Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
May Contain Spoilers
Belonging picks up right where Temptation left off. Rose has just been introduced to her new Amish guardians, the Hershbergers, and she’s immediately confronted by the community elders. They are an intimidating group of old men, and they warn that they will not tolerate any poor behavior from Rose. If she’s going to court Noah, she has to work hard and prove herself to them. Both Noah and Rose are disappointed that Rose will have a ramping up period before she’s allowed to join the church. Until she’s an official member of the community and officially courting Noah, they aren’t allowed to be together.
This is a soap opera on an epic scale. Rose is so in love with Noah that she’s willing to give up her family to be with him, though she’s less than happy at the thought of being a drudge for the rest of her life. She definitely irritated me, because even as she’s pretending to go along with her new way of life, she’s convinced herself that somehow she will coax Noah into leaving the Amish and becoming English for her. I realize that she is young, and that she’s gotten everything she’s wanted to this point in her life, but I really wanted to shake her every time she thought about Noah abandoning his family for her. He already explained that he is content with his life, that he enjoys the community, and that he is counting on the assistance of his family and friends to start his adult life with his new wife. He made perfect sense to me, and his behavior remained comfortingly steady.
After Rose’s father discovers that she’s taken to the Amish way of life a little too well, he and Sam plot to kidnap her and send her off to live with her aunt in Cincinnati. They both think that once she’s back in her old life, with her old friends, that she will forget about Noah. To ensure that their plan is a success, they meddle even more, and turn Noah against her. And this is where I actually, finally, started to like Rose. She didn’t forget about Noah, and she began to look back on her time with the Amish with fondness. She made friends with them, life was a little more laid back, and there was her life with Noah to look forward to. Sure, doing the laundry by hand sucks, and so did the constant cleaning and unending chores, but the community, for the most part, had been welcoming and encouraging of her efforts to belong with them.
As her time apart from Noah stretched on, Hunter resurfaced in her life. I’ll be honest and say that love triangles aren’t my favorite trope. Love triangles are probably one of the major reasons that I don’t read as much YA as I once did. I just don’t find them that compelling. If the heroine is that confused about who she wants to be with, she’s not ready to be with anyone yet. Just hang out with both of them, because there is a lack of commitment for either guy and avoid all of the drama. Since Rose thinks that Noah hates her, she doesn’t have a reason to not hang out with Hunter, and when he tells her how much he cares for her, she thinks that they might have a future together. Good thing that Sam suddenly suffered from a guilty conscience, thanks to Rose’s friend Summer, and he comes clean to Noah about how he interfered in their relationship. Hunter is a great guy and all, but compared to Noah, he’s boring and shallow, and a huge pushover whenever Rose so much as smiled at him.
I enjoyed Belonging better than Temptation, though I had the same reservations about Rose. The novel is character driven, and we have the addition of Sam’s POV this time around. He is just as over indulged and spoiled as Rose; probably more so, as he’s made himself a reputation of loving and leaving countless high school girls and their broken hearts in his wake. Even though I didn’t necessarily like him, his POV still made for engaging reading. The drama, drama, drama at times is overwhelming, but I couldn’t put my Kindle down. Every emotion and setback is huge and over the top, and made me want to see how Rose, Noah, and Sam would handle these conflicts tossed at them throughout the book. The ending is a huge cliffhanger, and made me want Forever, the next book in series, RIGHT NOW! I am so curious to see how everything plays out. Will Rose leave her modern life behind, and embrace a life with Noah,in his Amish community? I would have a really hard time giving up my electric gadgets, so I’m dying to see how this series ends.
Review copy provided by Kismet Blog Tours
About Karen Ann Hopkins
A native of New York State, Karen Ann Hopkins now lives with her family on a farm in northern Kentucky, where her neighbors in all directions are members of a strict Amish community. Her unique perspective became the inspiration for the story of star-crossed lovers Rose and Noah. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, giving riding lessons or tending to a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats, she is dreaming up her next romantic novel.