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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” ...
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?
Emma’s voice rose from the past, encircling Rhoda and bringing a wave of guilt. Unyielding, unforgiving guilt.
Rhoda plucked several large strawberries from the vine and dropped them into the bushelbasket. “Time for what?” she whispered.
The moment the words left her mouth, she glanced up, checking her surroundings. She quickly looked beyond the picket fence that enclosed her fruit and herb garden but saw no one. Her shoulders relaxed. When townsfolk or neighbors noticed Rhoda talking to herself, fresh rumors stirred. Even family members frowned upon it and asked her to stop.
Emma’s gentle voice echoed around her for a second time. “Time for what?” Rhoda repeated, more a prayer to God than a question to her departed sister.
God was the One who spoke in whispers to the soul, not the dead. But whenever Rhoda heard a murmuring in her mind, it was Emma’s voice. It had been that way since the day Emma died.
The sound of two people talking near the road caught Rhoda’s attention. Surely they were real. She rose out of her crouch, pressing her bare feet into the rich soil, and went in the direction of the voices, passing the long rows of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries and her trellises of raspberries and Concord grapes. Heady scents rode on the spring air, not just from the ripening fruits, but from her bountiful herb garden that yielded rosemary, sage, scarlet bergamot, and dozens of other plants she’d spent years cultivating. Dusting her palms together, she skirted the raised boxes that held the herbs and peered through a honeysuckle bush.
She was relieved to see actual people speaking to each other. Then she recognized them, and her fingertips tingled as her pulse raced. Her mother’s eldest sister walked beside Rueben Glick, a man who wanted to make her life miserable.
“Surely her Daed will listen to me this time.” Aunt Naomi clutched her fists tightly. “He indulges her. That’s the real problem.”
Rhoda had no doubt they were talking about her. Since Emma’s death two years ago, the church leaders had avoided responding to all the trouble that Rhoda caused, however unintentional. They offered grace and mercy as her family tried to deal with their grief from the tragedy. But Rueben and Naomi made it their responsibility to keep Rhoda’s family aware of how the Amish and non-Amish in Morgansville felt about her.
“I can bring a witness this time, more if need be.” Rueben’s tone was confident, with a familiar edge of bitterness.
More than anyone else in Morgansville, Rueben detested her. But unlike the others, he was only too happy to speak his mind directly to her and her family. And Rhoda knew why. He wanted to make her pay for turning his girlfriend against him. Rhoda had plenty of things to feel guilty for, but Rueben losing his girlfriend was not one of them.
Her aunt paused at the corner of the fence, studying Rhoda’s house. “There should be no need for a witness, especially from those who are not Amish. The quieter we keep this matter, the better.”
Rueben had found witnesses who weren’t Amish? How? She tried her best to keep anyone from knowing her business. She never even shared with her family her comings and goings based on intuition. Dread pressed in on her, and she bit back her growing contempt for Rueben Glick.
“Kumm.” Her aunt crossed the driveway with Rueben right beside her. Naomi tapped on the screen door and waited. The fact that she didn’t let herself in was a sign of the troubled feelings between her Daed and his sister-in-law.
Not counting Rhoda, six adults and five children were living in the house right now—her parents, two of her brothers, and their wives and children. Regardless which adult answered the door, Naomi and Rueben would take up matters concerning Rhoda only with her father.
Mamm came to the door and invited her sister and Rueben into the house. Rhoda moved out from behind the honeysuckle bush, curiosity and anxiety mixing inside her. What accusation did Rueben have against her this time? Regardless of the new charge, this visit would put more tension inside an already overloaded household and would only isolate her more. No matter how many people lived with her or how deeply loyal they were, she stood on an island by herself, forbidden to acknowledge the largest part of who she was. She meandered toward the gate, running her fingertips across the various herbs as she went. A few bloomed now, in May, but come July these plants would be bursting with vivid color. More important, they would provide people with natural relief from certain illnesses. She paused in front of the red clover, but despite its name, this particular clover was splashed with lovely purple blooms.
