Seasons of Tomorrow, by Cindy Woodsmall

book coverPublisher’s Summary:

As love restores Rhoda, a sudden tragedy is the test of faith she never saw coming.

More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.

Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.

When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?

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A Broken Kind of Beautiful, by Katie Ganshert

book coverPublisher’s Summary:

Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

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Echoes of Mercy, by Kim Vogel Sawyer

book coverPublisher’s Summary:

Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed. 

When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

My Take:

After completing an investigation for the Labor Commission, all Caroline wants to do is take a promise week off. But a fellow investigator has been killed while on assignment, and Caroline’s supervisor isn’t so sure it was an accident. The factory where the man died has one opening, and it’s for a woman. Caroline must go undercover, but she isn’t the only one there pretending to be someone else. Oliver, the owner’s son, is learning how the factory runs from the ground up. Both Caroline and Oliver aren’t shy about asking questions, which brings them to the attention of the factory’s manager. Gordon Hightower is highly trusted by Oliver’s father, but is he abusing that trust?

Kim Vogel Sawyer has created a thought-provoking plot that takes on the debates of education versus employment and greed versus grace. Two of the main characters come from similar disadvantaged backgrounds, but have very different outlooks on life. One wants to pass on the mercy they received while the other believes the world owes them everything. Minor characters show varying degrees of these attitudes. It is easy to fall in love with the three children in the story, whose futures are at the mercy of those different opinions. Sawyer draws you into their plight and it was their storyline I enjoyed most. It would have been fascinating to look in on them several years later and see how their lives had developed.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program for my free copy of Echoes of Mercy, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

Have you read Echoes of Mercy? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.

Read an excerpt from Echoes of Mercy

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Publication Date: 21 January 2014

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Kim Vogel Sawyer’s Website   Waterbrook’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Christianbook.com