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Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles.
Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of ...
Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles.
Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and use of ideas that don't line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board's case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.
One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife, Elsie, has shut him out of her life, and he doesn't know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family.
Lena and Grey have been life-long friends, but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Quiet hung in the air inside the one-room schoolhouse as the children waited on Lena's next action. The curiosity she loved to stir in her scholars now filled their minds in ways she wished she could erase. The hush wasn't out of respect or desk work or learning.
Staring into defiant eyes, she stood. "Return to your seat, Peter." With his back to the other students, he leaned across her oak desk. "Make me." The threat in his voice was undeniable. She'd spoken to his parents about his behavior, but they'd believed that their son was only kidding and that she was taking his words and actions all wrong.
Nothing about the conduct of this six-foot man-child hinted at humor. He wasn't teasing, but he was toying with her--like her barn cats did with field mice before killing their prey. Feeling as unsightly as a wounded rodent was part of daily life for her. It even slipped into her dreams on a regular basis. But Lena was no mouse. When dealing with Peter, her will battled with her emotions. The teacher in her wanted to find a way to reach inside him, to get beyond the prejudices and surliness and find something of value. The rest of her simply wished he'd never moved to Dry Lake.
Still, she believed that most people had hidden wealth, good things within that made them more worthy than they appeared on the outside. For reasons that had nothing to do with Peter, she had to hold on to that belief. She offered a teacher-friendly smile. "The assignment stands, and it's due tomorrow. Take your seat, please."
He slid her well-organized papers onto the floor and crawled onto her desk and sat. At fifteen he was the oldest student she'd ever taught--or tried to teach. He should have graduated sixteen months ago from an Amish school in Ohio, where he'd lived before moving to Dry Lake. Although she had no idea what happened to put him so far behind in his studies, he seemed to think she was the problem.
It would be easier to tap into his better self, or at least better behavior, if there was someone to send him to when he got this bad. During her rumschpringe, her running-around years, she'd used her freedoms to attend public high school. When her public school teachers faced a difficult student like Peter, they sent him to another teacher, a counselor, or a principal. If there was another adult nearby, Peter probably wouldn't consider it a game to try to take control of her class. Maybe she needed to talk about this situation with her Englischer friend Samantha. Surely with her degree in psychology and her working this year as a school counselor, she would know some helpful tips.
"At your desk, Peter."
"I'm not doing the work, and I better not get a zero."
She swallowed and drew a breath, refusing the temptation to scream at him. "You have the right to decide your actions, or maybe a better word is inactions, but you do not have the right to insist on what grade I can give." Hoping to continue with class, Lena walked around the desk and settled her attention on the first-grade students.
"Who has their penmanship papers done?" Her three first-grade scholars raised their hands. "Good."
She could feel Peter behind her, seething with anger that had little to do with her. Wondering if she should face him or keep her focus on teaching, she took Marilyn's spiral-bound notebook in hand and began looking over the young girl's work. "To your desk, Peter," she repeated as she made a smiley face at the top of Marilyn's page. His breath was hot on the back of her neck as he whispered, "You won't win, so don't even try."
The threat unleashed her anger, and...
Lena believes that many people have hidden wealth within that makes them more worthy than they appear on the outside—even Peter, the student who mocks her physical appearance. Do you know someone who seems unlovable? How can you find the treasure that God sees inside that person? In what ways can you reach out to people whose actions and behaviors irritate you? How can you help those who don’t respond positively to your attempts?
2. After six years of marriage, Grey and Elsie go about their daily lives without speaking about the hurts of the past that emotionally strangle them. She feels incapable of expressing her emotions and afraid of revealing her deepest fear. She is reluctant to share their problems with anyone. Do you think Grey should have taken the steps to get the needed help even if his wife didn’t want to?
3. When Elsie finally tells Grey what’s been bothering her, it’s not any of the reasons he expected. Have you ever spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out what someone else was thinking? Has anyone ever misunderstood your motives for something? What might have been salvaged if the truth had been revealed and discussed sooner?
