The Hope of Refuge (Ada's House Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes ...
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The Hope of Refuge (Ada's House Series #1)

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Overview

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Hope of Refuge

“What a beautiful story of hope and renewal! Cindy Woodsmall’s The Hope of Refuge is an honest and moving portrayal that rings with authenticity. It warmed my heart long after I finished reading and reminded me that new beginnings are possible, truth frees, and love can make all things new, if only we can learn to trust again.”  
–Marlo Schalesky, award-winning author of If Tomorrow Never Comes and Beyond the Night

“Cindy Woodsmall’s The Hope of Refuge takes the reader on an emotional journey into the heart of Amish country and the heart of a very human heroine. A compelling novel of love lost and found with realistic characters from two very different worlds which become, beautifully, one.”
–Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Down


Praise for Cindy Woodsmall

“A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall’s authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended.”
–Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy and White Picket Fences

“Cindy Woodsmall writes real--real people, real conflicts, real emotions. When you open her book, you enter her world and live the story with the characters.”
–Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of Where Willows Grow and Waiting for Summer’s Return

“Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story…. She paints a vivid backdrop of Amish and Mennonite cultures with fascinating detail and memorable clarity. Fans of this genre will be thrilled to discover this new author.”
–Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Rekindled

“Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul.”
–Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

“What a vibrant, strong, emotional story!”
–Gayle Roper, author of Allah’s Fire and the Seaside Seasons series

“Cindy Woodsmall’ s characters wrapped themselves around my heart and wouldn’t let go.”
–Deborah Raney, author of A Vow to Cherish and Remember to Forget

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307458346
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/11/2009
  • Series: Ada's House Series , #1
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 42,654
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall a New York Times best selling author of the Sisters of the Quilt series including the books When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and one daughter-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty years.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Pr o l o g u e
Mama, can you tell me yet?” Cara held her favorite toy, stroking the small plastic horse as if it might respond to her tender touch. The brown ridges, designed to look like fur, had long ago faded to tan.

Mama held the well-worn steering wheel in silence while she drove dirt roads Cara had never seen before. Dust flew in through the open windows and clung to Cara’s sweaty face, and the vinyl seat was hot to the touch when she laid her hand against it. Mama pressed the brake pedal, slowing the car to a near stop as they crossed another bridge with a roof over it. A covered bridge, Mama called it. The bumpiness of the wooden planks jarred Cara, making her bounce like she was riding a cardboard box down a set of stairs.

Mama reached across the car seat and ran her hand down the back of Cara’s head, probably trying to smooth out one of her cowlicks. No matter how short Mama cut her hair, she always said the unruly mop won the battle. “We’re going to visit a…a friend of mine. She’s Amish.”

She placed her index finger on her lips. “I need you to do as the mother of Jesus did when it came to precious events. She treasured them in her heart and pondered them. You’ve grown so much since you turned eight, and you’re a big girl, but you can’t draw pictures or write words about it in your diary, and you can’t ever tell your father, okay?”

Sunlight bore down on them again as they drove out of the covered bridge. Cara searched the fields for horses. “Are we going to your hiding place?”

Cara had a hiding place, one her mother had built for her inside the wall of the attic.They had tea parties in there sometimes when there was money for tea bags and sugar. And when Daddy needed quiet, her mother would silently whisk her to that secret room. If her mama didn’t return for her by nightfall, she’d sleep in there.

Mama nodded. “I told you every girl needs a fun place she can get away to for a while, right?”

Cara nodded.

“Well, this is mine. We’ll stay for a couple of days, and if you like it, maybe we’ll move here one day—just us girls.”

Cara wondered if Mama was so tired of the bill collectors hounding her and Daddy that she was thinking of sneaking away and not even telling him where she was going. The familiar feeling returned—that feeling of her insides being Jell-O on a whirlybird ride. She clutched her toy horse even tighter and looked out the window, imagining herself on a stallion galloping into a world where food was free and her parents were happy.

After they topped another hill, her mother slowed the vehicle and pulled into a driveway. Mama turned off the car. “Look at this place, Cara. That old white clapboard house has looked the same since I used to come here with my mama.”

