‘Rum Spring’ by Yolanda Wallace

Dylan Mahoney and Rebecca Lapp have been friends forever. That’s where their similarities end. Rebecca is Amish, Dylan is not. Dylan is gay, Rebecca is not, and she knows she’ll marry a local boy and have kids. Dylan is a film buff, Rebecca has never seen a film in her life.

When Rebecca’s rumspringa, a four-year period when Amish teenagers determine whether they want to join the church or live in the “outside world,” comes around Rebecca agrees to spend weekends with Dylan and her parents.

Dylan confesses her love to Rebecca, who can’t reciprocate. Dylan vows to convince Rebecca to give up her religion, her family, and her life in order to be with her. Rebecca chooses her family and her religion over Dylan, who then must get on with her life.

Unfortunately, Dylan seems unable to think about anything but what she wants. She doesn’t show any empathy for how hard it must be for Rebecca to choose between her family and religion, and Dylan.

The book spans several years and the jumps between times were sometimes jarring, taking a paragraph or two to realize we’d time traveled. Wallace tells us that Rebecca is conflicted about Dylan and what she wants, but the reader doesn’t “feel” it.

In another context, Dylan would be seen as a bully or a control freak—wanting what she wants and expecting the object of her desire to succumb.

The reader is told that Dylan loves Rebecca from an early age, but, at times, she seems a tad too obsessed with being with Rebecca. Wallace doesn’t give either character any depth, nevertheless each character is likable and the reader roots for each to make the right decision for her.

If you are fascinated by the Amish lifestyle, this book might be a good addition to your collection. If you want a story about young love thwarted, but winning out in the end, you’ll enjoy this book.
by Yolanda Wallace
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602821934, 240pp.
December 2010