The Christmas Singing

( 33 )

Overview

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
 
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.
 
Three years later, will learning the truth behind his ...

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The Christmas Singing

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Overview

After Gideon coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie’s hopes?
 
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve.
 
Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?
 
Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk and discover the power of second chances in this touching story from the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Bridge of Peace.
 
Gideon Beiler has loved Mattie Eash since they were children. But when faced with unexpected circumstances, he makes up an excuse to end their engagement. He doesn’t want to lie to her, but he believes that telling Mattie the truth will be more hurtful.  
 
Brokenhearted, Mattie moves from Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where she pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator. She finds a new beau—a man offering the secure relationship Gideon has denied her.  
 
When Mattie is forced to return to Apple Ridge, she and Gideon must confront the suffering created by his dishonesty – and address the powerful emotions that continue to bind the two childhood friends.

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  • The Christmas Singing
    The Christmas Singing  

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307446541
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 628,627
  • Product dimensions: 8.24 (w) x 5.52 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Her ability to authentically portray her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. Cindy lives in Georgia with her family. Visit her website at CindyWoodsmall.com.

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Read an Excerpt

      Cold darkness and the sugary aroma from the cake shop below surrounded Mattie as she slid a solid-colored dress over her head and tied her white apron in place. The Old Order Amish here in Ohio didn’t wear the black aprons—a difference she enjoyed—and only those involved with baking wore the white apron from the waist down. After brushing her hair, she fastened it up properly and donned her prayer Kapp. Who needed a light or a mirror to get ready for the day? She’d been wearing similar clothes her whole life, and the Ohio Amish pinned up their hair in much the same way as she had back in Pennsylvania.
      Now, cake decorating—that required good lighting and great attention to detail. And her favorite season for making specialty cakes—Christmas—was right around the corner.
      Ready to take on a new day, she hurried down the rough-hewn steps that led into her shop, lit a kerosene lantern, and pulled on her coat while going out the back door. Before getting to the woodpile, she paused a moment, enjoying Berlin’s lights. Illuminated white bulbs hung like beacons against the dark night. Although she missed her Mamm and Daed, this was home now, not Pennsylvania.
      She scanned the silhouettes and shadows of nearby homes and shops. The golden full moon had a silky glow around it, a ring almost as clear and defined as the moon itself. What would it look like if she designed a cake with a halo?
      Eager to make notes, she loaded wood into the crook of her arm and went inside. She dumped the logs in the bin and then stirred the embers in the potbelly stove and added kindling. Before her first customer arrived, she’d have the place toasty warm.
      The shop was old and narrow, but Mattie loved it. When the previous owner, a man who sold saddles and such, decided to sell his place a few weeks before she moved here, her brother James had helped her buy and remodel it. They’d torn out all the old counters, workbenches, and shelving. 
      The ceiling, floors, and walls were made of unfinished exposed wood. She’d put in a huge display case along the left wall, and a couple of small tables sat to the right. A gas-powered commercial oven and stainless-steel sinks ran the length of the back wall, and her work station, where she pieced together and decorated her cakes, sat a few feet away. Even in cooler weather, keeping the place warm without electricity wasn’t much of an issue with the heat radiating from the oven and the wood stove. Hot summer weather was a little more problematic, but the many windows helped.
