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 Christmas Gift for Rose, by Tricia Goyer (With international giveaway!)

book coverRose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II—only to discover she’s an Englischer herself.

Born in the midst of the hardships of The Great Depression, Rose grew up in Berlin, Ohio, in the arms of a loving Amish family. But she is overwhelmed by self-doubt when she learns that she was born Englisch and abandoned when her family moved West in search of work.

Was she meant to be Amish or would she have been better off growing up with her own kind—Englischers? When the man she loves leaves her behind, Rose is certain he left for good. Yet Rose discovers sometimes our greatest gifts are the ones we fear.

It feels weird to be reading Christmas fiction in September, but the 2013 Christmas book season has already begun. I don’t read (or review) many of these seasonal titles, but I’ve reviewed two other Tricia Goyer titles this year, and was given the opportunity to read and review this one as well. A Christmas Gift for Rose is technically a novella. It also combines the two themes Goyer often includes in her books: World War II, and the Amish. I’m not sure I’ve seen this scenario before, but it does highlight some of the issues Amish communities faced during the war. The concept of abandoned children during The Great Depression is one I’d come across before, notably in Ann Gabhart’s Angel Sister, which makes me wonder how common such acts of desperation were.

Rose is a difficult character to work out. She’s often contradictory in her actions. She pushes Jonathan away and then gets annoyed when he doesn’t come to visit. She welcomes his advances and allows him to hope and then decides that they can’t be together. I felt sorry for Jonathan, who wants nothing more than to marry her and live in their Amish community for the rest of their lives. She has Englisch neighbors, but when Rose learns of her birth family her biggest concern is that she was born Englisch. But who knows how we would act if we were in her shoes?

This is a lovely little story that can be read in an afternoon. Curl up with a steaming mug of cocoa, on a day when the weather is bad, and lose yourself in 1940s Ohio. Just have a box of Kleenex nearby, because the ending is beautiful.

Thank you to Litfuse, Zondervan, and Tricia Goyer for my free review copy of A Christmas Gift for Rose, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

Read the first two chapters of A Christmas Gift for Rose

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 24 September 2013

Page Count: 192

Read more on:   Tricia Goyer’s Website   Zondervan’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Christianbook.com

Want to win my copy of A Christmas Gift for Rose?

The necessary stuff aka ‘the fine print’

  1. This contest is open to anyone in any country with a valid mailing address.
  2. Book will be mailed via USPS media mail with delivery confirmation if the winner is from the USA. Otherwise, the cheapest air mail method will be used but without the tracking.
  3. Your full name and mailing address will only be used to mail your prize. After I receive confirmation of delivery that information will be deleted. It will never be given or sold to a third party.
  4. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  5. This contest runs from Monday, 30 September, 2013 until 11:59 EDT on Sunday, 27 October, 2013. Entries submitted after this date will not be accepted. The winner will be announced via Twitter and Facebook.
  6. Comments left on this post are not considered entries and will not increase your chances of winning.

For Every Season, by Cindy Woodsmall

book coverWorking 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?

As a consequence of the events in The Winnowing Season, Rhoda has moved out of her fledgling Amish community and now lives with her Englisch neighbors. Her boyfriend Jacob, meanwhile, is still involved in clearing up his past and is often either away from home or assisting a woman and her daughter from that past. He also resents the time Rhoda spends with Samuel who is her business partner and his brother. Rhoda is trying to hang on to both relationships, but the situation will surely explode.

In my review of the previous book, I said I didn’t like Jacob. That view hasn’t changed. He plots, he schemes, his priorities are misplaced, he’s selfish, he’s hypocritical, and he isn’t exactly open with Rhoda. At times, I wanted to bop Rhoda on the head in an attempt to make her see sense regarding her relationship with him. I wanted to tell her to leave Jacob, not necessarily for someone else, but because of his behavior. In the meantime, Leah is still deciding whether or not she wants to stay Amish and is examining both the pros and cons of both Englisch and Amish ways of life. Into the mix comes Iva, a young Amish woman from Indiana, in need of a job and straddling the fence between both worlds.

For Every Season is, in my opinion, a better book than The Winnowing Season. Thankfully, the supernatural elements are toned down, although I still maintain the novel doesn’t need this subplot. However, I had believed this title would be the last in the Amish Vines and Orchards series. This is probably because Woodsmall’s other series have been trilogies. So I was a little disappointed when it became apparent that storylines weren’t being wrapped up. It turns out that there will be a fourth book, called Seasons of Tomorrow, which is scheduled for release in April 2014.

Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for my free copy of For Every Season, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

 

Publisher: Waterbook Press

Publication Date: 20 August 2013

Page Count: 336

Read more on:   Cindy Woodsmall’s Website   Waterbook’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Christianbook.com