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After having read book 3 (When the Soul Mends) in the Sisters of the Quilt Series (Cindy Woodsmall), I did not have it in mind to read the first part of this story, book 1; When the Heart Cries.  Slim pickin’s on the selection list left me with this book.  I have read one other book by this author, in the Ada’s House series.

Book 1 in this series introduces us to Hannah Lapp, and Old Order Amish young lady not quite 18 years old.  Not having been baptized into the faith yet, Hannah is still in her rumschpringe, which allows her a little more freedom. On the evening of her secret engagement to a young Mennonite man, tragedy finds Hannah and changes her life forever.

I have no doubt that the response to the tragedy is likely authentic Amish.  If it’s not, it’s not doing the faith any favors. I find the general subject in this particular book to be off-putting. It doesn’t endear the Amish people to me, to say the least. I wish the author had chosen a different theme for this story.  I think there are any number of other events that could have led the main character down the same path.

The one thing this book did do for me was make me want to re-read book 3.  I hope that I’ll be able to look at the characters differently than I did the first time around, and that may make the overall story more palatable.

Despite the main story line, the book was well written and the characters well-developed.  I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Help me win stuff by clicking below and ranking my review!

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This is book 3 of the Sisters of the Quilt series.  Not having read either of the first two books, I was unsure if I would be able to plug right in and not be lost.  I was very appreciative of the cast of characters at the beginning of the book, and I found myself flipping back and forth quite frequently.  There was one character, however, that wasn’t listed, and it took me a while to figure out who she was.  I enjoyed the plot, and the characters were well-developed. I really liked the epilogue, too, which wrapped things up neatly.

There was one part, though, that totally pushed my buttons. This consisted of a scene that was about a page and a half long.  Not only were there no other scenes like this in the entire book, but the information stated as “fact” is a bunch of hooey; woefully inaccurate and not the least evidence based.

Normally, when I’m reading fiction, I am not picky about checking facts.  However, in this case, there were two things that stood out to me; mostly for the inaccuracies due to “old” medically driven advice and also because in the setting and situation (which also wasn’t clear- was it a home? Was it the clinic?), the one thing in particular is wrong on so many counts. 

Since I don’t have time or interest to go point by point, I will say that as a person who is relatively knowledgeable about birth practices, this section of the book left me really annoyed.  I wish the author would have done more research than she did, because if she had, these two “facts” stated would have never made it in the book. 

The kicker, though, is that this part of the book didn’t even fit!  The story line would have been considerably better had this page and a half been edited out and removed entirely.  It was completely adjunct and NOT an asset to the story or the characters.

That being said, if you didn’t know anything about labor and delivery, you probably wouldn’t be bothered (but you might have come away feeling like that information was factual).  I would recommend the book to a friend with the caveat about this section- reader be warned!

I give this 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  Help me win stuff by clicking below and ranking my review!  

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The Bridge of Peace; Cindy Woosdsmall 

The Bridge of Peace; Cindy Woodsmall

This is a book with a solid story line. It has it all – suspense, soul-searching, tragedy, complicated relationships and a bit of romance – set to the backdrop of an Old Amish community. The author weaves together the stories of the local schoolteacher and a childhood friend, who also happens to be on the school board. They both face challenges in their lives; she struggles to make a life despite a birthmark that leaves her judged; he struggles to connect with his wife in their dead marriage.

Initially, the amount of characters was a bit overwhelming, trying to remember who was who and how they were related. Once I finished the book, I saw the list of main characters in the back of the book.  I wish this list had been in the front of the book, so as I began reading (which was my first book to read in this series), I could have used the list for reference instead of reading back and having to sort through on my own.

I would like to read the other book in the series, but as a stand-alone book, the reader is pretty quickly brought up to speed. The author set up several scenarios for disaster (at least in my mind), but those didn’t play out. I liked that the plot was not completely predictable.

I would read other books by this author, and would recommend it to folks who liked reading stories of this nature.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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