Many of these plants—the clover, dandelion, and thistle, to name a few—were considered nuisances. Like Rhoda herself. But each herb offered health benefits under the right circumstances. Maybe she was like them in that way too. Her people used to believe her, used to trust her with their health. If they would only give her a chance, perhaps she could help them again.
She blinked, coming out of her thoughts and realizing that someone had been calling her name. She turned toward the road that ran along one side of her berry patch.
Landon was sitting in his old pickup on the main road, banging on the door. Officially, he worked for her, but he was also one of her few friends.
“There she is, back from Oz again.”
Although she hadn’t seen the movie, he’d explained enough that she understood Oz was somehow connected to witches. And he was talking about it out loud, right here in the thick of busy Morgansville. She put her index finger to her lips.
Landon grinned. “Okay, I’m hushing—not that it’ll do any good.”
A short line of cars stacked up behind him, and someone honked. He drove forward twenty feet and pulled into her driveway. Once out of his truck, he walked toward her. “In my two years of working for you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you doing nothing while standing inside this garden.” Before opening the gate, he grabbed one of the empty baskets stacked outside the picket fence. “What has you so distracted?”
She turned away and walked down the long path at the end of the rows. “Just wondering if I ordered enough canning supplies to last through the month.” She kept her back to him so he couldn’t read her face and know she was fibbing. She returned to her strawberry bush, crouched down, and began dumping more of the velvety fruit into her basket.
He went to the other side of the row and started picking. “You were studying the red clover. Rotating it out seems like it was a good idea. Looks like we’ll get a bumper crop this year. That should give you lots for making that ointment.”
“Ya,” she mumbled, wishing she knew what was going on inside her house. Did Rueben have proof that she’d disobeyed the church authorities and her parents?
When the back door slammed, she jolted. But it was just one of her sistersin-law taking another load of freshly cleaned diapers to the clothesline. “First you’re in la-la land, and then you jump at nothing. What gives, Rhodes?”
Landon knew her better than most. Emma had once known her best, but what good had that done Emma? If Rhoda had been half the sister Emma deserved, she would still be alive.
Rhoda moved the basket down the row. “How are things at the mail store today?” Maybe if she got him answering questions rather than asking them, she could avoid his probing. The tactic worked most days.
“Still slow. If the economy doesn’t pick up soon, working for you may be the only job I have.”
“I wish I could afford to pay you for more hours.”
“Me too, although both of us in that tiny cellar working long hours week after week might cause one of us to disagree with the other, ya?” His grin lifted her spirits a little.
One of the things she enjoyed about Landon was his ability to speak his mind with total honesty. She loved truthfulness between people. Stark. Radiant. And powerful.
Unfortunately, it seemed to be in short supply—from her most of all.
“What’s going on with you today?”
“Don’t lie to me, Rhoda.”
His use of her real name caught her attention, and she turned to face him. He pointed at his eyes, demanding she look at him. “It’s not your fault.” She stared at him. Would she ever be able to believe that? Since Emma’s death, she hadn’t found one moment when she could accept it as true. There was nothing she could do to free herself. And if he knew everything she did, he wouldn’t say that to her.
Images flashed through her mind—fire trucks, policemen with guns strapped to their hips, groups of women whispering on the sidewalk. Even now, a crushing sense of guilt and panic rose within her again.
All her sister had wanted was for Rhoda to help her bake a cake for their Daed’s birthday. And Rhoda had promised she would. Throughout the morning Emma kept asking Rhoda to stop weeding her garden and to go buy the items they needed. Even though she was seventeen years old, Emma hated going places by herself. Strangers frightened her. And Rhoda kept putting her off, assuring her they’d have a great time making the dessert when she was finished tending the garden.
