Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review of "For Every Season"

Review of For Every Season (Book 3 in Amish Vines & Orchards)

by Cindy Woodsmall

17262103

Working hard to develop a new Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is fully committed to rehabilitating an orchard with business partner Samuel King. But an impulsive decision has created an unexpected strain in her relationship with her beau, Samuel’s brother, Jacob, threatening plans for the orchard. Amidst mounting tension in matters of the heart and business, Rhoda finds that this fledging settlement feels like the home she has always longed for, and she begins to embrace the God-given, heightened intuition that has always felt like a burden to her. She longs for Jacob to fully be free of his past, so they can work towards the future together.
 
But as Rhoda uses her gift to unpack an old secret with her Englisch neighbors, it is not her beau but an unlikely ally that cheers her on. With the orchard on shaky ground and Jacob’s plans in question, Rhoda is determined to see things through to harvest. But can she trust her insight to direct her path in matters of the heart?
My Review:  Rhoda has my heart torn....some moments, I want her with Jacob and some moments, I am sure she belongs with Samuel.  Even Rhoda doesn't really seem to know her own heart.   The two brothers are certainly at odds over the beautiful intuitive "seer".    Can you imagine being given the gift of "seeing and knowing things" by God?   Many in her own family and certainly her former community have rejected her because of this gift.   
Can Rhoda ever see it as a true gift or calling from God, instead of the curse it seems to be for her?  Can she ever reconcile her feelings for the men in her life?   I agonized with her as I read, for I wanted her to be happy and to have the wonderful Amish husband, children, and home that she so desires.   
So  many people say that they value the Amish lifestyle because of its simplicity and peace.   Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob have everything except simplicity and peace in their daily dealings on the orchard and in their personal lives.    And just as I get to the last page, I think with relief that all the problems will be resolved, and they are NOT!!!  I find out that I have to wait for book 4 in the series to come out in 2014.   Seriously, Cindy Woodsmall, you are going to make me WAIT to find out what happens for my favorite characters??   sigh, I guess I have no choice, do I, for I am hopelessly hooked!    
I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks and Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest review.    
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.

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 lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, a new granddaughter, and a dog named Jersey who wants to dominate the world, starting with the Woodsmall household.

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