The shutters hung crooked and didn’t have much paint left on them. “It’s really small, and the shutters make it look like ghosts live here.”

Her mama laughed. “It’s called a Daadi Haus, which means it’s just for grandparents once their children are grown. They only need a small kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. This one has been here for many years.
You’re right—the shutters do make it look dilapidated. Come on.”

Seconds after Cara pushed the passenger door shut, an old woman stepped out from between tall rows of corn. She stared at them as if they were aliens, and Cara wondered if her mama really did know these people.
The woman wore a long burgundy dress and no shoes. The wrinkles covering her face looked like a roadmap. The lines took on new twists as she frowned. Though it was July and too hot for a toboggan cap, she had on a black one anyway.

“Grossmammi Levina, Ich bin kumme bsuche. Ich hab aa die Cara mitgebrocht.”

Startled, Cara looked up at her mama.What language did she just speak? Mama wasn’t even good at pig Latin.

The old woman released her apron, and several ears of corn fell to the ground. She hurried up to Mama. “Yvonne?”

Tears brimmed in Mama’s eyes, and she nodded. The older woman squealed, long and loud, before she hugged Mama.

A lanky boy came running from the rows. “Levina, was iss letz?” He stopped short, watching the two women for a moment before looking at Cara.

As he studied her, she wondered if she looked as odd to him as he did to her. She hadn’t seen a boy in long black pants since winter ended, and she’d never seen one wear suspenders and a straw hat.Why would he work a garden in a Sunday dress shirt?

He snatched up the ears of corn the woman had dropped, walked to a wooden wheelbarrow, and dumped them. Cara picked up the rest of the ears and followed him. “You got a name?”

“Ephraim.”

“I can be lots of help if you’ll let me.”

“Ya ever picked corn before?”

Cara shook her head. “No, but I can learn.”

He just stood there, watching her.

She held out her horse to him. “Isn’t she a beauty?”

He shrugged. “Looks a little worn to me.”

Cara slid the horse into her pocket.

Ephraim frowned. “Can I ask you a question?”

She nodded.

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

The question didn’t bother her. She got it all the time at school from new teachers or ones who didn’t have her in their classes. They referred to her as a young man until they realized she wasn’t a boy. She’d learned to make it work for her, like the time she slipped right past the teacher who was the lavatory monitor and went into the boys’ bathroom to teach JakeMerrow a lesson about stealing her milk money. She got her money back, and he never told a soul that a girl gave him a fat lip. “If I say I’m a boy, will ya let me help pick corn?”

Ephraim laughed in a friendly way. “You know, I once had a worn horse like the one you showed me. I kept him in my pocket too, until I lost him.”

Cara shoved the horse deeper into her pocket. “You lost him?”

He nodded. “Probably down by the creek where I was fishing. Do you fish?”

She shook her head. “I’ve never seen a creek.”

“Never seen one? Where are you from?”

“New York City. My mama had to borrow a car for us to get beyond where the subway ends.”

“Well, if you’re here when the workday is done, I’ll show you the creek. We got a rope swing, and if your mama will let you, you can swing out and drop into the deep part. How long are you here for?”

She looked around the place. Her mama and the old woman were sitting under a shade tree, holding hands and talking. Across the road was a barn, and she could see a horse inside it. Green fields went clear to the horizon. She took a deep breath. The air smelled delicious, like dirt, but not city dirt. Like growing-food dirt.Maybe this was where her horse took her when she dreamed. The cornstalks reached for the sky, and her chest felt like little shoes were tap-dancing inside it. She should have known that if her mama liked something, it was worth liking.

“A couple of days, I think.”

Ch a p t e r 1
Twenty years later

Sunlight streamed through the bar’s dirty windows as the lunch crowd filled the place. Cara set two bottles of beer on the table in front of the familiar faces. The regulars knew the rules: all alcoholic drinks were paid for upon delivery.One of the men held a five-dollar bill toward her but kept his eyes on the television. The other took a long drink while he slid a hundred-dollar bill across the table.