      She began searching for her spiral notebook, which she often referred to as her brain. The pages of her combination sketch pad, scrapbook, and journal were covered with drawings, doodles, and pictures from magazines and newspapers. It’d been a gift for her twelfth birthday, and although the gift giver had broken her heart seven years later, she still appreciated the book. Her day planner was in the back of it, with the types of cakes she needed to make, due dates, and all her clients’ names and phone numbers. Without it she wouldn’t know how to run her store.
      She knelt and looked under her work station. It was there, maybe two feet away. Reaching as far as she could, she touched the edge of the thick binder and grabbed it. Now where did she leave her pencil?
      Is it behind your ear, Mattie Lane? Gideon’s voice washed over her.
      She shuddered, detesting hearing him inside her head, especially with the added use of the pet name Mattie Lane. Lane was not a part of her given name or her surname. When they first broke up, his voice had played constantly in her mind, but after three years these whispers of the past were rare.
      They’d been good friends most of their lives. He was three years older than she, and it had stung when he began dating at sixteen. But worse than seeing him with other Amish girls was seeing him with Englischer girls. At eighteen, he’d stopped seeing others and told her that he’d decided to wait for her.
      Their first date had taken place on her birthday, Christmas Eve, and she’d attended her first singing with Gideon. The magic of Christmas seemed to surround both of them as their voices rose in celebration of Christ’s birth and the blessing of being together. Nothing in her life had ever compared to the emotion of that night, not even owning her own shop. For the next three years, they enjoyed the glorious Christmas singings together. And then she caught him.
      Her heartbreak had been compounded by confusion. Nothing had prepared her for his betrayal.
      Pushing those thoughts away, she found a pencil lying on the sink and jotted down notes about the halo. Then she made herself a quick breakfast. Before she’d swallowed the last of her coffee, she had four dozen muffins and four dozen cupcakes in the oven.
      The cowbells hanging on the door chimed numerous times throughout the morning, and by noon she had sold the usual amount of baked goods for this time of year and had taken three new cake orders—for a birthday, a bridal shower, and a summer wedding. She couldn’t think of anything more exciting than running Mattie Cakes.
      She went to the phone and dialed her Mamm. One of the things she loved most about owning a shop was the permission to have a phone handy. She called her Mamm at least once a day.       
      Few women were as remarkable as her mother. She’d been forty-seven when she got pregnant with Mattie. But Mamm’s health issues progressed from inconvenient at the time of Mattie’s birth to life threatening by the time Mattie turned sixteen. Mattie had spent much of her life fearing she’d lose her mother. But when Mattie hesitated to move from Pennsylvania to Ohio, her mother had refused to let her stay in Apple Ridge.
      After ten rings the answering machine clicked on. Since Mamm was seventy and her phone was in the shanty near the barn, Mattie rarely reached her on the first try of the day.
      At the beep, Mattie said, “Good morning, Mamm and Daed. This is your adoring, favorite daughter calling.” Mattie chuckled. “Being the only girl has perks… Anyway, I’m having a great day, and I want to hear about yours. I’ll call back at two thirty. I hope you’re dressed warmly. Love you both.” If Mattie established a time she’d call back, Mamm never failed to be in the phone shanty, waiting to hear from her. Daed had set up a comfortable chair and a gas heater out there. She talked to her Daed too, but he didn’t stay on the line long.
      The bells on the shop door jingled again, and a cold blast of November air burst into the room.
      Mattie’s almost-five-year-old niece came barreling through the door, bundled up in her black winter coat and wool scarf over her prayer Kapp. She wondered if Esther had walked the half block from her house to the shop by herself or if the little girl’s mother was trailing behind, pushing her double stroller. Esther had four older siblings, but all of them were in school during the day.
      “Mattie Cakes!” the young girl cried.
      Mattie chuckled at Esther’s excitement. None of her nieces or nephews called her Aunt Mattie these days, but she found this nickname adorable.
      Esther ran to her, clutching a silver lunch pail. “You didn’t come home to eat, so I brought you some food.”
      “Denki.” Mattie wasn’t surprised when Esther held on to the pail. Her niece loved toting things.
