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    The Bond Woman

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    Janice Dembosky  janevpd@gmail.com

    First and foremost, Janice Dembosky calls herself a story-teller. Her fascination with the Old Order Amish began in the 1950’s when she stood on her parents’ porch and watched a caravan of black buggies move in to inhabit the farmlands of Western PA. Personal observation of her neighbors was not enough. Dembosky began in-depth research of the religion and customs of the Plain People who desire to live in separation from the modern world.

    After her retirement from teaching, Dembosky created her debut novel, The Bond Woman: An Amish Woman’s Love for a Man on the Outside (2015). Her inspiration for that novel was the biblical story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, from which she created a modern version. She chose to make the Hagar-character Amish “because I needed a social group that would cast a woman out.” Her years of research paid off, rooting her fiction in realistic details about how the Amish maintain their life of separation. Though she stands by her research, Dembosky clearly labels her works as fiction, “characters and plots that have sprung from my imagination.”

    Dembosky admits that she expected to be a “one-book wonder,” but her enthusiastic readers had other plans for her. They called for a sequel, and she obliged with The Covering (2016). The Covering was just as well-received as its prequel, and Dembosky found herself buckling to pressure for yet a third book. The Sparrow’s Song (2017) now completes what has come to be known as The Bond Woman Trilogy.

    Dembosky’s five-star-rated stories are characterized by unforgettable characters and unpredictable plots. Even though readers commonly refer to them as “Amish books,” they soon learn that The Bond Woman Trilogy is not typical of Amish books in that the stories in it do not romanticize the Amish way of life. Neither do they condemn. Instead, readers find that the Amish in her stories deal with the same struggles as the Outsiders from whom they claim to be separate.

    While Dembosky’s initial foray into the world of publishing fiction began with “Amish stories,” Dembosky should not be considered only as an author of Amish-themed fiction’ rather, she says, her future creative imagination will be piqued by unique human stories wherever she finds them.

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