She stared at the money, her heart pounding with desire.Mac kept most of the tip money the waitresses earned, and she’d never been given anything larger than a twenty in her life. The money the customer slid across the table wasn’t just cash but power. It held the ability to fix Lori something besides boiled potatoes for every meal next week.

Would he even notice if I short changed him from such a large amount?

Lines of honesty became blurry as the fight to remain hidden stole everything but mere existence. And her daughter.

Cara loathed that she couldn’t apply for government help and that she had to uproot every few months to stay a few steps ahead of a maniac. Moving always cost money. Fresh security deposits on ever increasing rent. Working time lost as she searched for another job— each one more pathetic than the one before it. “I’ll get your change.”

All of it. She took the money.

“Cara.” Mac’s gruff voice sailed across the room. From behind the bar, he motioned for her. “Phone!” He shook the receiver at her. “Kendal says it’s an emergency.”

Every sound echoing inside the wood-and-glass room ceased. She hurried toward him, snaking around tables filled with people.

“Keep it short.”Mac passed the phone to her and returned to serving customers.

“Kendal, what’s wrong?”

“He found us.” Her friend’s usually icy voice shook, and Cara knew that she was more frightened than she’d been the other times.

How could he after all they’d done to hide? “We got a letter at our new place?”

“No.Worse.” Kendal’s voice quaked. “He was here. Broke the lock and came inside looking for you. He ransacked the place.”

“He what?”

“He’s getting bolder, Cara.”

“We have to call the police.”

“You know we can’t…” Kendal dropped the sentence, and Cara heard her crying.

One of the waitresses plunked a tray of dirty dishes onto the counter. “Get off the phone, princess.”

Cara plugged her index finger into her ear, trying desperately to think. “Where’s Lori?”

“I’m sure they moved her to after-school care.” Through the phone line, Cara heard a car door slam. They didn’t own a car.

A male voice asked, “Where to?”

Cara gripped the phone tighter. “What’s going on?”

Kendal sobbed. “I’m sorry. I can’t take this anymore. All we do is live in fear and keep moving. He’s…he’s not after me.”

“You know he’s trying to isolate me from everyone. Please, Kendal.”

“I…I’m sorry. I can’t help you anymore,” Kendal whispered. “The cab’s waiting.”

Disbelief settled over her. “How long ago did he break in?”

From behind Cara, a shadow fell across the bar, engulfing her. “Hi, Care Bear.”

She froze. Watching the silhouette, she noted how tiny she was in comparison.

Mike’s thick hand and wrist thudded a book onto the bar beside her. She watched him remove his hand, revealing her diary. “You left me no choice about busting into your place. I was looking for answers about why you keep running off.”

She swallowed a wave of fear and faced him but couldn’t find her voice.

“Johnny’s dead. Now you’re here…with me. ” His massive body loomed over her. “I’d be willing to forget that you ever picked that loser. We could start fresh. Come on, beautiful, I can help you.”

Help me? The only person Mike wanted to help was himself—right into her bed.

“Please…leave me alone.”

Silence fell in the midst of the bar’s noise. Like fireworks shooting out in all directions, thoughts exploded in her mind. But before she could focus, they disappeared into the darkness, leaving only trails of smoke. Fear seemed to take on its own life form, one threatening to stalk her forever.

He tapped her diary. “I know it all now, even where you’d hide if you ran again—which is not happening, right?” The threatening tone in his voice was undeniable, and panic stole her next breath. “I know your daughter just as well as you do now.What happens if I show up one day after school with a puppy named Shamu?”

Cara’s legs gave way. Without any effort, he held her up by her elbow. After she’d spent years of hide-and-seek in hopes of protecting Lori, now he knew Lori’s name, her school, her likes and dislikes.

Shaking, he looked around for help. Various sizes and shapes of bottles filled the bar’s shelves. The television blared. Blank faces stared at it. The man who had given her the hundred-dollar bill glanced at her before turning to another waitress.

Apathy hung in the air, thicker than the cigarette smoke, reminding her that there was no help for people like her and Lori. On a good day there were distractions that made them forget for a few hours. Even as her mind whirled, life seemed to move in slow motion. She had no one.

