Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-in-One Collection by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-in-One Collection: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, & The Dawn of Christmas
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: Water Brooke Press
Pages: 576
ISBN:
Publication Date: October 9th, 2012

Synopsis:
Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?
 
The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?
 
The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?
Review:
I will start off by saying that Christmas in Apple Ridge was the first ever Amish based fiction book I have ever read. I don't have anything to compare it to in the genre.

Christmas in Apple Ridge is a 3-in-1 collection of short stories focusing on the families in the Apple Ridge community. In The Sound of Sleigh Bells, the story follows Beth and Jonah. Each having suffered hurts in the past. Jonah has found a way to move on and it is with his knowledge is unintentionally wrangled into a scheme hatched by Beth's aunt to help her get past her hurts. Unknowingly on both Beth and Jonah's knowledge they start corresponding to each other and in doing so, Beth starts to realize how her actions have affected her and those around her. It is a tale of moving on, forgiveness and mistaken identity.

In The Christmas Singing, we follow the story of Mattie and Gideon. They were once close to coming to an understanding of marriage, when Gideon broke off their relationship suddenly. For three years Mattie has lived with the idea that Gideon has cheated on her, so she searched for man who would be safe and not break her heart. She found that in Sol and was happy to leave her past behind. However, when her bake shop burns down, she is forced to move back home and be around Gideon. In this knot community, even though she doesn't want to hear it, Mattie starts hearing more about Gideon until his secret is revealed to why he broke up with her. In this second book, we haven't departed from the previous characters. They all still have apart and help thread the stories together.

In the Dawn of Christmas we read though Levi and Sadie's story. Like with the past two books, this story is woven with the characters from the other stories to connect them. We are brought up to date with Beth and Jonah, along with Mattie and Gideon as they interact with Levi and Sadie. Sadie has been living in Peru for the past couple of years after having her dreams crushed in front of her by her fiancee and cousin. In a his word verse hers, Sadie finds permission to work in missions with a Mennonite family. Sadie is summoned home after hardly visiting during her time away, only to find she has difficulty meshing with her family. On a night when she was supposed to be at home, Sade sneaks out and stumbles upon Levi who has been thrown from his horse. Waiting for the ambulance, Sadie does all she can to help Levi stay awake and stay still. After he is taken to the hospital, they find out he fractured his neck, broke his leg, and suffered a concussion. It was from this indecent that throws these two together.

I will say as my first book in this genre, it was a good book to start off with. The writing was great and the stories flowed smoothly. Cindy is able to paint a wonderful picture of the lives of the Amish. The description and the attention to detail brought the story alive. I don't know much about the Amish, but these stories brought a little more knowledge about how these communities live.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family.

If you would like more information about Cindy or her books, you can check out her website www.cindywoodsmall.com/ 

And you can read Chapter 1 here.

 

Thank you to Blogging for Books and Water Brooke Press, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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