4. Cara doesn’t understand why the Amish ban on working Sundays includes her doing some lawn mowing in exchange for a gift for her daughter, especially since boys are allowed to play sports and women can fix meals. She is also distressed that someone “tattled” on her. Though she disagrees with the line the church leaders draw, she submits to their authority … until she discovers that the rules prevent her daughter from enjoying the gift that meant so much to her. If you disagreed with instructions or guidance from an authority in your life, how would you handle the situation? At what point does accountability start to feel intrusive?
5. A death within the Dry Lake community affects everyone differently. Ephraim realizes that his reaction to death is different now that he has Cara in his life. Aaron blames himself for his part in the incident. Another character is paralyzed by self-accusations and remorse. How does the thought of losing someone close to you make you feel about the life you’re living and the relationships you have? Are there any divisions you want to try to mend or words you want to say while there’s still time?
6. Cara continually struggles to understand and accept the Amish ways, though she’s committed to do so for Lori’s and Ephraim’s sakes. When is it appropriate to adjust your ways for someone else, and when is it better to accept yourself the way you are?
7. When Gray chooses to burn the envelope with the DNA test results without looking at them, he says, “I choose to be free of all that we didn’t handle right.” What past wrongs are you holding on to? Are you ready to choose to be free of them?
Mahlon returns to Dry Lake and tells Deborah he loves her. This is what she’d ached for, for a long time. Is there something you want deeply, have even prayed for intensely, but you haven’t received the answer you desire? How do you know when to accept an unanswered prayer and when to keep fighting for your desires?
Lena doesn’t believe anyone is capable of seeing beyond her birthmark to who she really is, because she sees everything in her life as being related to her birthmark. If Lena were your friend, what would you say to her?
Lena ignored the school board’s mandate and arranged for Peter to see a grief counselor. Do you agree with her decision? What do you think she could have done differently?
11. Grey begins building a bridge between his home and Lena’s brother’s home. Why do you think he purposely didn’t finish it himself? Do you agree with his line of thinking?
What aspects of the Amish life appeal to you? What restrictions would you have a hard time living with? Can you think of ways to simplify your daily life or enhance your special occasions by making them a bit more like the Amish?
Posted August 16, 2010
All her young life, her birthmark on her cheek has been the talk of the Amish community where Lena Kauffman was raised. Over time she learned to ignore the stares. Currently, she teaches at an Amish School in Dry Lake that demands strict adherence to the "old ways".
Lena has problems with the board's inability to bend for the better good of the students. She especially has problems with a troubled pupil, fifteen year old recently transferred Peter; who is the oldest and tallest student she ever had. She turns to her Englischer friend Samantha a school counselor for help. This alienates the school board who blames her and her new ways of teaching for her student's rebellion of authority. However school board member Grey Graber commiserates with his lifelong friend the beleaguered teacher and her mutinous student as he feels trapped too in a marriage with a wife Elsie who kicked him out of her life.
The second Ada's House Amish romance (see The Hope of Refuge) is a wonderful refreshing contemporary that makes a strong case that the Plain People have psychological problems just like the English do. The lead couple, his wife and her student is fully developed characters with emotional baggage and issues as Cindy Woodsmall provides a strong fresh tale bolstered by a profound underlying statement that faith helps, but does not necessarily relieve personal concerns.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 14, 2013
Posted August 30, 2013
Posted June 4, 2013
Another excellent read by Cindy Woodsmall. I have read many Amish stories but none like this. Lena's humor, positive attitude toward the children she interacts with is refreshing.Her problems with the school board very irritating. The hatred by Peter's brothered and the resulting events had me once again rivereted to the story to find the outcome...Will Lena survive? Back to my nook to find out!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 29, 2013
Posted January 26, 2013
Posted November 1, 2011
Posted October 31, 2011
Posted April 27, 2011
I was only going to read a few pages and go to bed. I ended up reading the whole book. It just drew me in and before I knew it I was done. It is book two in a series. I didn't read the first book and I think it would have been better reading them in order. But it stands alone very well. I'm going to reading more of Cindy Woodsmall in the future. I really enjoyed The Bridge of Peace.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 26, 2011
The Bridge of Peace is a book that takes place in an Amish community. Your taken inside the lives of several people, all going through their own struggles in life. Love, hatred, insecurity, and hurt are unseen by those around them. After many trials, and even death, will they finally have peace in their lives?
