If you are looking for a wonderful read for Christmas, pick up this collection of three novellas by Cindy Woodsmall. All three stories are great! They each are long enough to be a full story, with great plot development and wonderful characters.
In The Sound of Sleigh Bells, we meet Beth and Jonah. Beth is in mourning over the loss of her fiancé the year before and never expects to marry in the future. Through insight into Beth’s thoughts, we discover that there is a deeper reason, a secret that she is keeping that causes her to balk at the thought of marrying any other man in the years to come. Her secret is weighing her down and causing a deep depression that her family is very worried she won’t come out of. Through some interference from her loving aunt, Beth connects with Jonah. Can he help Beth overcome her fears and open up to her family about the dark secret weighing her down? Is there a chance for love between these two people?
In The Christmas Singing, we meet Mattie and Gideon. In this instance, Gideon is the one carrying a secret. Years ago, Mattie and Gideon were together. They grew up together and entered a wonderful courtship. When Mattie found Gideon in the arms of another, the courtship was abruptly halted. Mattie left town and is involved with another man. When unforeseen circumstances bring Mattie back to her hometown, will she and Gideon reconnect? What is the secret Gideon is hiding and can he find the courage to tell Mattie what was really going on that night so many years ago?
In The Dawn of Christmas, we meet Sadie and Levi. Both of these characters are very wounded by events from the past. Sadie is wounded that she caught her intended cheating on her with another woman on the day before their wedding. The community chose to believe his lies over her truth and now Sadie does not trust men. Levi, on the other hand does not trust women. This is because of two instances that he knows about where two of his family members were hurt by women who left them. Will Levi and Sadie ever learn to trust? Could it be possible for these two hurt people to find love? (5 stars)
Great stories! I loved each one and am thankful to WaterBrook Multnomah for the complimentary copy they provided to me in exchange for my honest review.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.