Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: Plain Fear FORSAKEN by Leanna Ellis

As a rule, I don't read Amish Fiction. I'm not exactly what you would call a fan. In truth, I may be the anti-fan.

Last year I read an absolutely hi-lar-i-ous satire about creating a new genre of Christian Amish Vampire Fiction (laughable, isn't it?). So this summer, when I found out that somebody actually did it? Well, I couldn't resist latching on to the new novel by Leanna Ellis to find out -- and pardon the Transylvanian, please -- if it sucked.

Well, mark me down surprised, Amos. Cuz she done it good, jah?

(from the back cover)
Hannah cannot move on. She pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life when she drowned, bringing her back from the brink of death by breathing life into her. But Jacob is gone now, buried.

Levi's love for Hannah burns just as strong. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives. And he lives with that lie every day.

So when a stranger named Akiva comes to their community, he carries with him two secrets that will change their lives forever: he is in fact Jacob, whom Hannah had lost. And he is now a vampire.

When passions stir and secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love. But it's more than a choice of passion; it's a decision that will determine the fate of her soul.

Like tripping over a buggy wheel in the moonlight, and landing in comforting arms -- next to an open grave.
In other words, this novel was not about how awesome it is "to be Amish and in love", nor did it glamorize/romanticize the Amish lifestyle like so many of those Amish books I detest. (I didn't say "all". No need to send me nasty mail.) This was a dark, well-crafted story about complex relationships, the dangers of tamping down questions of legalism, the long-lasting effects of grief, the costs of deception, the risks of awakening passion too soon, the definition of true love, and... the transformation of a rebellious Amish kid into a vampire.

Um, well, it's an Amish book, duh. And, as a rule, I don't read Amish. (and, as a 2nd rule, I am a habitual rule-breaker.)

A well-written, engaging novel, Forsaken adds a fresh bite of originality and quality plot craft into the over-weaning and somewhat oxymoronic market we know as "Christian Amish Fiction." Leanna Ellis has written a sensual, dark tale that will shock many diehard fans of this subgenre and, at the same time, draw skeptics (like me) toward it through her passionate and sensory prose.

Plain Fear: Forsaken is creepy and edgy, and Amish and sexy. (sexy? Yep, sexy. Don't believe me? Well, read it for yourself.)

"No, there is too much. Let me sum up."
I'm not going to lie and tell you that I'm rushing to fill my Amazon cart with a buggy-full of bonnet books, but this novel was a unique, enthralling read. And, although I'm a little shocked to admit it, I read it, I liked it, and (gasp!) I highly recommend it.

My rating:


  1. Great review, Serena! Your reviews are always so thoughtful and fun. :)

    I, too, enjoyed this book and agree with your assessment - creepy, edgy, Amish, sexy...and also challenging. It's really hard to sum up thoughts on this book (although you do it well!), but for what it's worth here's a link to my review:


    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    P.S. I didn't mistake you for Joy this time! Woot! ;)

    P.P.S. Leanna will be visiting my blog on Thursday and giving away a copy of Forsaken to a U.S. resident, just as a shameless plug! (Hope you don't mind the shout out!)

  2. I really liked your review. I am going to have to read this book. I also read Amber's review. Thanks, Ladies

  3. Fantastic review Serena! And LOL @ Amber, shameless plugs are welcome here. :)

  4. Great review! I've read a bit of Amish fiction, and in small doses, it is a fun escape. But it's been awhile. (Those small doses last a long time!) I'm going to put this one on my TBR list!

  5. Very nice review, Serena! ☺

    While I still feel vampires in Christian fiction (and Amish Christian at that!)borderlines being blasphemous, I appreciate your honest and in depth review of this book. I won't be reading it; however, I admit to being very curious about this particular one. Your review was informative enough to settle my curiousity. ☺ Thanks!

  6. Amber: I'm heading over to read your review and excited to see what Leanne has to say when she visits your blog! (and, for the record, I'm all in favor of shameless plugs, too!)

    Patricia & lsl_scrapper: It's a good, solid read with some complex themes woven through -- but I should warn readers that it is mildly graphic (now there's an oxymoron for you)-- as far as the violence/blood, etc. -- not for the squeamish! -- and there are one or two edge-of-sex-scenes that are unusually sensual for an Amish books. (I think. I don't usually read them!)

    Larri -- it's a weird mesh, isn't it? Thanks so much for stopping by!


  7. A great review Serena! I doubt I'll read it(because of the near edge of sex scenes), but it does sound intriguing. Love the book trailer!

  8. Sounds fantastic. I can't wait to read it. I'm loving this new edgy subgenre.

  9. Hi, Serena! Thanks so much for giving my book a chance! Appreciate it! And thanks so much for posting your review! Best wishes!



  10. Thank you for taking the time to read my review, as well - and for letting me share my shameless plug! ;)

    Hope you all have a great day!


  11. Julie -- that is a spooky trailer, isn't it?

    Juju -- can't wait to see what you think

    Leanna! -- Thanks so much for stopping by and for being brave enough to write something so "out there" so very well!

    Amber: you're welcome!Looking forward to the interview.


  12. Serena, LOL! It is kinda scary to do something so different. I get slammed sometimes but then other times folks actually get what I was trying to do. And that makes it all worth it!



  13. I totally have to read this. SO curious.


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