Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-in-One Collection: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, NEW! The Dawn of Christmas - eBook
3-in-1 enjoyable read
Book One: The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth has been mourning the loss of her fiancÃÂ© for over a year. Her friends and family want her to get beyond the grief and enter into activities and have joy in living again. But she canÃ¢ÂÂt let go of her sadness, because she has stuffed secrets about HenryÃ¢ÂÂs death. BethÃ¢ÂÂs Aunt Lizzy is afraid Beth will be an old maid, like herself, and miss out on the joys of sharing life with a family. Lizzy concocts a plan to get Beth writing Jonah, a wood carver, (whom Beth has never met and she thinks is an old man), because Lizzy knows Jonah has wisdom to share about surviving loss and pain.
LizzyÃ¢ÂÂs plan seems to be working: Beth has renewed interest in life and has released her secrets to Jonah. But what will happen when Beth finds out that Jonah is not an old man and she has been Ã¢ÂÂtrickedÃ¢ÂÂ into sharing her pain?
Book Two: The Christmas Singing
I had read The Christmas Singing previously, but I found it more enjoyable to read this time because of knowing the characters and their stories already started in Book One.
Mattie has just come to Apple Ridge after her bakery shop in Ohio burned to the ground. The move puts her back in the vicinity of Gideon, her first love, who broke up with her four years ago, letting her believe that he wanted to date non-Amish girls. She didn't know his real reason for breaking up was to protect her from knowing about him having leukemia, which he did not expect to survive. In the meantime, she has a safe, boring relationship with someone else that she hopes would never hurt her. Should she Ã¢ÂÂsettleÃ¢ÂÂ for Sol, or find out what Gideon was and is thinking?
Book Three: The Dawn of Christmas
In The Dawn of Christmas, Sadie has been lied about by her fiancÃÂ© Daniel, whom she caught with her beautiful cousin the day before their planned wedding day. Broken-hearted, she moved away from Apple Ridge, learned to be independent and developed a love for mission trips to Peru.
On a visit to her family, she discovers Levi, injured from being thrown from a spooked horse. Her actions save his life and make him eternally grateful to her. They both have sworn off marriage, but they decide to pretend to be courting to keep their families from bugging them about their singleness. What will happen when they find out they love each other at the same time they realize LeviÃ¢ÂÂs brother Daniel is the one by whom Sadie was betrayed?
I enjoyed reading these books. I like the 3-in-1 version of a series, because of the continuity of the story line, and getting to read the next one right away before I forget the characters.
I received the Kindle version of these books for free from WaterBrook/Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
November 16, 2013
Interconnected Stories Make a Fun Collection
"Christmas in Apple Ridge" by Cindy Woodsmall is a collection of three Amish love stories all set in Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania. The books were released individually in 2011, 2012, and 2013, but I loved reading them all together in one package. Though each story is self-contained, characters from previous stories make appearances in the newer ones, so readers get a glimpse into their happily-ever-afters. Woodsmall even worked characters from another novella, "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms," into the mix. I liked that.
Each of these stories focuses on one woman and one man who must overcome some tragedy from the past in order to find the strength to take a chance on falling in love. These characters are strong and determined and often quite stubborn, so there are lots of misunderstandings and issues for them to overcome as they find themselves drawn together. Their stories are sweet and fun to read; the Christmas setting in each adds an extra romantic touch.
If you enjoy simple stories with subtle messages and havenÃ¢ÂÂt read any of WoodsmallÃ¢ÂÂs Christmas novellas yet, I recommend this collection, "Christmas in Apple Ridge," to you. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers sent me a complimentary copy for this honest review.
November 23, 2013
Great Collection of Christmas Stories
If you are looking for a wonderful read for Christmas, pick up this collection of three novellas by Cindy Woodsmall. All three stories are great! They each are long enough to be a full story, with great plot development and wonderful characters.
In The Sound of Sleigh Bells, we meet Beth and Jonah. Beth is in mourning over the loss of her fiancÃÂ© the year before and never expects to marry in the future. Through insight into Beth's thoughts, we discover that there is a deeper reason, a secret that she is keeping that causes her to balk at the thought of marrying any other man in the years to come. Her secret is weighing her down and causing a deep depression that her family is very worried she won't come out of. Through some interference from her loving aunt, Beth connects with Jonah. Can he help Beth overcome her fears and open up to her family about the dark secret weighing her down? Is there a chance for love between these two people?
In The Christmas Singing, we meet Mattie and Gideon. In this instance, Gideon is the one carrying a secret. Years ago, Mattie and Gideon were together. They grew up together and entered a wonderful courtship. When Mattie found Gideon in the arms of another, the courtship was abruptly halted. Mattie left town and is involved with another man. When unforeseen circumstances bring Mattie back to her hometown, will she and Gideon reconnect? What is the secret Gideon is hiding and can he find the courage to tell Mattie what was really going on that night so many years ago?
In The Dawn of Christmas, we meet Sadie and Levi. Both of these characters are very wounded by events from the past. Sadie is wounded that she caught her intended cheating on her with another woman on the day before their wedding. The community chose to believe his lies over her truth and now Sadie does not trust men. Levi, on the other hand does not trust women. This is because of two instances that he knows about where two of his family members were hurt by women who left them. Will Levi and Sadie ever learn to trust? Could it be possible for these two hurt people to find love?
Great stories! I loved each one and am thankful to WaterBrook Multnomah for the complimentary copy they provided to me in exchange for my honest review.
November 22, 2013
Loved Christmas at Apple Ridge
I can't help but enjoy books centered around some of my favorite things. In the Three in One Collection Christmas in Apple Ridge, the author's novellas are sweet short stories of the "Plain People" during the Christmas season - and I thoroughly enjoyed each of the books. The collection includes: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, and the Dawn of Christmas. Although each of the novellas could stand alone, I appreciated how the Ms. Woodsmall was able to weave the stories together and the characters play small parts in each of the stories.
The Sound of Sleigh Bells introduces us to Beth Hertzler. She is a woman that has held fast to an awful past memory and tragedy. She is unable to reconcile with the present. Through a wood carving, she forms an unexpected bond with the wood carver - who she believes to be a lonely grandfather. As they forge a friendship, God does a work in Beth's heart, enabling her to have a spark of life once lost.
Mattie and Gideon are the stars of the Christmas Singing. Feeling rejected when Gideon unexpectedly puts an end to their marriage plans, Mattie determines to leave her home. She begins her life as a cake decorator, fulfilling a dream she's had since she was a girl. Despite trying to begin life with a new love, a return home shows her that it won't be that easy and she learns the truth of Gideon's rejection.
Sadie is also nursing heartache in The Dawn of Christmas. Like Mattie, she runs away and attempts to forge a new life living with a Mennonite family, helping them run their store. After four years of life away, her family wants her back home. She reluctantly returns, secretly plotting to leave again. She finds an unexpectedly friend in Levi, a bachelor, against marriage and courting, harboring his own broken dreams.
Of course, each of the stories are simple ones of misunderstanding and hurt, however it was nice to witness each character grow and change. In the end, it was their shared faith in God that enabled reconciliation to prevail in the most unexpected ways.
November 21, 2013