Amish and Englisch Threaded Together

Cindy Woodsmall has written the third book in her series The Amish of Summer Grove and she has not disappointed her readers!  Gathering the Threads finishes the story of Ariana and Skylar, young women switched at birth, one Amish and one Englisch.  However it is more than that.  It is the story of the love of parents who raise a child, even a child who is not biologically theirs.  It is the story of parents who get to know the child who is biologically theirs but resents these circumstances.  It the story of an innocent Amish girl who suddenly gleans knowledge outside of her close-knit community and begins to question the old ways.  It is the story of a world-wise girl who comes to love the simplicity of the Amish ways.  It is also the story of the love of an Amish man who is intertwined in all of their lives and hides his love for the Amish girl.

Cindy has such a special way of drawing her readers into the lives of her characters.  You can almost imagine yourself being their neighbors.  In Summer Grove, the Brennemans found out that the night their twins, Abram and Ariana, were born the midwife had switched their daughter with an Englischer’s daughter.  The Englischer was now demanding that his biological daughter come live with him and the daughter that he had raised, who was spoiled and drug-addicted, go live with her Amish parents.  As Ariana returns to the Old Order Amish community, you can feel her angst and confusion as she struggles with the new information she as learned and the Old Ways of her community.  You can empathize with her as she is disciplined by the bishops and her Daed in front of the whole community.  You understand her need to turn to her biological father for some fatherly advice.  Your heart pains as she turns to her fiancé for support and he supports the bishops.  Your heart might even feel torn as she is told to cut off all communication with the one friend who has helped her navigate both worlds.

On the other hand, Skylar, has schemed to keep Ariana out of “her” parents lives and the café that Ariana started.  She contributed to the troubles that Ariana experienced out of jealousy that Ariana was able to get so close to her biological parents but also because she was shipped off to live in this community away from her access to drugs.  As Skylar comes to view Ariana in a clearer light, she comes to not only love her, but the rest of her family.

There is so much more to the story…….but I can’t tell you everything!  Get a cup of coffee, buy the trilogy, and settle into your easy chair and move into Summer Grove!  Maybe you will be neighbors with the Brennemans or the Schlabachs or one of the other families but whoever you choose to be neighbors with, it will be well worth it!  I received this book free for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.


Love Lessons

Beth Wiseman is a well-known Amish fiction writer as well as a Christian fiction writer.  I was lucky to have been able to review Wiseman’s book His Love Endures Forever which is the story of an English girl who is friends with an Amish young man, Levi, and  is also pregnant by another Amish man, Matthew.  Danielle, the young pregnant girl, learns about love in this book.  She has been living with an older couple after her mother is abusive toward her.  She is lost and falls in love with an Amish young man who has dreams of something more beyond the boundaries of his Amish village and Amish church.

Wiseman’s book, the third book in her A Land of Canaan series, is a journey of reflection and lessons of love – true, unconditional love.  Not only does Danielle learn about the unconditional love of God, but Levi’s mother learns about unconditional love for others.  Daniells’s mother learns about seeking forgiveness and Danielle learns to forgive.  Danielle, Levi, and Matthew all learn about themselves in this coming of age story.

This is an excellent story of love – the love of family, the love of others, the love of God – and it is a story of forgiveness and learning.  I received this book free for review from

Author’s Web Site

Blossoming Love

In the very beginning of 2 Corinthians 6:14 it says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.” That is what caused the ripping apart of two young lives in “The Scent of Cherry Blossoms” by Cindy Woodsmall. Annie Martin was Old Order Mennonite and Aden Zook was Old Order Amish – never shall the two meet, at least when love blossoms into a marriage is concerned. The story centers around these two characters in a wonderful depiction similar to the blossoming of a rose – layer upon layer opening and revealing the true beauty. The story is also about Roman Zook, Aden’s twin brother who had been injured in a farm accident and is left a paraplegic who is angry and scared to truly live. It is also about the relationships between Aden, his family, and Annie’s grandfather (Daadi Moses) as well as Annie’s relationship with her mother and grandfather.

The layers draw you in and capture your heart so that you are cheering for the relationship between the two young lovers. You also find yourself wanting to know more about the culture of the two communities and the deep faith of the characters. As usual, Cindy Woodsmall has written a fabulous book with language that causes your mind to see what she is describing with infinite detail. I would encourage anyone who is interested in Amish/Mennonite culture or someone who desires a greater faith in God to read this book. Just as the springtime beauty of the blossoming of the cherry tree leaves you with the heady scent and cocoons you with the beauty of the red-tinged and pink blossoms, this book will become a favorite on your shelf and wrap you in faith, love, and hope.

I received this book for free to review for WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. You may preorder your copy now from WaterBrook and Amazon with the book being released February 21, 2012.

Amish Heart

Anyone who knows me knows that I love reading Amish fiction, cookbooks, and non-fiction. My love for the Amish began with traveling in Ohio, but then began to include fiction written by Beverly Lewis. I was then introduced to Cindy Woodsmall last year. Last night I finished a book by Judith Miller titled Somewhere To Belong. Although it does not contain all of the language and descriptiveness that Beverly and Cindy include, it was an enjoyable book. The story was surrounded around two girls – Johanna Ilg and Berta Schumacher. The setting is Amana Colonies, Iowa in 1877.

Johanna has been raised her entire life in Amana as part of the Amish community. Berta was raised in Chicago, Illinois by her charitable works mother and physician father. Her family moves to Amana which is not agreeable to Berta. The antics of Berta, who is used to shopping, extravagence, and parties, sets the entire community on edge. The friendship that develops between Johanna and Berta when Johanna is charged with teaching Berta the Amish ways is heart-warming.

Encompassed in the story are the secrets in each family that come to surface and the endearance of the community upon both girls’ hearts despite the secrets and troubles. Readers can sense the pain of both girls throughout the storyline and will feel a sense of joy when both girls embrace the Amish way of living.