“You know how I feel about you.” His voice softened to a possessive whisper, making her skin crawl. “Why do you gotta make this so tough?” Mike traced the long, jagged scar on the side of her neck. “My patience is gone, Care Bear.”

Where could she hide now? Somewhere she could afford that he wouldn’t know about and couldn’t track her to. A piece of a memory— washed in colorless fog—wavered before her like a sheet hung on the clothesline.

An apron. A head covering. An old woman. Rows of tall corn. He dug his fingers into her biceps. Pain shot through her, and the disjointed thoughts disappeared. “Don’t you dare leave again. I’ll find you. You know I can…every time.” His eyes reflected that familiar mixture of spitefulness and uncertainty as he willed her to do his bidding.

“I call the shots. Not you. Not dear old Johnny. Me.”

But maybe he didn’t. A tender sprig of hope took root. If she could latch onto that memory—if it was even real—she might find a place to go. Somewhere Mike couldn’t find her and she wouldn’t owe the Johnnys of the world her life in exchange for food and shelter. Doubts rippled through her, trying to dislodge her newfound hope. It was probably amovie she’d watched. Remembering any part of her life, anything true, before her mama died seemed as impossible as getting free of Mike. She’d only been eight when hermother was killed by a hit-andrun driver as she crossed a street. Things became so hard after that, anything before seemed like shadows and blurs.

As she begged for answers, faint scenes appeared before her. A kitchen table spread with fresh foods. A warmbreeze streaming through an unfamiliar window. Sheets flapping on a clothesline.Muffled laughter as a boy jumped into a creek.

Was it just a daydream? Or was it somewhere she’d once been, a place she couldn’t reach because she couldn’t remember?

Her heart raced. She had to find the answer.

Mike pulled the phone from her hand, a sneer overriding the insecurity he tried so hard to cover. “You’re more afraid of one thing than anything else. And I know what that is.” He flipped the diary open and tapped his huge finger on a photo of Lori. “If you don’t want nothing to cause the social workers to take her…” He eased the receiver into its cradle. “Think about it, Care Bear.” He strode out the door.

Cara slumped against the counter. No matter how hard she tried, he landed in the same place over and over again—in the clutches of a crazy man she knew from her days in foster care.

In spite of the absurdity of it, she longed for a cigarette. It would help her think and calm her nerves.

Clasped in her fist was the cash the two men had given for their drinks. She rubbed it between her fingers. If she slipped out the back door, no one at Mac’s would have a clue where she went. She could pick up Lori and disappear.

Will Cara find the missing pieces to her past? When she discovers the secret her mother took to her grave, will it separate her from those who could help her?

Ephraim comes to realize who the stranger is that hides in the shadows during the day and sleeps in Levina’s abandoned barn at night.When prejudices and fears cause the community to turn against Cara, will he risk losing every part of his Amish life to rescue her?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Introduction

1. As The Hope of Refuge begins, Cara is a child trying to piece together her reality with fragments of newly disclosed secrets from her mother’s past. Her childlike innocence makes it easy for her mother to control what Cara knows and doesn’t know. As a child there are many things that are perplexing, things the adults don’t choose to discuss, but you still have a sense there is a problem. What is something you remember trying to figure out as a child? Is keeping secrets from children helpful to them–or just convenient?


2. Cara is desperate to escape a man who’s been stalking her since her teen years in foster care. Her goal is to protect her daughter and to stay alive so Lori doesn’t succumb to the same trap Cara did, growing up without parents. Do you think Cara’s drastic decisions were justified or did her fears cause her to make poor choices? We all make decisions based on our experiences and understanding of life. How does a person separate their fears of the past with reality in order to make the wisest decision possible?

3. Deborah loves her father deeply, and when he becomes sick, she nearly falls apart. Her fiancé tells her: …there’s a difference between being concerned for someone and taking on all the anxiety of their what-ifs. Finding the balance between truly caring and being snagged by anxiety isn’t easy. What are some of the things you do– or think you should do–to help silence or release anxiety?