      Esther began her routine inspection of the store, beginning with the sink full of dirty cooking utensils. She enjoyed coming to the shop, and Mattie hoped that in seven or eight years, Esther might want to learn the trade. Esther’s older sisters didn’t seem to have any desire to make cakes.
      Sol walked in, carrying a bow, a quiver full of arrows, and his camouflage duffel bag. He set it all behind her work counter, looking more confident than he used to. “Hi.” He flashed a quick smile before looking down. Sometimes shy, he didn’t keep eye contact for long.
      They’d begun seeing each other on special occasions more than two years ago. Now they saw each other regularly, and unlike Gideon, Sol found getting along with young women a challenge. He was reserved and tended to mumble, but they liked being together.
      When the bell on the door jingled again but no one came in, Sol hurried to open it for Mattie’s sister-in-law as she pushed the stroller into the room.
      “Did you forget something, Mattie?” Dorothy asked. “Like coming home for lunch?”
      Mattie glanced at the clock. “Sorry. I didn’t realize how much time had passed.”
      Dorothy sighed. “I’ve heard that before.”
      “And you’ll hear it again,” Sol mumbled. A grin sneaked across his face as he stole a glance at Mattie. She wanted to hug him, but he liked to keep his distance before a hunt. He didn’t bathe or shave for a day or two before leaving, not wanting to scare off the wild game by smelling of soap or aftershave.
      Mattie held out her hands for the pail. “Thank you very much, Esther. If your Mamm doesn’t mind, I think you should pick out a cupcake.”
      Esther gave her the pail and gazed up at her mother.
      Dorothy hesitated, probably calculating all sorts of mom things—like how many sweets Esther had eaten this week, if she’d had her fruits and vegetables today, and if Mattie was spoiling her. “Oh, all right.”
      Esther clapped and hurried to the display case housing the decorated cupcakes. “You made turkey cakes!” Each one had a tiny turkey head made of marzipan and tail feathers of icing.
      “Ya, I did.”
      Dorothy stood near Mattie’s work station and craned to see the display case. “You made so many.”
      “It’s Thanksgiving next week. People have placed orders for most of those and will pick them up late this afternoon. I’ll make even more for tomorrow’s orders. The Englischer girls and boys have class parties before they’re out for the holiday next week. This year I’ve gone an extra step. The feathers are not only a different color from the frosting, but they have a mildly different flavor too.” Mattie opened the wood stove and stoked it before adding another piece of wood. “I think it’s some of my best blending of colors and tastes yet…for cupcakes designed to look like turkeys.”
      Dorothy set the brake on the stroller and moved to a stool. “I still don’t understand why you go to that much trouble for something that will be devoured in less than two minutes.”
      “Only the cake is gone. The memory will last much longer, perhaps days or a month or a lifetime. Just look at Esther.”
      The four-year-old was talking to herself, or to the cakes, as she tried to choose one.
      Dorothy’s face eased into a smile. “I guess I do understand. You know, come to think of it, James and I still talk about the ten-year anniversary cake you made for us.” Dorothy sighed. “But we want to see you more. You sleep here and skip meals. At least hang the Out to Lunch sign and come eat with us.”
      Sol pulled a flashlight out of his bag and made sure it was working before taking a seat on his usual stool at the far end of her work station. “Would you feel better if she gave her word that she’d try to come home for lunch from now on?”
      Dorothy laughed. “Ya, it would make me feel better…even though I know it won’t change a thing.”
      Mattie held up her hand as if taking an oath. “I will do my best not to lose track of time and to follow all your advice.”
      “Wait until you have little ones and are trying to herd them toward the table,” Dorothy teased.
      Sol winked at Mattie. They were in agreement on this topic—they’d definitely marry one day, but it’d be a while. “Until then, your sister-in-law can make her own decisions.”
      Dorothy turned to her. “So what has you so preoccupied this time?”
      Mattie grabbed her notepad. “Look at this.” She opened the spiral-bound book and tapped the rough sketch of her halo cake. “Wouldn’t this be an unusual wedding cake?”
      Dorothy leaned in, wearing a slight frown. “I suppose if I were an Englischer, it’d snag my interest. Is that a net? Is it edible?”
      “Oh, ya. And it’s not a net. It’s a halo…of sorts.”
      “How on earth will you get it to surround a cake in midair like that?”
      Mattie splayed her fingers and waved her hands over the notebook. “I can do magic.”