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had always been skeptical of Amish books, particularly Amish romance. But this book pulled me in, and had me on the edge of my seat on more than one occasion. It was heart wrenching at some points. I loved the different point of views from the characters in the story. I also learned so much more about the Amish culture that I hadn't known before. I would recommend this book to any young adult or adult. I'm already starting on my next Amish book!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I'm not going to summarize this since BN already did. My thoughts: I didn't realize when I got this book that it was the second book in the series. I think having read the first book would have helped me a little in knowing the characters, especially Lena, but overall I was able to read and enjoy it without having read the first book in the series. (Also, there's a glossary of who's who, which helped me in the beginning and throughout the book.) This is the second book by Woodsmall I've read (the first is When the Heart Cries) and I really enjoyed it. I think a lot of my comments about these two books are the same: while this book has a firm foundation of faith (it's about the Amish, after all!), it's not an overtly religious book, and it's not a deeply literary novel, either. As far as Amish books go, it's not especially original, but that didn't bother me because my expectations were appropriately met based on the other Woodsmall book I've read. I liked the characters, I thought the plot was plausible enough, and I was left intrigued enough to want to read both the first and third books in the series. My biggest problem with these books is that the covers depict all of these Amish women being beautiful. I think that's a little off-kilter for books that are supposed to be geared at a woman's insides, not her physical beauty. Overall, I would rank this book as average (I've read much better but I've also read much, much, much worse!), and in this case, average is good enough.
(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I was asked to review this book fairly based on my own opinions and not asked to make a positive review in return for receiving the book, only an honest one.)
Posted April 23, 2011
THE BRIDGE OF PEACE by Cindy Woodstock is an interesting and amazing inspirational Amish fiction set in present day Amish country. It it the second in "THE ADA HOUSE SERIES",Book One, "Hope of Refuge",but can be read as a stand alone.It is well written with depth and details.It is about an Amish young women,Lena,,who is a teacher and has a birthmark on her cheek. She has endured ridicule,humiliation,and talk behind her back.She only wants a family of her own her,to teach school,find love and happiness.Grey,her long time friend,has problems of his own with his marriage,a son who has a handicap,a wife who has gone cold in their marriage and dealing with how to bring his marriage to what it used to be. While Lena is dealing with rambunctious children,and a school board she has defiled their word.She believes her students should be able to learn. Then a tragic accident happens,leaving a wife dead,a husband and a student full of guilt,the school board furious with Lena,someone is not only trying to discredit Lena but is also planning to get rid of her.While Lena and Grey are finding their way ,they find they are not only facing deception,but Lena is facing danger,she isn't even aware of,and they are fighting their own feelings. They will have to build a bridge of peace to survive.This story is of love,faith,deception,redemption forgiveness, and the power of second chances. This is a fast paced story of the Amish faith and their power of moving forward.If you enjoy Amish,romance,faith,a little mystery you will enjoy this one.A great read. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at WaterBrook Press,Multnomah and My Book Addiction Reviews.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 7, 2011
It took me awhile to get into this story mainly because I was so confused at all the character names being thrown at me from the very beginning. Only later did I realize that The Bridge of Peace is the second in a series and that also there is a handy little character glossary in the back of the book. Once I was able to get into the story and get a grip on who each of the characters were, I really started to enjoy the plot. By the end of the novel I surprised myself with how much I actually was enjoying it and couldn't put it down until I had finished it completely.
The novel is not mainly about one Amish school teacher as I had previously thought given the description; it is about a whole community of Amish people and all of the complicated relationships that go into a tight-knit community such as this one. Because of this storyline, Woodsmall was able to delve into all of the interesting parts of human emotion: hope, despair, love, friendship, hatred, even psychopathy.
