I finally have finished this Amish book, and I have to say I was rather disappointed. Yes, this is a clean Amish romance, and it can certainly be classified as Christian. There are some unique elements within the story, and I even found myself smiling over some of the interactions between the characters. It even deals with some non-traditional issues, and I did find myself impressed with how those issues played out.
Unfortunately, the author truly had me confused for much of the book. I was surprised that this was considered the first in the series because I repeatedly felt like I was missing something. I wish there had been some other volume to consult because it seemed like the author assumed that the reader would know certain things (that I did not know). I also believe that the story did a disservice to the gospel message. The author missed some perfect moments to share a strong gospel message. I have to admit that I would not read any other books in this series, and I do expect better from this author. But that is just my opinion.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
Season of Tending is the first book in Cindy Woodsmalls newest series.
Rhoda Byler is rumored to dabble in dark magic, thanks to her belief that she hears her dead sister's voice and her uncanny ability to help people with different type of herbs. When her father is pressured into uprooting her herb garden, Rhoda throws herself into her tending her vast fruit garden and her canning business. With the help of her family and her English friend Landon, Rhoda manages to get through the days.
Samuel King has worked years to bring his apple orchard back from the brink of ruin, only to find that nature may have other plans. When in insect invasion threatens a third of his crop, Samuel is forces to look for alternate solutions to what to do with unsellable crop. When he is introduced to Rhoda an idea begins to form, but first Samuel must break through the wall that Rhoda has erected and show her that there are people whom she can trust.
Overall I really liked this book. It was engaging with a unique story line. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I found that I thoroughly appreciated the writing style. She seems to have brought back the idea that not all books need to be romance oriented, but a book can be a success based solely on friendships. I enjoyed watching Rhoda slowly break out of her shell and become friends with Samuel and his brothers, Jacob and Eli as well as her connection to the rebellious Leah, Samuel's younger sister. This is one of the better Amish books that I have read and I honestly cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
Rhoda Byler runs her own canning business in her Old Order Amish community. Her odd ways and eccentric personality however, have caused many to choose to stay away from her as they do not understand her gift for tending plants and herbs long past their harvest seasons. In an effort to stay away from a community that looks down on her and sees her as a detriment, she keeps her distance as much as possible from the people who observe the Old Ways and nurse superstitious fears.
An accidental encounter with a girl from the neighboring town of Harvest Mills causes Rhoda to meet the family who own King's Orchard. Samuel is the eldest, and in charge of the orchard, along with brothers Jacob and Eli. A mistake on Eli's part costs them ten acres of good eating apples and leaves behind almost worthless cider apples. When King's Orchard meets Rhode Side Stands, the simple solution to all those cider apples is to can them into products to make a much bigger profit. But will working together really be the answer? Or has Samuel made a mistake that will cost him beloved orchard?
This is the first book I have read by this author, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with this novel. There are so many Amish fiction writers these days, and Woodsmall brings something new, fresh and unexpected to the genre. While the idea of someone being able to see the future is often referred to as being "psychic", this author portrays it just as a simple feeling or emotion; not something that reeks of darker powers and New Age nonsense. A recommended read for anyone who likes something a little different.
This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Book Summary: In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda's odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden? Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler's unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda's "gift" is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family's apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.
Meanwhile, Samuel's younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda's garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah's poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda's expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn't trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?
Review: I really like Cindy Smallwood's writing style. While this book took me a little while to get into it was worth the effort. Once I got into the flow of it I was hooked! The characters were fresh and completely different from anything I have read by her. This was a well thought out series and I look forward to the next two. This story made me laugh, cry and realize that Rhoda was truly a fresh face for Amish readers. The Kings were fun and lively. While problems seem to plague all of them Rhoda, Landon and the Kings are realistic and fun. I knew what was coming at the end and I was still hanging on the edge of my seat when the events finally came about. Poor Rhoda really needed the Kings and they needed her. Her Daed was fantastic and truly a great addition to the entire story. I want to see more of him. There are so many different things going on at once that I wished I could read faster. I needed time to soak up everything too!
I would like to thank Edelweiss, Library Thing and Waterbrook Press for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Cindy Woodsmall has once again wrote another great book, she has never let me down. I am so glad that I chose that I chose A Season for Tending to read. This book kept my interest and all I could do was keep on reading and reading all day long.
This story is about Rhoda Byler who lost her younger sister in a freak accident when she left and went to the store alone and Rhoda had stayed behind to tend to her herbs and berries patches. These herb and berries have been her pride and joy from the time she was just a small child and a gift from her father every year, her berry patch had grown into an acre of bountiful fruit.
Rhoda blames herself for her sisters death feeling that she could have prevented it because she felt deep inside her that something bad was going to happen and tried to get there to save her, but was too late. Because of this, she buried herself into her work with her herbs and berries. She could tell everyone what any herb could cure and sometimes over stepped her bounds and gave her herbs to people to help cure what ailed them. She could also grow her berry bushes better than anyone around and produce more product off of them and this was what she had so much pride in doing. In doing things that she thinks that is helping others and with her talking to plants while gardening and the fact that she thought she could see what was going to happen to her sister Emma before it happened people of the community thought she was a bit strange and was doing mean things to her.
Then there is the drunk teenager that Rhoda finds asleep in her garden. Rhoda befriends her and helps her get home and covers things when her brother, Samuel King of King's Orchard, comes to pick her up. She even beats him down a little for being so rough on her for doing what she is doing during her rumschpringe and to give her a little credit and appreciation.
The bond that starts between them all in the cellar of Rhoda's parents house while Rhoda is canning her berries is an amazing relationship that blossoms. There's so much more that I could tell you but I don't want to spoil things for you.
I definitely give this book five stars! I can not wait to get my hands on the next book in the series; The Winnowing Season: Book Two in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series.