      Dorothy chuckled. “Ya, magic that takes weeks of hard work.”
      A car horn tooted. Sol stood. “That’s my ride.”
      “What zone are you headed for?” Mattie put several cupcakes in a bakery box.
      “C.” He shoved his flashlight into his duffel bag.
      She was sure he’d told her the zone before, but she didn’t try to keep his hunting schedule straight any more than he tried to keep up with the type of cake she needed to bake next.
      He slung the bow and quiver over one shoulder and his duffel bag over the other. “We’re going to a campsite in Hocking Hills. I have several tags, so I hope to bring back a few deer.”
      “The venison will come in handy this winter at the soup kitchen.” She passed him the box of goodies.
      “Denki.” He studied her for a moment, grinning. “Don’t get into any trouble while I’m gone.”
      It was his way of telling her that he cared. “I won’t.”
      He opened the door. “See you in a few days.”
      “I’ll be here.” Mattie returned to her open scrapbook, wondering if she could fashion the framework for the halo out of hardened sugar.
      Dorothy sighed. “Isn’t there a limit on how much wild game the local charities will accept? Sol told James that he’s going on a seven-day hunt less than a week after Thanksgiving.”
      “Ya. He is.” Mattie pointed at her chicken scratch of a sketch. “I think I know how to make the halo. What if I made an edible dowel from my crispy rice concoction and anchored—”
      “Something’s wrong.” Dorothy cut her off.
      “With the halo idea?”
      “No.” Her sister-in-law placed her hand on the notebook. “I know Sol builds pallets from his parents’ house, but even so, how does he manage to get off work so much?”
      “As long as he meets his quota each week, he can spend the rest of his time doing whatever he wants. He works long hours some days so he can take off when he wants. Is that a problem?”
      “No…” Dorothy turned pages in the book without looking at it. “Honey, everyone in the family likes Sol. But…”
      Mattie folded her arms, ready to defend herself. With seven big brothers, she knew how to stand her ground. “But what?”
      “I keep waiting to see in you the zest that young people in love always have. It seems there’s no more now than when you started courting two years ago. Am I wrong?”
      Mattie shrugged, hoping to keep the conversation short. “Sol has all the traits I could want in a husband. Zest isn’t on the list.”
      Dorothy leaned in. “When you love someone enough to marry him, you find him fascinating. You love being in the same room with him. You desire to bear his children. You have a bond that’s so powerful you’ll gladly overlook the things about him that will drive you crazy years later.”
      “What Sol and I have doesn’t fit that description, but our bond is strong. Maybe letting each other pursue outside interests is more important than you think.”
      “He’s not one of your brothers, Mattie. After fourteen years James and I still arrange our days to get as much time together as possible.” She looked up at Mattie. “He draws me, Mattie, and I, him. People in love should have that.”
      Mattie once had that kind of relationship with Gideon, and Dorothy knew it. What she didn’t understand was that Mattie and Sol’s relationship was much better, at least for her. “Dorothy, I know you want the best thing for me, but you have to trust me. Sol and I are very happy.”
      Dorothy nodded, not looking convinced, but Mattie wasn’t bothered by what she or the rest of the family thought. She knew what being with Sol meant.
      The bell jingled, and more cold air rushed inside along with Willa Carter and her son. Excitement danced inside Mattie. The whole time she’d worked on Ryan’s birthday cake, she looked forward to seeing his eyes light up when he saw it.
      “Happy birthday, Ryan.” She closed her notebook and set it aside.
      “Mattie!” Dorothy lifted the sketch pad off the wood stove. “Think…please.”
      “Oh, yes. Thanks.” She thought in English and used it easily these days, a result of having regular contact with her non-Amish customers and friends. She turned to the little boy. He was so cute in his blue jeans and cowboy hat. “How old are you today?”
      Ryan held up four fingers. “I’m this many!”
      Mattie stepped out from behind the counter. “You are so big!” She turned to Mrs. Carter, who was jamming her car keys into her bright red purse. “How are you today?”
      “Frazzled.” She unbuttoned her plaid coat. “I forgot this place sat so far back from the other stores, and I parked halfway down the block.”
      Dorothy shifted her stroller out of the center of the floor. “We’d better go.”
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    Delightful book for the Holiday Season