4. Ephraim remembers Cara well from their childhood. As an adult, he went to New York in hopes of locating her. But when she finds her way tohis community and her presence causes tension in his family, his interest dries up and his compassion wavers. Have you ever wanted to reconnect with someone from your past but were stopped by reservations, circumstances, or the opinions of others? Discuss your decision in that situation and if you believe it was the right one, and why it was or wasn’ t.

5. Even before her mother died and her father abandoned her, Cara had a difficult life. After those losses she was raised in foster care, which led her down a rough path. Normal and acceptable dress and speech for living and working in New York makes Cara look and sound deplorable and offensive in Amish country. Everyone has their own standards/values; some of those values may be etiquette, money, education, family-ties, or religious traditions. Do you find it easy or hard to accept the differences of those who were not raised with your values/standards? Have you found yourself judging people in your community by your standards?

6. When struggling with what to do about Cara, Ephraim believed God asked him to “be Me to her,” but Ephraim found that even harder than he expected. He also began to understand some aspects of God he’d never thought of before. What was Ephraim’s greatest struggle in God’s “be Me to her” request? Can you empathize with his challenges?

7. Mahlon is confused and torn about his life choices, and the only thing he knows for sure is he loves Deborah Mast. Do you think that kind of love might be enough to give him roots? Is that fair to Deborah– or will it hold her back?

8. Through Ephraim’s sacrifices and patience, Cara finally gets her feet under her for the first time in her life. Because of Ephraim’s inner character and faith, she begins to accept that God exists, but she has no faith in Him, only in Ephraim. Is there someone in your life who has no faith in God and you are their only understanding of Him? How do you handle that responsibility? Talk about the parts of life we sometimes place our faith in, inadvertently, instead of God.

9. After making a way for Cara to have every need met, Ephraim leaves, giving her complete freedom to decide who she is and who God is to her. Do you believe his decision was wise? Talk about a time when you gave someone freedom because you felt it was the right thing to do. How do you feel about that experience in hindsight?

10. Ada and Deborah suffer unexpected heartache and humiliation. They both discover surprising strength and hope in a woman, Cara, who is nothing like them. Is it possible to find inner strength and hope from someone who does not share your religious beliefs? What traits does Cara possess that are similar to Ada and Deborah?

11. Cara’s journey leads to some surprising revelations, one part being the knowledge that Ephraim possesses about her family but does not share with her. Could Ephraim have handled this differently? How do you think it would have affected Cara’s decisions —or the climate in the community– if he did?

12. In the novel, each of the characters plays a very different role– the outsider who doesn’t trust connecting with others, the insider who makes a risky choice and must face the consequences, the innocent who are caught in the turbulence of others’ decisions, and the wise support, who often serves as a peacemaker. Which of these roles do you identify most with? Would you prefer a more proactive or reactive role than the one you see yourself in?

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Reading Group Guide

1. As The Hope of Refuge begins, Cara is a child trying to piece together her reality with fragments of newly disclosed secrets from her mother’s past. Her childlike innocence makes it easy for her mother to control what Cara knows and doesn’t know. As a child there are many things that are perplexing, things the adults don’t choose to discuss, but you still have a sense there is a problem. What is something you remember trying to figure out as a child? Is keeping secrets from children helpful to them–or just convenient?

2. Cara is desperate to escape a man who’s been stalking her since her teen years in foster care. Her goal is to protect her daughter and to stay alive so Lori doesn’t succumb to the same trap Cara did, growing up without parents. Do you think Cara’s drastic decisions were justified or did her fears cause her to make poor choices? We all make decisions based on our experiences and understanding of life. How does a person separate their fears of the past with reality in order to make the wisest decision possible?

3. Deborah loves her father deeply, and when he becomes sick, she nearly falls apart. Her fiancé tells her: …there’s a difference between being concerned for someone and taking on all the anxiety of their what-ifs. Finding the balance between truly caring and being snagged by anxiety isn’t easy. What are some of the things you do– or think you should do–to help silence or release anxiety?