Finally, fed up with waiting, in an unusual act of self-reliance, Emma stormed off to the store without Rhoda, her eyes filled with tears.
A strawberry flew through the air and hit Rhoda on the shoulder, followed in quick succession by a second and a third one. “Stay with me, Rhodes,” Landon called to her.
She blinked. “Sorry.”
“You tried to save her, almost broke your leg—”
“Rueben’s here.” Rhoda had no desire to listen to Landon’s version of that day. She wasn’t a hero. More like a murderer. And what she’d done had divided this town, making both Amish and Englisch distrust and fear her. “He’s inside with my aunt Naomi.”
Landon chuckled. “On a witch hunt again, I take it.”
“That’s not even a little bit funny, Landon.”
“Come on, Rhodes. You know I tease because it’s all so ridiculous. Gimme a smile. You can’t change what they think. What’s Rueben’s problem now?”
“Remember when several Amish communities were at that regional function a couple of months ago?”
“Yeah. Your Mamm insisted you go, and you came back with your feathers ruffled at Rueben. But that’s about all I know.”
“He spent two days harassing me and making fun of me. On the second day he got bolder, saying things to me he shouldn’t, in front of a large group of singles, including his girlfriend. He was being a bully, and I lashed out.”
“What’d you say to him?”
She picked up her basket, ready to head toward the gate. “I looked into his eyes and knew a secret he wasn’t telling anyone. His guilt was easy to see—if anyone had a mind to look. I called him on seeing another girl while he was out of state helping some Amish farmers. He denied it at first, but I knew when he was telling the truth and when he was lying by the guilt on his face. He thought that I’d spoken to the girl directly, that maybe she’d come to this area, and he owned up to his cheating. As I walked off, I let him know that I had no proof whatsoever, that he’d simply told on himself.”
“Rhodes, you didn’t.”
At times she picked up on silly, nonsensical stuff without even realizing it—an aroma from someone’s past or a distorted image in place of the person in front of her. But that didn’t stop her from relying on a reasonable intuition when it came to her.
“He asked for it, taunting me, saying if I knew anything, Emma would still be alive. Daring me to tell his fortune. He was vicious, and I gave him what he deserved.” She set the basket on the ground. “But ever since, I think he’s been scheming ways to force me out of this garden. Biding his time and planning carefully. That’s more wrong than anything I did to him. I make my living off these fruits.”
Landon brushed a gnat away from his face. “You think he can do something to take away your business?”
She padded across the warm dirt to her raised beds of herbs, drawn to them like bees to pollen. This was her favorite part of the garden. The medicinal plants in particular. Each one had properties that could help people whose bodies hurt as much physically as her heart did emotionally. Whenever people were strengthened through the power of her herbs, she felt strengthened too. Landon joined her.
“I followed my instincts again. And it sounds as if Rueben has proof.”
Landon rolled his eyes. “Geez, Rhodes, why would you do that? You know you either have to do what your people expect or get out.”
“And go where, Landon? To the Englisch? They fear me just as much as my people do.”
“Then move somewhere else. Start new.”
“And leave more holes in my parents’ hearts? They’ve lost enough. I can’t do something that selfish.”
As she walked the row of herb beds, warm memories of her childhood, of laughter, and of fun-filled days rose within her. “I was seven when my Daed bought each of his daughters a blueberry bush and an herb plant. Did I ever tell you that?”
A slight grin lifted one side of his mouth. Nothing like being a paid employee who had to listen when the boss wanted to vent or reminisce. “You’ve only mentioned it a couple of times.”
“He helped each of us plant his gifts. But as the days moved into weeks, my three teenage sisters were more interested in their friends or boys than gardening, and they neglected their gifts. Emma wasn’t even four at the time, and she only cared about dolls and playing house. But I adored tending to those plants. And every birthday and Christmas since then, Daed has bought me at least one new bush, herb, or gardening tool.” And every year that she proved faithful in what he’d given, he allowed her a little more land to expand her garden until she now had every spare inch of ground they owned.
