Keli Gwyn
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LIH Spotlight: The Engagement Charade

This week I’m shining the spotlight on
The Engagement Charade, a July release from
Love Inspired Historical author Karen Kirst.

Learn more about the story below, and then scroll
down to enter the giveaway for a print copy.

A Temporary Betrothal 

Pregnant widow Ellie Jameson is hiding a secret: her betrothal is a sham to keep her safe from her interfering in-laws. It’s simple friendship that prompts her reclusive boss to pose as her fiancé. But can Ellie keep her feelings for Alexander Copeland from developing into something more?

When he moved to Gatlinburg after losing his wife and child, Alexander had one rule: stay out of other people’s lives. Easier said than done with the café owner’s eternally optimistic cook interrupting his enforced solitude. He only intended to protect Ellie, not propose to her. But with a little trust, and a helping of forgiveness, this temporary arrangement could be a recipe for lasting happiness…

Copyright © 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.


Bonnet Books

Whenever I visit Walmart, I stop by the book section to say hi to the latest stories in the Love Inspired lines. I gaze fondly at the covers of books bearing the names of my friends. If no one’s looking, I might even run my hand over the pretty covers or pick up a book and savor that wonderful new-book scent.

What I saw this past week surprised me. The bottom shelf boasted six Amish stories, repackaged from earlier Love Inspired releases, I believe. Each book has a cover featuring a lovely model wearing a simple dress and a white kapp.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised to see the books. I follow the LI editors on Twitter, and they’ve been tweeting requests for submissions of Amish stories for both the Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense lines for some time. It appears they can’t get enough.

Amish books have been around for many years now. I remember when the craze first started not longer after I began writing with a goal of becoming published. There were those who said bonnet books, as they’re sometimes called, were a fad and predicted the interest in them to fade as quickly as it had grown, but that hasn’t been the case.

The demand for stories about plain people seems to be stronger than ever. I’ve been pondering why this genre has such appeal. My theory is that people today live such busy lives that they’re drawn to these stories due to the simplicity represented by the Amish lifestyle.

Upon deeper reflection, I find myself wondering if the interest in bonnet books has led to the waning interest in historicals. Could it be that readers crave the idea of a simpler life in the here and now and no longer feel the need to escape to the past in order to satisfy their desire?

I don’t have answers. After all, I’m just one reader. I’m hoping you can help educate me.


Questions for You

Are you a fan of Amish stories?

If so, what is it you like about them?

If not, why do you think they’re so popular?

Do you think my theory about bonnet books replacing historicals
as today’s readers seek to escape their hectic lives for a few
restful hours has merit, or do you think I’m all wet?


A Fun Event for LIH Readers

If you’re a member of Goodreads, I invite you to visit our Love Inspired Historical group this week. Normally, our readers asks us questions about our stories during our monthly Q&As, but we’re switching things up. The LIH authors are hosting a our First Ever Reverse Q&A.

We’re asking questions of you, our wonderful readers this time. We’d love to hear what you think, so please consider popping by. The event runs June 12-16.


Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a print copy of The Engagement Charade
by leaving a comment on this post with the answer to one of the
questions above. You must answer at least one question to qualify.
(Be sure to leave your email address when you’re
prompted to do so during the commenting process.
To keep spammers from snatching your address,
please don’t leave it in your comment itself.)

Giveaway ends Saturday, June 17 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Winner to be announced in my new
blog post on Monday, June 19.

Must be 18 to enter. International OK. Void where prohibited.

Congratulations to the winner from my June 5 post!
Lisa R. will receive a copy of Montana Cowboy’s Baby,
a July LIH by Linda Ford.










Keli Gwyn


  • I do enjoy an Amish read now and then. The simplicity they boast makes me often wonder why I am not Amish myself 😉 I often tell my family I am going to convert haha!

    I also see how your theory makes a lot of sense! Although it hurts my heart a little. I can’t imagine not loving Historicals. They are my favorite!!!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Kalan, the apparent simplicity of the Amish lifestyle appeals to me, too. And then I think of how much I appreciate my microwave oven, washer, dryer, refrigerator… I’m inspired to find ways to simplify my life without sacrificing electricity. 🙂

  • While I am not a fan of Amish books, I have read a few. I lean more towards suspense so if I do pick up a “bonnet book” I prefer it have the murder/mystery/suspense that I enjoy and the Amish part of the book be less of the story. I honestly do not see what the draw to an Amish read is, but seeing that they are so prolific there is definitely a market for them…totally stumps me 😉 I definitely prefer all of my modern conveniences and living by grace rather than by rules(that might be a bit harsh and show my ignorance of the lifestyle, but represents the books in that genre that I have read).

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Julie, I didn’t realize you were such a big fan of romantic suspense. Since you are, I’m sure you’d enjoy some of the stories in the Love Inspired Suspense line.

      Like you, I’m not drawn to a life without my laptop, appliances and vehicles or one governed by a rigid set of rules. Perhaps that’s why I’m not a big fan of the Amish stories.

  • Brenda W says:

    I am a fan of Amish stories. My cousin gave me gift of an Amish book when I was going through a rough time in my life. I had not read much since I graduated high school but that got me started reading again.

