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Bonnet Strings

An Amish Woman's Ties to Two Worlds
Bonnet Strings

By author: Saloma Miller Furlong
Product Code: 9858
ISBN: 9780836198584
Pages: 340
Binding Information: Paperback / softback
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 inches

Publication Date: 2/3/2014

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At age twenty, Saloma Miller left behind her Amish community in Burton, Ohio, and boarded a night train for Vermont, where she knew no one. In this poignant coming-of-age memoir, Saloma’s new life of freedom includes work as a waitress and plans to continue her education. Romance also blossoms with a Yankee toymaker.

Soon, however, a vanload of people from her community, including the Amish bishop, arrive to take her back into the fold. Saloma’s freedom comes to an abrupt end when she goes back home to Ohio with them. Thus begins a years-long struggle of feeling torn between two worlds: will she remain Amish and embrace the sense of belonging and community her Amish life offers, or will she return to the newfound freedom she tasted in Vermont?

Saloma settles into teaching in an Amish school and does her best to fit back into Amish ways, but a legacy of childhood abuse, struggles with an eating disorder, and questions of identity plague her. Her ties to the outside world remain, mostly through the quiet perseverance of the toymaker from Vermont. He keeps sending her cards, never giving up hope that their love could survive the strain of living in two different worlds.

Bonnet Strings by Saloma Miller Furlong offers a universal story of overcoming adversity and a rare look inside an Amish community. Readers of Amish fiction and viewers of the PBS documentaries such as The Amish and The Amish: Shunned will find in it a true story: of woundedness and healing, of doubt and faith, and of the often competing desires for freedom and belonging.

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  • Foreword by Callie T. Wiser
  • Introduction
  • Part I
  • 1. A Lifetime on Earth
  • 2. I Lift Mine Eyes
  • 3. Weighing Happiness
  • 4. Liberating Linda
  • 5. The Struggle Within
  • 6. Gemini Twins
  • 7. Schmunzling
  • 8. Life in Open Throttle
  • 9. Love Unspoken
  • 10. The Loss of Linda
  • 11. Wearing Amish
  • 12. The Cross of Hope: David Furlong
  • Part II
  • 13. Prodigal Daughter
  • 14. A Leaf in the River
  • 15. Just Friends in Ohio
  • 16. Mixed Messages
  • 17. My Name’s Saloma!
  • 18. Family Immersion
  • 19. On the Other Side of the Desk
  • 20. Trip to Vermont
  • 21. The Silent Beauty of a Moonlit Night
  • 22. A Little Faith in Plain Country: David Furlong
  • Part III
  • 23. A Birthday Gift
  • 24. Linda’s Day in the Sun
  • 25. A Rendezvous
  • 26. Moonlight in Vermont
  • 27. Trip to New England
  • 28. A Yankee Wedding
  • 29. By the Waterfalls
  • 30. Mull of Kintyre
  • 31. Fairy Stones
  • 32. Sister Talk
  • 33. Arm-in-Arm with the Future
  • 34. Farewells
  • 35. White Knight: David Furlong
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Recipes
  • The Author

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Review by: Shirley Hershey Showalter, author of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World - December 1, 2013

“This story includes all the elements of a good romance—attraction, danger, secrets, beautiful scenery, obstacles, culture clashes, and oldfashioned chivalry. You will cheer for Saloma and the sense of self God placed in her.”

Review by: Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast - December 1, 2013

“Saloma Miller Furlong explores the complexities of duty and desire, defining the careful balance between familial responsibility and the pursuit of true love. You will rejoice with Saloma as she acquires independence from her previously cloistered lifestyle among the Amish and recall your own first glimpse of someone you knew would capture your heart—and therefore change your world forever. Bonnet Strings is a memoir not to be missed.”

Review by: Vi Dutcher, professor of language and literature, Eastern Mennonite University - December 1, 2013

“In this memoir of the Bildungsroman genre, Saloma Miller Furlong writes carefully and artfully of the inner pain and joy she experiences as she finds her way, both outside of her home community and inside it. In addition, her partner David’s voice provides readers with a poignant lens with which to view Furlong’s journey.”

Review by: Lucinda Martin, researcher at Resarch Centre Gotha, University of Erfurt, Germany - December 1, 2013

Bonnet Strings paints an intimate portrait of one woman’s struggle to find an authentic path for herself among the Amish. Saloma Miller Furlong vividly portrays the warmth and love in her tight-knit community but also what it was like to try to live according to her community’s strict rules. The reader cheers as Furlong overcomes obstacles to create a life true to herself and her faith.”

Review by: Mary-Ann Kirkby, author of I Am Hutterite - December 1, 2013

“This is a remarkable story about a young Amish woman who, against all odds, chooses destiny over expectation. A beautiful memoir…It will break your heart and piece it back together again.”

Review by: Donald Kraybill, coauthor of The Amish and scholar of Amish life - December 1, 2013

“Suspended between two cultural worlds, Saloma tells an engaging story about her struggle to decide which one to claim as her own.”

Review by: Callie Wiser, producer of The Amish and The Amish: Shunned - December 1, 2013

“[Bonnet Strings] is a story of empathy and depth that reveals the wrenching decision that Amish people who consider leaving their culture must make.”

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