“I understand why you don’t want to leave your folks. But either keep a low profile and don’t make waves in the community or be willing to leave. It’s that simple.”
She inhaled the sweet aroma of her apple mint plants. What a multipurpose herb. It repelled nuisance insects while attracting beneficial ones. Was flavorful in dozens of drinks. Aided indigestion and stomachaches. Eased the pain and swelling of insect bites. Relieved morning sickness in pregnant women. It was even alleged to calm the nerves and clear the head. She’d like to be in her cellar sipping a cup of mint tea right now.
“So what did you do this time, Rhodes?”
She thought back to the events that had probably led to this latest uprising. “Not long after I got back in town, I was on one of my long walks, and as I passed a home, I had a strong sensation to go up to the door. I stood on the sidewalk, trying to talk myself out of following that feeling. But I sensed the woman inside the house needed someone. So I rang the doorbell. We got to know each other a bit. She talked about feeling anxious and depressed, but I knew she’d been entertaining the idea of suicide. She’s a young mom with three children and a husband who travels a lot. I took her some herbs. She’s already doing better, and sometimes I wonder if it’s the herbs or my regular visits that have helped her.”
He rubbed his forehead. “As long as you don’t tell people you helped her based on a premonition, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I’ve asked you before not to call it a premonition. I just have a little intuition, that’s all. And at times it’s clear enough for me to follow without botching up someone’s life.”
Landon peered at her over the rosemary. “Was she the only one recently?”
Rhoda pulled some leaves from the plant’s thin stalk. “No.”
She brought the leaves to her nose and drew a deep breath. “About six weeks ago I was at the grocery store in town, and the minute I saw this Englisch guy on the far end of an aisle, I knew in here”—she tapped her chest—“that he dealt with unbearable migraines.”
“So you struck up a conversation and gave him some herbs too, didn’t you?”
“What am I supposed to do? It’s not something I choose to feel, but when I do, I act on it.”
“You’ve been to see this man several times?”
“Ya, feverfew gives him some relief, and I purchased a bit of butterbur root. That seems to be helping too.”
Landon’s forehead crinkled. “And you think Rueben knows about all this?”
“I can’t imagine how. I’m discreet.”
“You’re playing with fire, Rhodes. After exposing him as a cheater, damaging his reputation, and causing his girlfriend to break up with him, I’d say he’d plow your whole garden under if he could.”
“Daed wouldn’t let that happen to my garden.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you should have thought about the possible consequences before you ruined Rueben’s relationship with his girlfriend.”
“Someone needed to tell her he was cheating on her.” The faded blue geranium petals caught her attention. As an herb, geraniums were supposed to relieve anxiety, although no one could prove that by her. She did believe valerian to be potent, and maybe she should harvest some to fix a brew for herself.
Now that Landon knew what all she’d been up to the past two months, he could probably use a cup to settle his nerves too.
She heard men talking, and she turned to see her Daed, Rueben, and Naomi coming out of her home. If her Daed had been able to settle the matter, Rueben and Naomi would have left her house by themselves and gone home.
Instead, the three of them were walkng toward her, and now she would be pulled into the discussion too.
“It’s time you head home, Landon.” Her family appreciated Landon and his loyalty to her, but incidents among the Amish were not discussed in front of those who weren’t Amish. Landon studied her for a moment before he pulled the keys out of his jeans pocket.
Her Daed, Naomi, and Rueben crossed the driveway toward her garden. Unwilling for Rueben Glick to set foot inside her sanctuary, she went toward the little white gate, Landon mere steps in front of her.
He held the gate for her. “Keep your head, Rhodes,” he whispered. “You have to try to undo some of the damage.”
Posted November 25, 2013
I've never really been a fan of the Amish fiction books, but I had decided t give this one a try.
