Christmas in Apple Ridge: Three-in-One Collection: The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing, NEW! The Dawn of Christmas
A must read for Christmas
There are three wonderful stories in this collection by Cindy Woodsmall. Two of them I'd read before, "The Sound of Sleigh Bells" and "The Christmas Singing" and one new story "The Dawn of Christmas". I reread the first two and enjoyed them just as much as I did the first time, I could not put the book down. The third story was just as enjoyable to read as the first two.
I like the fact that they were all connected, the characters knew each other. Cindy did a wonderful job of bringing the three stories together. Also, the fact that they would get out in bad snowstorms, I love that, it reminds me of my step-father, whenever there was a blizzard he JUST HAD to go someplace. We were a lot warmer though as we were in a car with a heater, except for the time we got stuck and had to walk about a mile.
Cindy draws you in and makes you feel like you are dealing with the heart tugging problems each person has to deal with. That is what keeps you reading late into the night, wanting them to realize that they are not seeing the whole story and they should listen to their heart. I think we are all guilty of that sometimes, especially when we have been stung before when the feelings are what we 'want' to feel, not what God wants for us. A definite must read!
December 12, 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