    I like history and grew up hearing the older folks talk of how things were in their childhood. The simpler Amish lifestyle is somewhat like life in America in the 1800’s and before electricity.

    I think the books are popular because of the simpler, mostly peaceful lifestyle and good hearted people they are written about. But there are always good and bad folks in every community and time period of history.

    I do not think that bonnet books will replace historicals. I like both. And I am still very upset with LI for discontinuing the LIH historicals.

    That preview today sounds like another good book by Karen Kirst! And taking place in my home state!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Brenda, I think you’re right about the appeal of the Amish books being due to the simpler, more peaceful lifestyle. I think many of us with overfull schedules crave less stress.

      I hope you’re right about historicals holding their own. They’re my favorite stories to read.

  • I just read the above comment- did Love Inspired really decide to stop their historical line? I sure hope not.

    I enjoy reading Amish fiction, but not as much as historical. I like the unusual lifestyle of the Amish and potential for storytelling there. I feel like when I read historical stories I’m learning as well as being entertained, and there is such a wide variety of eras, lands, and cultures to delve into.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Heidi, sadly the news about the LIH line closing is true. Harlequin announced the closure of five of their lines last month. The final LIH books will be published June 2018.

      I enjoy historicals for many of the same reasons you do. It’s fun learning about what life was like for our forefathers–and foremothers.

  • Jane says:

    I like the historicals especially the westerns. I do read the Amish ones I think because my mom talked about seeing them while visiting relatives, also there were Mennonites in the family. Mom said they were similar to Amish but with cars and electricity.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Jane, I enjoy Western-set stories, too, especially those here in our great state of California.

      My understanding is that the term Bonnet Books includes other “plain people,” such as Mennonites, Quakers, etc. My reader buddies can correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Trixi says:

    I’m a huge Amish fiction fan! Ever since my first Beverly Lewis story, I was hooked. I discovered many more authors who write in this genre over the years, but I’ll always have a special spot in my heart for Beverly 🙂

    More than anything, I like the sense of community within the Amish culture. How they take care of each other, their strong family values & bonds, how they support each other. I think we “English” can learn a thing or three about love in action from them. I know they’re not without their problems, but they go about things in the way we ought to. I also like the simplicity and uncomplicated life they live. They have no need of unnecessary “stuff”…I’m not talking so much about electricity and running water, but of the clutter we sometimes acquire. Things we think we need but never use, just gathering dust in our houses and such. I love their hard work ethic! They get things done and don’t make excuses for why they don’t. I do think it helps when they don’t have outside distractions and time-wasters…ie: internet, TV & etc (pointing fingers at myself here). And lastly, the quality of the furniture, quilts, homemade food stuff & etc! You know it’s very good craftsmanship when you see a beautiful piece of furniture or an equally beautiful quilt. If I lived anywhere near an Amish market, I’d definitely be buying my produce, food and etc from there!!

    I know their beliefs are different than mine, and putting aside that fact, in my opinion, they are an example of love in action and the Christ-likeness we should be. I admire so much about them and I really do think we could learn so much from them when it comes to the matters of the heart & family!

    I don’t for one minute believe that the rising interest in Amish stories has any impact on the LIH line! I just think it came down to sales numbers not being where LI wanted them to be with their historicals. Again, just my opinion! I’m still so sad & mad about it. My heart just goes out to all the wonderful authors 🙁

    Thank you for the book spotlight & giveaway chance, Keli! I’m in love with that cover 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Trixi, what a great list of reasons. It’s obvious you’ve given this a great deal of thought. Your observations have helped me gain a better understanding of the appeal of the Amish lifestyle and Amish stories. Thanks for that!

  • Mary Preston says:

    Amish stories are among my favorite reads.

  • Becky Smith says:

    I already have a copy of this book, and have just started reading it. I enjoy Amish stories because they are clean & wholesome, and family-oriented. I also like their simple lifestyle, with fewer distractions. But I enjoy most clean & wholesome books of any genre. I love the idea of Bonnet Books.

  • Marilyn R says:

    I do not believe Historical Fiction will be replace by Amish genre books. There’s a variety of readers and each one has their preference. I enjoy both–historical fiction to read for the history brought to life through fiction and Amish genre books because of the simpler life style and message of faith in most of them. There’s an Amish community in the county next to mine I enjoy visiting.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Marilyn, it’s nice to hear that many readers see value in both the Amish stories as well as historicals. How neat that you’re able to visit your local Amish community. As Trixi said in her comment above, the Amish produce many wonderful items.

  • Dianna says:

    Well, it depends…some Amish novels seem so flat and dry. In those, the Amish girl is only concerned about the way the Amish boy might brush her shoulder if he sits with her on the porch swing. That’s the type I don’t like. However, some have a deeper story that makes the romance seem like an interesting side note. THAT is the type of Amish fiction I enjoy!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Dianna, from what you said, I gather that romance isn’t your primary reason for picking up a book. You’re after a captivating story first and foremost.

      Are you familiar with the Love Inspired Suspense line, which includes some Amish stories? From what I know of LIS, the romance is there, but the dangerous situation the couple is in provides the main focus on the story. Perhaps some of the LIS readers could chime in with their thoughts.

  • Keli Gwyn says:

    Brenda W. is the winner of the giveaway. Congratulations, Brenda! I’ll be in touch.