    Every once in a while, you open a book, and the characters that emerge from the pages are living, breathing and believable. They take your hand and guide you through a story, making you laugh, making you cry, and always make it hard to turn that last page. Gideon and Mattie from Cindy Woodsmall's The Christmas Singing are those kinds of characters.

    The story opens with Mattie, she's the equivalent of the Amish Cake Boss. She's moved to Ohio, after discovering Gideon in the arms of another woman. Her life with him had once been filled with "passion and gusto", but now her shattered heart is on the mend. She's the successful owner of a cake shop, and is involved in a "comfortable" relationship with Sol.

    But then tragedy strikes, and her store is burned down. She heads back to Ohio for the Holidays and is forced to confront Gideon. As the truth of his betrayal comes to light, will it mend the hurt, or bring more pain?

    I give this book five stars, and it is a must for your bookshelf this holiday season. One cold afternoon, curl up under a blanket and let the warmth of Gideon and Mattie's story warm your heart. It is a quick and easy read that will bring a little joy to your day.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: 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 am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2011

    An overall good story

    An over all good story. The lack of communication and trying to do what is best for someone else creates years of loss and regret. It is then full of characters who are trying to do what they think is best without really considering the long term affects of those decisions or if they have the right to make them for someone else. A little romance, but mostly about interacting and dealing with feelings and the trials life brings.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Nice Amish Getaway There are few reads that delight me more t

    A Nice Amish Getaway

    There are few reads that delight me more than a look into the lives of the Amish. I have embraced this genre, and I have continually been delighted by each book I have read. The Christmas Singing has many of the elements that I enjoy from Cindy Woodsmall. The view into Amish life is painted so clearly I feel like I can see each detail. I was delighted with the descriptions as usual and wished I could drop into Mattie Cakes myself. I wish the shop and the village that Mattie lived in was explored more deeply before she went back to Ridge. I really enjoyed the descriptions and friends there. I hope to see more in a future work. I was also pleased to get the opportunity to catch up with other characters from Cindy's previous book in this series. It was like revisiting old friends.


    The tone of the story itself was a bit somber which I would as with it dealt with some negative events. It would have worked better for me (and this is purely personal) if it actually had not been a Christmas novella. I don't expect everything to be happy, but in a Christmas themed story, I expect it more than I would with other themes. Still the story itself was well written and I hope that my distraction with the tone doesn't lead you to think it was not.

    As for the characters, I would love to see what happens to Saul. He seems to have some deep levels there, and I hope the author will continue to explore them. Mattie herself kind of bugged me. She was hot and cold when it came to Gideon. I couldn't even grasp the momentary joviality that would be followed by resentment. I understood the reasoning, but to be honest, if I had been involved with someone who I truly believed betrayed me, I probably wouldn't be anything more than lukewarm around him. Polite out of necessity. Mattie's reactions often seemed very self centered and off kilter. Gideon and all he had been through simply broke my heart.


    All in all, I enjoyed the story and the look back at old friends. The ending for the main characters was satisfying, and I hope that it opens doors for others that I am also falling in like with. It was the perfect little getaway into Amish Country and I hope to go there again soon.

    I did listen to this book rather than read it, and because of this I do want to comment on that. I felt that the reader had a lovely tone to her voice but it was rather soft. Because of this, I had to turn my volume all the way up on both my Kindle and my computer. This is the first time I have had to do this with an audio book. Also because I was listening and not reading one name kept grating on me: Mattie Lane (Mattie's nickname). I am sure if I was reading it wouldn't have been so distracting, but it seemed to come up way too often as I listened.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    Great short story

    This was a really nice short read. It held my interest til the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Mattie was trying to find her notebook when she was opening up her shop for the day.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Touching Story

    This was a really enjoyable story. It had heart to it without but was also light. Just what I was looking for at that moment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    AWESOME!

