school, but I kept longing to be a student instead of a teacher, which could never happen if I stayed Amish.
When I finally realized that Amish life was not for me, I traveled to Vermont, where David and I spent a week together. One Sunday morning, we sat by a waterfall and talked about our feelings for one another.
I grappled with whether it is possible to have a foot in both worlds, or whether you just have to choose between one or the other. This memoir is about finding that answer for myself.
I will be announcing the winning book cover early next week, along with two names of people who won the free copies of the book.
Thank you for your support!