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Girls Who Pray
Evelyn Dar. Evelyn Dar, $8.99 trade paper (270p) ISBN 978-1-68915-568-7
Dar (It’s Complicated) puts a queer spin on Amish romance in this enjoyable if uneven tale of forbidden love. The successful, ex-Amish young adult novelist writing as Claire Roberts makes a splash with her latest book, a steamy tell-all about an affair between two Amish women. Claire’s despotic former bishop, Vernon Zimmerman, sues Claire for libel and she returns home to Ashville, Ohio, to defend herself. As the trial haltingly unfolds, Claire flashes back to 2006, when 18-year-old Rachel Fisher moves to town. Rachel, chafing at the strict rules of the Amish settlement, takes the fall for the bishop’s daughter, Sarah Zimmerman, over an unapproved radio, bonding them instantly. As they grow closer, Sarah and Rachel try and fail to fight against their mutual attraction, leading to sensual love scenes between the heroines. Rachel runs away repeatedly, unable to reconcile her faith and her feelings, but keeps coming back. Though the flashbacks tell a convincing story, the courtroom scenes are far more broadly rendered and a late revelation in the case strains credulity. Still, strong characters and entertaining drama redeem the novel’s choppy plot. This contemporary love story will please readers of lesbian romance. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 01/24/2020