4. Ephraim remembers Cara well from their childhood. As an adult, he went to New York in hopes of locating her. But when she finds her way to his community and her presence causes tension in his family, his interest dries up and his compassion wavers. Have you ever wanted to reconnect with someone from your past but were stopped by reservations, circumstances, or the opinions of others? Discuss your decision in that situation and if you believe it was the right one, and why it was or wasn’ t.

5. Even before her mother died and her father abandoned her, Cara had a difficult life. After those losses she was raised in foster care, which led her down a rough path. Normal and acceptable dress and speech for living and working in New York makes Cara look and sound deplorable and offensive in Amish country. Everyone has their own standards/values; some of those values may be etiquette, money, education, family-ties, or religious traditions. Do you find it easy or hard to accept the differences of those who were not raised with your values/standards? Have you found yourself judging people in your community by your standards?

6. When struggling with what to do about Cara, Ephraim believed God asked him to “be Me to her,” but Ephraim found that even harder than he expected. He also began to understand some aspects of God he’d never thought of before. What was Ephraim’s greatest struggle in God’s “be Me to her” request? Can you empathize with his challenges?

7. Mahlon is confused and torn about his life choices, and the only thing he knows for sure is he loves Deborah Mast. Do you think that kind of love might be enough to give him roots? Is that fair to Deborah– or will it hold her back?

8. Through Ephraim’s sacrifices and patience, Cara finally gets her feet under her for the first time in her life. Because of Ephraim’s inner character and faith, she begins to accept that God exists, but she has no faith in Him, only in Ephraim. Is there someone in your life who has no faith in God and you are their only understanding of Him? How do you handle that responsibility? Talk about the parts of life we sometimes place our faith in, inadvertently, instead of God.

9. After making a way for Cara to have every need met, Ephraim leaves, giving her complete freedom to decide who she is and who God is to her. Do you believe his decision was wise? Talk about a time when you gave someone freedom because you felt it was the right thing to do. How do you feel about that experience in hindsight?

10. Ada and Deborah suffer unexpected heartache and humiliation. They both discover surprising strength and hope in a woman, Cara, who is nothing like them. Is it possible to find inner strength and hope from someone who does not share your religious beliefs? What traits does Cara possess that are similar to Ada and Deborah?

11. Cara’s journey leads to some surprising revelations, one part being the knowledge that Ephraim possesses about her family but does not share with her. Could Ephraim have handled this differently? How do you think it would have affected Cara’s decisions —or the climate in the community– if he did?

12. In the novel, each of the characters plays a very different role– the outsider who doesn’t trust connecting with others, the insider who makes a risky choice and must face the consequences, the innocent who are caught in the turbulence of others’ decisions, and the wise support, who often serves as a peacemaker. Which of these roles do you identify most with? Would you prefer a more proactive or reactive role than the one you see yourself in?

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Book!

    Cara felt like she had been on the run with her daughter forever. But now that Mike had found her again, and this time knew her daughter's name and school - she needed to really get lost. Unfortunately Cara had been "lost" her whole life. Her mother died when she was 8 and her father left her at a bus stop and told her to wait for someone named Emma Riehl who was going to come and get her. Emma never showed up and Cara ended up in foster care. It was while she was here that she met Mike. As a teenager she had tried to go to the police about him, but they did not believe her. She married when she was 17 to get protection from him. When her husband died a few years later, she was left to raise their daughter Lori alone. Mike soon found out and began to stalk her again.

    Discovering an address in a journal that her mother Malinda had kept, Cara sets out with Lori with little money and just the clothes on their backs. They are headed to Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, an Amish community. Cara has not been able to trust anyone for so long, that when she shows up in Dry Lake she hides out in a barn with her daughter. She feels as if she knows this place though, but doesn't know how or why. They attend a local auction with the hopes of finding some food when Cara hears the name Emma Riehl again. She knows she must get some answers, but doesn't know what she is going to do for food and shelter in the meantime.

    Her stay in the barn does not last long as a local has called the police. They claim they have seen a drunken thief in the area and that she appears to be living in this barn. Before the police can take her away, Ephraim steps in and tells them that she and her daughter can stay with him. He is not quite sure why he has done this, as it will cause problems in the community. Especially if she is who he thinks she is - the daughter of Malinda Riehl, who was banished from the community many years before and left much hurt in her wake. He remembers playing with her for a week when he was a child and has never forgotten her.

