Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth's soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it's not that simple - will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she's always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?
Let me be honest and put it out there that I am not a Christmas fan. Maybe it's because I work in retail, or because I didn't grow up with a traditional Christmas. But I don't see the point, and it just isn't a special or magical time for me. That being said, despite this omnibus being portrayed as a Christmas novel, I almost didn't want to read it. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that while the stories lead up to and end at Christmas, the novellas did not center solely around the holiday. This factor was my number one reason for absolutely loving this work of fiction.
In The Sound of Sleigh Bells, I had a time of an afternoon laughing at the relationship between Lizzy and Beth. They might as well have been mother and daughter, instead of aunt and niece. But Lizzy's antics and ideas had me hooting with laughter while I eagerly anticipated what would happen with the "Old Man" woodcarver. A very enjoyable way to spend a quiet evening, fast paced, but with developed characters and great back stories.
This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
In the world of Amish fiction, most of the time the setting is always on farm life. What drew me in to this story was that it was set in the area of Amish business.
Beth, a single Amish woman who help runs her aunt store has closed herself off to any kind of romance and love, while Jonah, a woodcarver is patiently waiting on romance and love in God's time.
I enjoyed the characters and thought that they were well written and very believable. Both Beth and Jonah carried scars and I liked that because all humans have some kind of scar, either emotionally or physically and I think that is something readers can relate to.
The other thing that really kept me going with this story was the forgiveness. It was an on going thing with the characters, making its way throughout the entire story. I loved that. While I believe that forgiveness could happen very quickly, I think that most people struggle with it and that this aspect of the story lends a very real element to this book.
This was the first Cindy Woodsmall book that I have read and I was very pleased with it.
After reading The Christmas Singing, I simply had to go back and read The Sound of Sleigh Bells! I was not disappointed! Cindy Woodsmall has cemented my affection for the residents of Apple Ridge. I adore strong female characters and felt that Cindy did a wonderful job of combining the simplicity of Amish life and the strength that comes from loving the Lord in both Beth and Aunt Lizzy's characters. She also did a wonderful job of giving the characters real problems and helping them to overcome them without seeming trite or simplistic. You don't want to miss out on either of these Christmas novellas!