    Cindy Woodsmall's books are always amazing, and this is no exception. What a delightful story, filled with characters who feel like real friends. A great read ... and a terrific gift!

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  • Posted January 19, 2012

    Great Read

    I recently had the chance to read and review this book. I am a fan of Cindy's books and had to read it. I wasn't let down by it. It was a nice not too deep story. Mattie was brokenhearted by her boyfriend and soon after moved away to another community. She meet Sol and started dating him and opened and established her own Bakery from her love of baking cakes. She left the shop for a few moments to help a lady with a cake to her car and before she knows she lost her whole shop in a fire. Mattie goes back home to her community to be with her family and comes face to face with the one who broke her heart. I won't give out anymore details but that is the plot of the book. I found it to be a short sweet romantic Amish read. It does not go into great lengths and gives you just enough of the story to where you are satisfied. I very much enjoyed this newest read from Cindy and I am sure you would love this sweet story too.

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  • Posted January 16, 2012

    Wonderful book! Check it out!

    Cindy does it again! Love her books especially this one! Enjoy reading The Christmas Singing!!!

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Cozy Christmas Read

    Cozy is the exact and right description for The Christmas Singing. As I read the novella, I envisioned sitting in a comfy fire by the fireplace. I couldn't help it. The romance and mystery themes were evenly paced, and Cindy Woodsmall achieved making this a relaxing read despite the surprises scattered here and there in the story, mainly due to the mystery theme.

    I love the way the real reason behind Gideon and Mattie's breakup is slowly revealed. It was like a juicy tidbit is being dangled before us readers so that we will want to read more and more. That made reading this book even more exciting than it already is. The story is simple enough, but what clinches it is the breakup and tension.

    While I like the Gideon and Mattie characters equally the same, Sol was my favorite character and I couldn't help pitying him many times. He has this soft side that makes him endearing. Gideon and Mattie's conversations were my favorite parts in The Christmas Singing. I enjoyed analyzing them. There is much to think about and rationalize in the conversations.

    I don't know how Cindy managed to turn out a piece of work that is both relaxing, exciting, mysterious and romantic, but she certainly makes it turn out all good. The elements are all juggled well, and the ending leaves you feeling contented. This is just the type of book I'd sit back and read after those tense and complicated books (not that I don't love them too, though!). The Christmas Singing is one of the best Amish books I've read to date!

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    Highly Rcommended

    I reviewed the book Christmas Singing and the first thing I liked about it was the pretty cover. It would be a nice book to lay on a coffee table or on an end table even if it didn't get read.

    I thought the author did a good job making me feel the pain and joys of the characters. I really got into the book and I knew how I wanted the book to end from the very first few chapters.

    This was a very quick read. It wasn't in depth and was a great book to just read for relaxation and enjoyment. My one complaint would be that everything resolved too quickly in the end and I wanted the ending to last longer. I have already started a second book by this author so I liked her well enough to try more books by her.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful story

    Mattie and Gideon had once been engaged. But, when Mattie's heart is broken by Gideon, she needs to get away. Ohio and her own bakery seem to be the answer to her broken heart, and then there is Sol. Mattie is comfortable in Ohio and life seems to be progressing when her bakery burns down. Mattie needs to regroup and heads home where she runs into Gideon. Will the truth about the break-up come out? Can broken hearts mend? What will become of Mattie's bakery and Sol? This wonderful Christmas story will remind you of the joys and heartaches life can bring, as well as the hope future holds in store.

    As usual, Cindy Woodsmall does her homework and brings a wonderful Amish story to life. The characters are like neighbors and their stories are compelling. I like the descriptions she uses for places because it is easy to picture where something is happening. If you enjoy Amish stories, you will enjoy this one. If you have never read one, this would be a good one to try. I received my review copy from the Blogging for Books program and thank them for the opportunity.