This was a great "feel good" novel. One that brought me up, down, and back up again. I can't wait to go back and read The Hope of Refuge and then to read the third in the series when it comes out this fall
Posted April 5, 2011
I really loved this book and would highly recommend it, especially those who like to read about the Amish way of life. I think we can relate to these people because although they live with Amish rules, I think we all feel sometimes burdened by rules of society. Lena feels so insecure of herself because of the birthmark on her face. She feels no one will ever love her. Because of that she puts all of her energy into teaching. Sometimes she crosses the line of the Old Ways and gets herself into trouble with the school board and parents. There is heartache, tragedy and deceit among many people within this community. Will they be able to heal? Will they find love? Will they be able to cross that bridge and find peace?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2011
This was my first CIndy Woodsmall book, and certainly not my last. I can't wait to read the next in the serious. I enjoyed reading about each character, and was surprised at the twist & turns within the story. A wonderful suspense, and romance packed book sure to delight readers of all ages.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 29, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Book reivew: The Bridge of Peace
I have finished my first book by author Cindy Woodsmall The Bridge of Peace. This is the second book in the Ada's House series.
Lena Kauffman is a young school teacher who faces many challenges from a troubled, rebellious student. She gets into trouble with the school board when she makes some decisions that aren't in accord with the Old Ways. Lena feels she will never marry because she doesn't think men can see past the birthmark on her face.
School board member Grey Graber and his wife Elsie have a troubled marriage. They begin making steps of progress when tragedy strikes.
This is a very enjoyable book that I would recommend to you. I look forward to reading #3 in this series. This book was provided to me for my honest review by the "Blogging for Books" reviewer program with WaterBrook Multonomah.
Posted March 14, 2011
This was a great book. I've been reading this authors books since her first series.
This is the second book in the Ada House Series. I really enjoyed reading this book.
The main character, Lena, has a great personality ever though she has always been made fun of for her very noticeable birthmark. She is an old order Amish school teacher who is challenged by a rebellious young man and has to deal with several crises that threaten her other students.
Grey Graber, on of the school board members, feels trapped by his own circumstances. His wife has shut him out of her life after a miscarriage. Has the two of them finally start to work things out there is a tragic accident.
Grey and Lena have been friends all their lives, but their friendship starts turning into something more.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
Posted March 14, 2011
The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall, is an Old Order Amish story that is a continuation in a series. I did not have the opportunity to read the first book in the series, however, it was not necessary to understand the plot of this story. I always admire that in books, to be able to pick up a new title and not question things that have already occurred.
There were many characters in this story and I had to continually look to see how they were related in the back of the book, but each character was developed very well. I found that there were characters I was more excited to read about than others in the story, which I always enjoy having favorites. I enjoyed the story line also, however, it did take a bit to get into the book. The last 100 pages though were very good and kept my interest.
I enjoyed the obstacles that had to be overcome in order for the characters to develop into whom they were written to be. I can anticipate which characters are going to be emphasized in the next story, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to read it.
Posted March 10, 2011
This book centers around four people: Lena, Deborah, Grey, and Cara. All of them are taking life's problem's one at a time. Lena, the Amish schoolteacher, has to deal with a birthmark on her face, and her rejection from both Grey and the School-board. Deborah has to try and rid herself of grievances against her fiance, who abandoned her. Cara tries so hard to fit in to the foreign Amish culture, and always feels that she can't do enough right. Grey struggles with a marriage filled with hurt, loneliness, and miserableness, yet tries to act as if nothing is wrong. Climaxing when Lena's life is in danger, this book's plot is somewhat predictable, but still written well. I enjoyed the book quite thoroughly, except for an occasional hear-shattering part. This book enlightens readers to a new view of the strict Amish community, and also, it causes you to fall in love with the Amish. I have always enjoyed books about the Amish, and I think this one turned out well. The resolution was a happy one, which is EXTREMELY important to me. One thing the author did that impressed me, was that she made sure not to make beloved characters die, even though a few others do. There was rarely a dull moment, and the captivating plot keeps one awake long hours into the night. I overall enjoyed this book, and I certainly hope you will go and buy it, because it is a GREAT book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2011
It has drama, romance, happiness, sadness, everything you get in real life, but as fiction. Its wonderful to see the author use the Old Ways in her writing that so many people can get the feel that they're actually part of the book while they're reading it. I'm looking forward to seeing book 3 on here this fall! I'm going to try and find The Hope of Refuge at the library so I can make sure I know all the characters. Well wrote!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.