As it turns out, I am still not a fan of them, even though the book is written well.The plot is full of lies and deceit, and the only difference in that it is in the Amish community instead of the English community,
which is why I think that people are drawn to it.
The main character, good girl Rhoda, ends up finding herself in trouble after being in the wrong spot at the wrong time,
things get messy. A guy who needs her special skill comes to her rescue in order to save himself as well as get
her out of a bad situation. My impression of this book was that it is just another romance novel, full of drama and unrealistic love stories.
If one enjoys this, then I would suggest this book, for it is well written grammatically. I, however, am not enticed to finish the series.
Posted October 14, 2013
This series was wonderful. I couldn't put the book down and couldn't wait to start the next book in the series. I felt like I was a part of the community and that I was friends with each of the characters. Now I am waiting on book #4. Hope Cindy Woodsmall is working on it already!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 24, 2013
Well I’ve put this off long enough, I didn’t want to write this blog post book review because I didn’t like this book very much. It was a bit too sweet for my taste. I knew starting it that it would be part of a series, but usually when you get a book that is part of a series, the story you are reading wraps up in the book and other characters storys continue the overlaying events in additional books. That did not happen with this book. Its more like the end of the season show on a tv drama, they build up to a relationship between 2 characters and then you have to wait for the next book to see where it goes.
I will not be reading the rest of this series, I could care less at this point because when I read a book I expect a conclusion at the end of the volume I hold in my hand.
The story that was in the book was ok, like I said before it was a bit too sweet for my taste, a nice gentle predectible story.
I’m sure someone else will enjoy this set of books, but its just not for me.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
Posted August 22, 2013
This book introduces Rhoda Byler, who has two amazing gifts: canning and the ability to forsee. Samuel King is trying to keep his orchard up and running, so when his little sister ends up in Rhoda's garden and he comes to pick her up, he thinks he might have just found the help he needed. Will Rhoda agree to come and help the orchard, or will her grief over her little sister's death keep her secluded inside of her garden?
If you like action on the pages, I know you will love this book!!!
Posted August 16, 2013
A Season for Tending
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.
Posted June 10, 2013
Posted April 28, 2013
booksbysteph says "First Amish Book...Love It"
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 3/4 out of 5 stars
This has been my first dip into the Amish genre. I never really knew how much Amish fiction is out in the world and that I can say with ease that it has its own genre. I do not know if it is this way with all Amish books but as I was reading, I felt peaceful and innocent.
This book was a fast read. I read it in two sittings and that is only because I had to sleep. The beginning of the Rhoda/King partnership is exciting! Some people may think, "could all this bad stuff happen to one person?" In my world, the answer is yes. I had so much empathy for Rhoda and what she has gone through and continually has to deal with. A lot of people are ignorant about the Amish. Myself included. Not being around them, it is easy not to gain knowledge of them. I passed an Amish farm on a road trip once. A huge group of men were working together to build a barn. Throughout the book, I had to keep reminding myself that I was reading about the Amish and not a historical book. Reading about horses and lanterns easily put my mindset into the past.
This book set the ground for many different small stories that combine into the bigger story. Not only does it give you a look into Amish living but what they have to go through was tragedy strikes. Things we take advantage of. You also see the struggles from different teenagers going through their rumschpringe - the time when they are free to learn the outside world to make the decision to leave the Amish community or pledge themselves to Amish life. This book has given me so much knowledge of the Amish without taking away from the story. And the story is a good one.
One piece of advice - wait until the series is finished being written. I think you will enjoy this story so much that you should not have to wait for the next book to come out, like I do!
Until next time, live life one page at a time!
Posted April 28, 2013
This is a book that took me a while to fall into the groove of the story. I am not into gardening or anything along those lines so I wasn't really sure what to think at first. But as I got more and more into the story I grew to care for the characters and the use of gardening and caring for orchards became a great part of the story.
Rhoda Byler has a gift from God. But it is gift that is misunderstood by those around her. Not only does she need to learn to trust God but she needs to learn to trust her gift.
