Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review of  A Season for Tending

by Cindy Woodsmall 

A Season for Tending (Amish Vines and Orchids #1)

In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda’s odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden?
Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.  
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.  
Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions. 
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?
My Review:
I felt my heart being torn for Rhoda Byler as the community questioned her gift.   It is not just the Amish who look on "gifts" of intuition or knowing as strange and attribute it to witchcraft as they did with Rhoda.   She does have the support of most of her family though.   What I loved is that in this Amish fiction, several characters struggle with gossip, jealousy, and unkind thoughts of others.  The characters were made to seem very human and I appreciate that.   Cindy Woodsmall gives a clear message that forgiveness is available and change can be made for the better in each of us!   I am already eagerly anticipating the second book in the series to see what happens next for Rhoda, Samuel, Jacob, Leah, Landon, and the other characters.   Who will win Rhoda's heart?   Will it tear a family apart?   
Reading about all the delicious apple recipes Rhoda made in the story made me itch to make a batch of apple butter!   I may just have to get some apples and do just that!   The book also featured some of Sherry Gore's apple recipes which I am hoping to try in the near future.   
About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’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.

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.

I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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