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  • Posted December 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun little Amish Christmas story

    Mattie is a single Amish woman owns her own bakery. She left her home and moved to her brother's town after a misunderstanding with her boyfriend. But she's a bit absent minded and accidentally burns her store down. She returns to her hometown to find out that her relationship with Gideon (her ex-boyfriend) isn't what it seemed. Now she must decide what direction her life is going to take.

    I enjoyed this book. I've read several other books by Cindy Woodsmall and have enjoyed them all. I was not a huge fan of Amish fiction, but she has changed my opinion. The author has a pleasant writing style and the stories are always fun. The characters are real and the Christian message is strong without being over powering. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.

    I received this book free of charge from WaterBrook in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    Highly recomend. Easy reading and entertaining

    Will continue to read her books

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Great Christmas Story

    I've recently become a big fan of Amish fiction. I always enjoy reading books by Cindy Woodsmall and this one was no exception. It was super easy to fall in love with these characters and find myself totally immersed in their story. I've never been to Amish country, but as I read I felt as though I was right there alongside Mattie and Giedon.

    Because of her connection to the Amish community, Woodsmall always fills her stories with little facts and tidbits about the people. For example, in this book I learned that while most Amish groups do not allow members to have telephones, they are permitted to have phones in their businesses.

    I only have one complaint about the story, it's on the shorter side and because of that it almost feels as if parts of the story are rushed and skimmed over. I would have loved for the story to go a little deeper into Mattie and Gideon's story and would gladly have read another 100 pages to do so. Other than that minor detail, I loved this story and look forward to reading more by Cindy Woodsmall.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for this review. All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted just a little bit more...

    The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall is ¿A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country¿. It opens with Mattie, an Old Order Amish woman living in Ohio with her brother and his family, where she runs and operates her own cake shop called ¿Mattie Cakes¿ Mattie had come to Ohio from Pennsylvania, to help heal her broken heart as her intended Gideon had broken off their relationship on Christmas 3 years earlier. After discovering what appears to be unfaithfulness on Gideon¿s part, Mattie puts up a wall to keep her broken heart from being hurt again. And so she begins a very safe relationship with a man in Ohio named Sol. They are comfortable with each other and allow each other their space. But a tragedy strikes, and this brings Mattie back to Pennsylvania and to Gideon. As they renew their friendship, and are completely honest with each other the true story comes out and new choices must be made. Love, sacrifice and understanding weave together and bring about things just as they should be. My thoughts on this book are that it does deliver a ¿Romance from the Heart of the Amish Country¿. The characters were believable- I could really relate to the scattered character of Mattie, being a creative type myself, I get that. And Gideon was solid as well and I understood why he made the choices he made in the novel. For me, I wished that there would have been a bit more at the end. I felt that it was a bit abrupt. I would have loved to have seen one scene in particular with Gideon and Mattie towards the end of the book elongated a bit- I feel it would have helped the reader see a bit more what Gideon and Mattie looked like when they were good together. Those are just my thoughts though. Overall, an enjoyable read, I just would have liked to have seen a bit more. One nice addition towards the end is that the author includes recipes to the cakes mentioned for the wedding, a nice addition, for sure. 3 stars. I received this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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  • Posted November 28, 2011

    honest portrayal of everyday life in the making.

    Reviewed by Karen P. for Readers Favorite

    In The Christmas Singing, author Cindy Woodsmall places an Amish woman named Mattie in Ohio. Three years prior to the setting of the book, Mattie and her childhood sweetheart, Gideon, broke off their long-term relationship. Mattie was convinced that Gideon preferred the fancy English women to her, and she has now struck a friendly relationship with Sol. He does little for her romantically, but Sol is good company, and Mattie and Sol have an understanding that they will someday marry. Then tragedy strikes. Mattie's beloved bakery burns, and she is left without a profession that consumed all her waking hours.