I can very much relate to Rhoda and this difficulty in trusting her gift. As a worship leader I often get complaints about the music choice and there are just going to be people who don't like how I lead worship. I have no choice but to get back up on the stage each and every Sunday and do what I know God has called me to do, even in the face of opposition.
Rhoda must do the same. She must ignore public opinion and so what she knows God wants her to. He doesn't give us gifts just to bury them and never use them. Remember the story about the talents and the man who buried his so he didn't lose it?
There are so many Genesis 5020's in this book too. From Samuel's sister Leah landing in Rhoda's vineyard to Rhoda's vineyard being destroyed. But you'll have to read the book to see what I mean.
On the last page Cindy has me crying, "Nooooo!" She ended the book with a major turn of events, one I didn't see coming and that has me itching to read the next book, which I hope to review for you soon.
An ebook of this book was given to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
Posted April 23, 2013
I loved reading this book. The author kept the story going, even though there were several lead characters. You were never at a loss as to what was going on. Its one of those books that when you start reading it, you don't want to put it down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 3, 2013
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A Season for Tending is the first book in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series from Cindy Woodsmall. It starts out by introducing Rhoda Byler, an Old Order Amish woman who has a knack for gardening and how the strict community she lives in views it. Preferring to spend time alone allows Rhoda to tend to her garden and process a tragedy that haunts her daily.
Samuel King is a kind, responsible and hard working Amish man who lives in the neighboring town of Harvest Mills. He runs his family's apple orchard business and tries to hold everything together when he too endures a tragedy.
God brings these two families together in a way that only He can. Many choices have to be made and relationships are tested as business and love start to merge.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to get my hands on the next one in the series!
Posted February 5, 2013
Posted January 4, 2013
Posted November 19, 2012
Posted November 16, 2012
There is a plentiful supply and selection of Amish themed books available in the Christian fiction market. Cindy Woodsmall is among the best authors of this genre. I believe in A Season for Tending she presents some interesting insight into life among the Amish.
With Rhoda, our mail female character, we have an unwed Amish young lady who is dedicated to growing herbs and berries. But other issues are at play involving Rhoda. She has something akin to "second sight" though it is not called that in the story. Need-less-to-say, her ability to glimpse into what is about to happen is not looked upon favorably with the Amish nor in the community in which they live along side of non-Amish. She also possesses knowledge of herbs and how the various herbs can aid in the healing process and in making folks feel better. This, too, creates suspicious thinking regarding Rhoda.
She is exceptionally talented in making her small plot of land product copious amounts of quality fruit and herbs. Is this because she has talent and knowledge or because she is a witch or something similar. The community wonders.
Samuel King comes into Rhoda's life and sees the possibility that her plant care and canning talents can assist him with the apple business in King's Orchard. Throughout the book, we are given a good look into the troubles, trials, and joys of being in the business of growing apples.
Emotions run taunt throughout the book as lives interweave. The books does not end like a typical romance where boy meets girl and all live happily ever after. There is a bit of a cliffhanger.
A good read; and as usual Cindy Woodsmall doesn't disappoint with her characters' development, the story line, and the twists and turns it takes.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of A Season for Tending from Blogging For Books on behalf of the publisher, WaterBrook Press, and the author, Cindy Woodsmall for the purpose of an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.
Posted November 12, 2012
I will state up front–I am NOT a fan of Amish fiction and A Season for Tending is not the book that will change that. It was slow moving and a bit too soapy for me. Cindy Woodsmall is a fine writer, no doubt about it, but I simply did not enjoy the storyline at all. I would love to see her take a step away from the Amish fiction fad and write a Christian fiction book of a different genre.
