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They’ve escaped to the outside world—but can they really be free?
David and Isaac have found happiness in each other’s arms. In faraway San Francisco, Isaac’s brother Aaron helps them explore confusing “English” life and move beyond the looming shadow of their Amish roots. For the first time, David and Isaac can be openly gay, yet they struggle to reconcile their sexuality with their faith. At least they don’t have to hide their relationship, which should make everything easier. Right?
But while Isaac thrives at school and makes new friends, David wrestles to come to terms with the reality of the outside world. Haunted by guilt at leaving his mother and sisters behind in Zebulon, he’s overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city as he works to get his carpentry business off the ground.
While David and Isaac finally sleep side by side each night, fear and insecurity could drive them miles apart.
Quick housekeeping: this is book 2 of the series. It cannot be read as a standalone. And it takes place right after the end of book 1. This entire review will be a spoiler IF you haven’t read A Forbidden Rumspringa. If you have, it is spoiler free…
So…I waited some time before reading A Forbidden Rumspringa. I hestitated for lots of reasons, but mostly I just don’t do books that deal with religious content. Personal issues. But, I finally gave in to my curiosity…and geez am I so glad I did. I loved it.
Luckily, I had book 2 in my hands ready to read upon finishing the first. And I jumped right in.
Book 2 takes place directly after the ending of book 1 and that makes it so satisfying. No having to guess what happens…it’s all right there on page. David and Isaac take the bus cross-country to go be with Aaron & his wife in San Francisco. They are wide-eyed, terrified, racked with guilt, excited, wrestling with a myriad of conflicting emotions…but they are together. And that’s what keeps them grounded.
In this book we meet Aaron and his wife Jen and they are, without a doubt, some AMAZING characters. They are the kind of people you want in your life…the kind of people you want to BE in your life. And they welcome with open arms David & Isaac and start teaching them how to live in the world.
The adjustment is hard for both of them and it HURT everytime you remember that these are now young adult men who essentially feel almost like children in a new world. I felt their confusion and sometimes their shame. I felt their fear and their anxiety. I wanted to immediately hug them both and shake them, tell them I’d get them through this. (because I’m crazy and invested in my books like that)
Book 2 is told from David’s perspective and it’s a hard go. I loved David in Rumspringa…he felt like such an honest man of integrity and strength. So it was especially hard reading him struggle so much. And then…well…my own frustration set in. “TALK TO HIM!” I screamed at David in my Kindle. “Ask for help!” I pleaded. “Don’t just think sex will make all your problems go away!” I warned him (and PS: there’s a LOT of sex in this book…just sayin…and it’s all on page. I may have skimmed a couple scenes just because it got to be a lot…). But where I usually really give up on a book when it turns to lack-of-communication/miscommunication, for some reason, it drew me in deeper. Yes, more frustrated, but I couldn’t give up on them. And I could feel why David was having such a hard time talking to Isaac.
And that’s another thing about this book…it dragged me through the emotional ringer. The guilt of leaving…I felt it. The fear of one adjusting to the world easier than the other…I felt it. The jealousy of other people…I felt it. The almost codependent need for one another…I felt it. I was sobbing by the end.
And let’s just talk about THAT ENDING. Ummm…sorry folks, no spoilers. But we’ve got a helluva cliffy going on there. Will our 2 favorite Amish men be able to leave tragedy behind and overcome with their love and faith in one another? Of course they will…but I have a sense it’s not gonna be easy.
So…GIMME BOOK 3…as soon as you can please…
I think this book was probably more emotional for me Rumspringa, but I’m going to rate it a little lower just because book 1 was some impeccable storytelling and book 2 just made me a blubbering mess…