    Cara's presence in Ephraim's household does indeed cause problems. He is shunned, more severely than normal. This means he is not allowed to speak to any other Amish person, nor sit with them at a table, nor take something from their hands or hand them something. He has also been banished from working at his cabinetry business. In spite of all this, he hears "Be Me to her" when he is having his greatest doubts and feels deep inside that he is doing the right thing. He has no clue how all this will end though.

    My thoughts: This was really my first "Amish" book - and I know there are a lot out there right now! I really enjoyed it though, and it gave me a look into a world that I did not know anything about. On one hand, I don't know how people live without electricity, cars, TV, etc - but on the other hand life would be so simple! I am not sure that I would be happy like that forever though. I believe in the same God that they believe in, but I am not sure that if you are not born Amish that his would be a society that you would ever truly belong to. This says it is an Ada House novel, so I am hoping that there are more to come. There were a lot of background characters - Deborah (Ephraim's sister), Mahlon (Deborah's fiance), Ada (Mahlon's mom) and Anna Mary (Ephraim's girlfriend) that I would like to learn more about. I have a feeling that there will be some good stories there!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    The author write exceedingly well. I was drawn into the story wi

    The author write exceedingly well. I was drawn into the story within the first 12 pages. Just as I was predicting the outcome of a chapter the book took a turn I was hooked into reading more. I had a hard time putting my nook down...only to recharge. although the character of Cara was unusual for Amish fiction, it worked in well with the story line and scripture from 2Corinthians, chapter 1 verse 3-4...that WE may be able to comfort others because God has comforted us. Cara is able to comfort Deborah and Ada for their loss because of her losses. I can't wait to read the next in the Ada hose series

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Is There Hope of Refuge?

    Cindy Woodsmall has the unique ability to quickly grab your attention, emotions, and curiosity to whisk you into a wondrous world of her making. This is not your typical Amish story. Her main character Cara is a hard working waitress, a single mom who addicted to cigarettes and always looking over her shoulder to flee from a violent stalker. Cara does her best to survive in New York and care for her young daughter Lori, who is her world.

    What I love about Cindy's books is the fact that she talks about universal truths and lies some believe- things that we all struggle with from time to time-such as feeling abandoned, or a desperate need to be loved and be a part of a community so we can live our life to the fullest. Cara wants answers about her past so that she can figure out which path to take in the future.

    Cindy has an uncanny way of letting you feel like you're a fly on the wall and sensing that nothings being altered because you're hanging around! She allows you to capture every detail of the drama unfolding in her story, up-close and personal. Ada, an Amish woman, says to Cara (who can't figure out why anyone would want to be Amish), "We all submit to something. Athletes submit to the rules of their game. Lawyers and judges submit to the laws. The highest court in the land submits to the Constitution..The Amish choose to submit to the Ordnung in order to be strong against desires that want no boundaries."

    Cindy lifts the veil and allows you to peak into the Amish way of life. The Hope of Refuge is the beginning of an amazing tale, with believable characters you'd like to meet. I can't wait to sit down to read Cindy's next book, and find out where these special characters end up. The author leaves you with a satisfying ending and a desire to know what happens next. Thanks, Cindy for taking us on another exciting adventure in and out of the Amish community.

    Finding Hope Through Fiction
    www.psalm516.blogspot.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    Forest area 2

    Forms the middle ring between the outer forest and inner forest. Trees here are less dense, but also taller. Has a river that curves to make an o shaped ring that stays completely inside this section of the forest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    Wonderful Story

    Great writing, great story. I enjoyed this book so much that when I sat down after dinner I read the complete book. Very much looking forward to book 2 and 3. Love this author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    terriffic book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Repetitive and a bit unrealistic, but enjoyable and long.