Fans of Amish fiction will probably love A Season for Tending. The writing is good and if you enjoy this sort of story line, then I would say that you’d enjoy this one. As for me, I felt it was too slow and stilted. I just didn’t connect with the characters at all. If Woodsmall continues to write Amish fiction alone, this will be the last book of hers I read. But, I hope that at some point she steps away from this genre to write about a different subject. If you like Amish fiction, then give this one a try, but if you’re like me and don’t enjoy it, I’d say skip this one.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Library Thing in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted October 25, 2012
A wonderful story
Rhoda Byler has enjoyed working in her garden since she received her first blueberry bush from her Daed as a birthday gift when she was a little girl. He continued giving her one plant every year on her birthday and now she has a garden of all kinds of berries and herbs. She owns Rhode Side Stands, selling home canned goods by mail order and in stores. She had other uses for her herbs and that along with her intuitions cause everyone in town, Amish and English, to think she practices witchcraft.
She loves gardening so much that she ignored her sister's plea's to go to town one day so Emma went by herself. Suddenly she had a feeling that Emma was in trouble, went looking for her and tried to get to town because she knew that Emma was about to get shot. This didn't help her reputation with the people in town. Rhoda now blames herself for Emma's death and other than her family, she only has one friend, Landon, and English man who helps her mail her in Rhode Side Stands.
The King family comes to know Rhoda because Leah King went to a party at her neighbors house and passed out in Rhoda's garden. Samuel, Leah's brother, comes to get her and shows an interest in Rhoda's garden and canning business. When they run into trouble with King's Orchard apple trees, Samuel remembers what he saw there. He and his brothers, Jacob and Eli, go to Rhoda and try to talk her into helping them out by canning their salvageable apples.
Rhoda is very reluctant but the King's keep trying to talk her into it. She is forced to dig up her herb garden because of rumors and one night when everyone is gone, someone comes and runs over all of her berry's and ruins the rest of her garden. Will this influence a change of mind for Rhoda and what happens when a tornado hits King's Orchard?
Cindy did her usual good job on this book. I wondered at first what kind of story this would be, but there is a wonderful story here. The bad thing, at the end of the book you think you know what is going to happen in Rhoda's life but there is that hint that things may take a different path in the next book. Come on Cindy, how long do we have to wait? ? ? ?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) free from the publisher through the BloggingforBooks book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted October 22, 2012
Posted September 25, 2012
I am a fan of Cindy Woodsmall's books, once you read them, they linger with you for a long time. This one is a compelling page turner and a big insight into the strength of Amish family life.
As with all communities, people are not always what they present themselves to be. People who claim to love the Lord and then do violence to another one is an example. Poor Rhoda has been bullied by some in her Community because she told the true about this individual. When first her garden, and them her beloved fruit plants are destroyed, she is beyond grief.
Enter the King family. Samuel has been in charge of the families apple orchard, and when a chance meeting with Rhoda, gives him an idea. So begins changes. Some are far reaching. As with the end of this book, we are heading down hill without breaks. Can't wait for the next book in this series.
Will Rhoda end up with one of the King brothers? What about Catherine? How about Leah? There are more questions, and I have to wait for answers, please soon!!
I received this book from Blogging For Books, and the Publisher Waterbrook Press, and was not required to give a positive review.
Posted September 22, 2012
Fruits of the Garden
Cindy Woodsmall's new series begins with A Season for Tending where the reader is introduced to an Old Order Amish Community. The cast of characters are well developed making the reader believe we could have a conversation with Rhoda Byler about gardening and canning or with Samuel King, Jacob King, and Leah King. Rhoda has been gifted with the ability to grow herbs and berries. So much so that she has established her own canning business but not with out a cost. Miles away Samuel King is struggling to keep his family's apple orchard from going under. An unexpected incident with Samuel's sister, Leah, links the King family and Rhoda. Samuel thinks that Rhoda is the answer to his struggling apple orchard. Is she? Or does she bring them more trouble? You don't want to miss this book. I am anxious to read the rest of the series.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Press to review.
Posted September 21, 2012