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Posts Tagged ‘Cindy Woodsmall’


This is the 3rd and final book in the Ada’s House series. I reviewed The Bridge of Peace, which is book 2 in this series. Having also read (and reviewed) books 1 and 3 in the Sisters of the Quilt series (When the Heart Cries ; When the Soul Mends) was nice, because many of the characters were familiar and like becoming reacquainted with old friends.

Sylvia Fisher is not a typical Amish woman. She loves cows. Well, she loves all  farm animals, but she particularly loves the dairy cows on her family farm. She also likes working the farm along side of her father. 

While her grandfather was alive, he really got her- he understood her passion, and taught her his philosophies on dairy management. When he died, Sylvia has struggled to find a man who treated with the same kind of respect, and trusted her with farm matters. Her father, though perhaps more liberal than others, feels that once Sylvia marries, her traditional place in the home will become her focus.

Elam and Sylvia have been courting. Sylvia’s father, having only daughters, forges a farm partnership with Elam, assuming he and Sylvia will marry. Sylvia is upset with both her Daed and Elam, neither of whom bothered to consider asking her opinion before changing the operations of the farm.

Sylvia can’t imagine giving it all up. Elam’s marriage proposal leaves her conflicted. “Didn’t she want more from true love than heart-pounding attraction?” She promises him an answer in a few weeks, while she sorts out her feelings.

Three weeks later, after storming out, Elam hasn’t been back to the farm. Sylvia is ready to sort things out with him, and she thinks,“If he could see her side of it, and if she could see his side, they could work this out.” Her heart soars, as she sees Elam upon arriving home.

Her hope turns to horror, as she gets the news that Elam and her younger sister, Beckie, are going to marry. Sylvia is devastated. And, to make matters worse, her Daed refuses her plea to let her leave the farm.

Several years later, illness forces Sylvia and Elam into the same house- the house her grandfather left her in his will- the house she relinquished to Beckie andElam upon pressured requestbecause of illness.  Sylvia does her duty as a sister, and takes care of Beckie and Elam’s young children, since Beckie is too sick to care for them herself.

Sylvia and Elam had been vaccinated for whooping cough, which put them in the position of caring for the farm and for the sick family “around the clock like a married couple.” An unplanned and unwanted situation necessitates an urgency for Sylvia to leave the farm, regardless of her father’s objections to letting an unmarried daughter move away.

Life on the Blank farm was more than Sylvia could have hoped for. She was partners with Michael, and was increasing the herd. Although her father forbade her to have any contact with her sisters and she had to give up her portion of the farm along with all the money he’d put aside as her salary through the years, Sylvia was content with the trade-off. Dora and Michael provided her with solace; she filled their need to nurture.

Life was good; simple. At least it was until prodigal son and recovering alcoholic Aaron Blank comes home. He’s intent upon buying an appliance store in town and convincing his parents to sell the beloved farm and move with him there. Sylvia and Aaron could not be on further ends of the pole.

In addition to this main story line, there are the continuing stories from the other books in the series. Cara came to the Amish as the niece of an Amish couple; hoping to hide herself and her daughter from a violent stalker who was bent on killing her. Cara and Ephraim were childhood friends, in her brief time visiting. When Ephraim was grown, he went to the city to try to find Cara, but was unsuccessful. Cara and Ephraim, are now in love and hope to marry (book 1, Hope of Refuge).

Also making appearances are Lena and Grey, from The Bridge of Peace (book 2), Deborah and Jonathon (book 1), and Ada and Israel. Being the final book in the series, all of the story lines are nicely wrapped up.

Because I totally loved this book, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. All of the characters, even those from the other series, feel like friends. It was nice to get an update, and I love how both series are intertwined. I do think reading the other books is helpful, but not essential. Not having read any of the other books should not be off-putting in the least.

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

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3 years. That’s how long it’s been since Gideon broke Mattie’s heart. 3 years, a move out of state, and as Mattie’s business takes off, her heart is still slow to mend. 

Gideon was the love of her life; her lifelong good friend. Mattie still can’t understand why he cheated on her with an Englischer and then broke their engagement. Their first date had taken place on her birthday, Christmas Eve, when they attended the Christmas Eve singing together. The following three years, they celebrated their love and the season the same way.

“And then she caught him.

Her heartbreak had been compounded by confusion. Nothing had prepared her for his betrayal.”

And now, she had Sol. Quiet Sol. Solid, dependable Sol. Sol who was slowing gaining confidence with her. Seeing each other was now regular, instead of just at special occasions, and Mattie felt comfortable with Sol. Sol was Gideon’s polar opposite when it came to getting along with young women, and Mattie was looking forward to going to the Christmas Singing with him.

Mattie’s business as a cake maker had taken off; she had orders coming out of her ears, and she couldn’t be happier. She’s planning for a busy holiday season of birthday and wedding cakes, and she can’t wait to see her original designs.

Then, disaster struck. Mattie’s cake shop caught on fire. As she watches, she sees a flash of fabric- fabric the same color as the dress her niece was wearing that morning. Mattie knows her niece will never find her way out of the fire without someone to help her…..

A trip across state lines finds both Gideon and Sol at the hospital, checking on an unconscious Mattie. Gideon finally found a driver, and gets to the hospital before Sol, who was out on a hunt, arrived.

Once Mattie is released from the hospital, the only realistic option for her is to go home to Pennsylvania while they wait to get the insurance sorted out. Mattie’s apprehensive, but is convinced she can avoid Gideon while she’s there. It doesn’t take her long to figure out she’s wrong about that, though, when she realizes how involved they both are with her cousin’s impending marriage.

Will she be back in Ohio in time to attend the Christmas Singing with Sol, as they had planned? Can Mattie finally get some answers and bury her feelings for Gideon?

This book is classic Cindy Woodsmall. I love it! You’ve got a solid storyline, packed with relationship history. While the plot was relatively predictable, the particulars were not, and that was fun.  I also really liked that both men were good guys, which ultimately made the choice more difficult.

I absolutely would recommend this book to anyone who likes Amish fiction. It’s a really nice feel-good story, and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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

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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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