    This book was kind of a split down the middle for me between loving it and hating it. Like my title said, it was repetitive with Cara getting scared and hiding her feelings, Ephriam pulling her feelings back into the light, Ephriam getting into trouble for pulling out her feelings, and then he doesn't tell Cara he's in trouble, so when she finds out she hides her feelings again. It just kept going in a loop for me. And l don't believe Cara would ever get along living Aimsh so it seems highly unrealistic. Th story is enjoyable, however, and l really do feel like l know the characters. It's also very long, which makes it worth the mon.ey for me. Overall, l recommend it, but l have to give it three stars just because l wasn't completely loving it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Last week while visiting the Amish country in Lancaster, PA, I p

    Last week while visiting the Amish country in Lancaster, PA, I purchased this book. I enjoyed every page, and am anxious to get the next ones in the Ada's House series. This is the fourth book that I've read of Cindy Woodsmall's - everyone of them as enjoyable as the one prior. Ms. Woodsmall brings the characters to life, and you feel as though you know each of them personally. I hated for it to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    The Hope of Refuge (Ada's House Series #1)

    Great and easy read. I didn't want to put it down.

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  • Posted December 16, 2011

    Highly recommended - Thoroughly enjoyable and engaging.

    "House of Refuge" is an excellent and engaging work. Cindy Woodsmall does a marvelous job with both characterization and plot development. I place this book and those that follow in the Series "Ada's House" among the best I've read of Amish fiction. I found myself caught up with all major characters and eager to see the story unfold. Hated to see the book end and was eager to read the second book in the series. Woodamall rivals Beverly Lewis in this series.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    Very Good

    I really enjoyed this book and also Book 2 of the series. I did not want to put them down. Starting Book 3 today.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    OUTSTANDING

    This book kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, Written beautifully, this is 1 of 3 books, I have the other 2 books sitting on my shelp, this one I got for my Nook... GReat reading and highly reccomended for all to enjoy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2011

    great

    hearfelt i couldnt put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    WONDERFUL STORY

    This is a wonderful book.It captured my interest from the first page and has kept me on edge thoughout the entire book. Great story, great characters. This would make a wonderful movie. I love all of Woodsmall's books - great writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Ada House series

    Very Good, can't wait for the next book.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A True Look at Modern Amish Life.

    It took me a little while to get all the characters straight with this one. There were so many being introduced in the beginning that I started to get a little confused. Once I got a few chapters in things all started to fall into place and I was able to keep track of who was who.

    The dialogue in this book was very easy to follow (for some reason I get lost easily in dialogue). I didn't have to keep going back and re-reading to try and figure out who was saying what. I REALLY liked that.

    The story was pretty decent. It didn't blow me away but it was still pretty good. There were parts that were a little suspenseful, and there were some really touching parts. It had a little bit of everything.

    What I liked most about this was that it was a look into how modern Amish people live. Even though they stay true to their beliefs modern culture does leave its mark on the Amish. I'm glad this book showed that. In the past books that I've read about the Amish are very biased and stereotypical. I liked that the author was able to use her real-life connections to give a true glimpse into Amish life.

    This one was a pretty quick read. Although it didn't draw me in and keep me totally captivated the writing was well done and I didn't have to labor to finish it.

    It was a decent book, not something I loved but I definitely liked it.

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  • Posted August 7, 2009

    First in Ada's House series rates above and beyond most Amish lit

    The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall is the first book in the Ada's House series about the Amish community of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania. Cara Moore is on the run with her daughter Lori from New York City and the stalker who has haunted her life for years. With fragments of a memory from her childhood and an address in her mother's diary, she makes her way to an Amish community hoping that she will find safety and a chance to start over with her little girl. Instead she stumbles into secrets and wounds forty years old with only Ephraim Mast willing to stand up for her at the expense of his position within the community and his family. I thoroughly enjoyed this Amish lit novel because it refuses to be cliched. The Amish, well-known for their forgiveness, are not portrayed as flawless, but as real humans struggling with the consequences of living in a strictly structured society. While much of the story revolves around Cara and Ephraim, Deborah,Mahlon , and Ada are also introduced adding rich texture to this novel and building a foundation for future books in the series. I will definitely be looking forward to the next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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