The Harvest of Grace, by Cindy Woodsmall

book coverAlthough Sylvia Fisher recognizes that most Old Order Amish women her age spend their hours managing a household and raising babies, she has just one focus – tending and nurturing the herd on her family’s dairy farm. But when a dangerous connection with an old beau forces her to move far from home, she must concentrate on a new start and pour her energy into reviving a debt-ridden farm.

After months in rehab, Aaron Blank returns home to see his Daed’s failing farm and move his parents into an easier lifestyle. Two things stand in his way: the father who stubbornly refuses to recognize that Aaron has changed and the determined new farmhand his parents love like a daughter. Her influence on Aaron’s parents could ruin his plans to escape the burdens of farming and build a new life.

This is the third of the Ada’s House series. I’ve read the previous two books and my one complaint about book two was that I couldn’t remember parts of book one and was therefore confused. Mrs. Woodsmall has helped that situation somewhat with a Story So Far at the start of this book. Not everything is included, however, so I had forgotten how Lena was injured in book two and her injury is mentioned in this novel. At the back of the book is a list of the main characters in The Harvest of Grace which, perhaps, should also have been at the front.

This is a book which shows not everything in an Amish community is idyllic. Although Sylvia is focused on making her family’s dairy farm a success, she has been disappointed in love. People she knows have betrayed her and, as a result, she wants to leave the area. Her father, a traditional Amish father, believes she should stay home but believes he has worked out a good compromise for her. But events come to a head and he finally, reluctantly, lets her live and work at another Amish farm that needs help. Even here, however, people aren’t who she thought they were. It isn’t until Aaron returns home that she sees Mr. Blank’s entire character.

Aaron is a difficult character. He wants to make a new start, and perhaps has some good intentions. But the relationship with his father is contentious so it’s difficult to decide where Aaron’s motives lie. He doesn’t like farming. Is that why he’s willing to let the farm go, even as he works hard on it? And if he and his father aren’t getting along, why would he want his parents to live with him in town? And while he’s reaching out to Sylvia, he also has plans to convince her to return home.

Harvest of Grace also returns to the characters we’ve seen in the previous titles. Cara is still studying to become Amish, but she doesn’t just need to learn the language and culture. The bishop wants her to forgive her father for his abandonment of her as a child. She and Ephraim cannot marry until the bishop says then can. Lena and Grey are keeping their relationship quiet, so as not to upset his former in-laws. A few close friends and her father know, and all contrive to find ways to let the couple be together. The book ends with one wedding, and the promise of additional celebrations in the future.

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Page Count: 352

Release Date: 09 August 2011

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Note: I received my complimentary copy of The Harvest of Grace from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

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