    Mattie then travels back home to Pennsylvania to be with her sick mother, and she inadvertently comes into contact with Gideon, a situation which has them both anxious and on edge. Mattie sets about making wedding cakes for two friends, and this necessitates even greater contact with Gideon, a man who appears to hold many secrets. Anger, disappointment and a sense of betrayal all prevent Mattie from seeing and accepting the truth about Gideon, and she flees back to a loveless life with Sol. But, the story does not end there.

    Those who like the writing of other Amish writers will be captivated with Cindy Woodsmall's stories. The stories are a simple and honest portrayal of the interpersonal issues which present in everyday life to people of any religion and any culture. There is no violence, no aggression, no hostility; there is only the honest portrayal of everyday life in the making.

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  • Posted November 22, 2011

    An Amish Christmas

    Cindy Woodsmall takes us back to the heart of Amish Country in her latest book "The Christmas Singing." Mattie Eash and Gideon Beiler are childhood friends but an unexpected illness makes Gideon decide to break off his relationship with Mattie. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves to Ohio to make her dream come true of owning her own shop as a cake decorator. In the process she finds a new beau but she can not get Gideon out of her thoughts. Then, disaster strikes her shop and forces her to return back to her home in Pennsylvania and face Gideon. In this Christmas story love and truth win out.
    The characters from Woodsmall's previous Christmas tale, "The Sound of Sleigh Bells" are woven through out the book. So it's nice to meet them again and catch up on what has been happening A quick read to help put you in the Christmas spirit.
    I received this book free to review from Multnomah publishing.

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  • Posted November 21, 2011

    A great Christmas Read!!

    From the back of the Book:
    After Gideon Coldly broke her heart, can the warmth of the season revive Mattie's hopes? Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Three years later, will learning the truth behind his rejection restore her Christmas joy- or open the door to even deeper heartbreak? Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache, and restoration.

    My Thoughts:
    This book is by the same author as The Harvest of Grace, and I must say I am falling in love with this author. She has a way of bring her characters to life. Even though her Characters from the Amish Country are from a very different walk of life then me I relate to them. With her writing style I feel the characters joys as well as they struggle. This book is that way I fell in love with Mattie and longed to see her make the choices that would make her happy. Do you ever try to tell a character what to do as you read a book, knowing you see the big picture and they don't? I did this in this book I wanted to tell Mattie exactly what to do to live the happily ever after life. I will not tell you if she listened to me or not by the end of the story!!

    This book was a quick easy read. I read it in one night. I think part of this is due to the size of the book, but also it is a book you don't want to put down. I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars a good winter read!

    I was provided a free copy of this book from Water Brook Press for review purposes the opinions in this review are mine alone and are not influenced by the company.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The Christmas Singing

    Mattie Eash and Gideon Beiler grew up in Apple Ridge Pa together,becoming best friends and later sweethearts that became engaged, but when Gideon broke off the engagement on Christmas Eve, Mattie was heartbroken. She decides to move to Ohio to live with her brother and open a bakery. Mattie moved on with her life, opened her bakery and found a new beau, but when unforeseen circumstances force Mattie to head back to Apple Ridge she has to confront the hurt from her past. Can she finally put the past behind her once and for all, and how will she handle the truth of why Gideon broke the engagement?

    While this book was a very quick read at only 189 pages the author gives the reader a fantastic story with well drawn characters and plenty of details to bring the story to life. I thought each character seemed very realistic, and while Mattie was Amish she wasn't your typical Amish lead. She was a outspoken, and often a bit klutzy, but things normally worked out. It was nice to see that she moved on with her life instead of wallowing and deciding she would never love again. Gideon hid the reason for the breakup not only from Mattie but the others in his community as well, and since he had been baptized the secret must stay hidden. There are plenty of inspirational lessons to be taken from this one. While this is Christmas themed book I really think it could be read year round. The dessert recipes included were a great bonus.
    Cindy Woodsmall is an author who always delivers a great Amish story and this one isn't any different. A must read for fans of Amish fiction or anyone wanting to get into the holiday mood.

    A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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