A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace

A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace

by Cindy Woodsmall

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Overview

A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace by Cindy Woodsmall

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?
 
At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.
 
Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.
 
As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God's guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307730008
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/09/2014
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 798,046
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written over a dozen works of fiction and one of nonfiction book. Her connection with the Amish community has been widely featured in national media outlets. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Rosanna peered out the kitchen window, trying to see through the sheets of rain. What was taking her husband so long? Had the wheels of his rig gotten buried in mud somewhere? After days of hard rain, the ground was saturated. Or was her very social husband simply visiting with his brother, thinking he had more than enough time to get Rosanna to Viola Mae’s house?

Rosanna glanced at the clock. Viola Mae had called two hours ago, thinking her labor may have begun. Perhaps it had, but from her experience as a midwife, Rosanna was pretty sure Viola Mae’s first child would take all night and perhaps half of tomorrow before entering this world. And that was if Viola was actually in labor.

Nevertheless, the young mom-to-be had to be seen tonight. Rosanna drove herself when the weather was good or even half-decent, but her easygoing, supportive husband insisted on driving her whenever there was snow, fog, or heavy rains. If Rosanna’s examination indicated Viola Mae was in labor, Rosanna would stay the night, and her husband would return home.

She wished, and not for the first time, that the Amish in Winter Valley weren’t so cut off from the rest of the world. The serenity of living in northwestern Pennsylvania couldn’t be beat, but there wasn’t a clinic or doctor in the valley, and after her Mamm passed away, Rosanna was the only midwife in the region. When at twenty years old Rosanna had given birth to her first child, her own Mamm had delivered the baby girl, declaring the little one would also become a midwife. That was nineteen years ago, and Jolene was many wonderful things, but a midwife was not one of them.

A thud pulled Rosanna’s attention to the happenings in the room. A book had fallen from the kitchen table. Her three schoolage children were sitting around one end of the kitchen table, homework spread out in front of them as Jolene helped. Four-year-old Hope sat at the table with them, but she wasn’t in school yet. She liked homework hour, though, and Jolene had her close to reading and writing already. But the child who required the most help was Ray. After his near-fatal accident three years ago, no one had believed he’d be able to attend school at all—no one except Jolene. Rosanna’s chest tightened with anxiety when she considered how difficult an adjustment Ray would have when Jolene moved out of state.

The light aroma of cooked celery hung in the air. Dozens of jars of freshly canned goods filled half the kitchen table. She and Jolene had made good use of the last three days of rain, finally catching up on their canning of September’s produce, especially the overabundance of celery for Jolene’s wedding. They’d planted more potatoes than ever before just for the wedding feast, but they didn’t need to can those. Her eldest child, the one Rosanna couldn’t get through a day without, would marry and leave the state in a few weeks. Was Rosanna doing a decent job of hiding the grief she felt? As for her daughter, she was so excited to embrace her future she could hardly sleep.

Where had all the days gone between giving birth to her and giving her away to be wed?

Jolene glanced up from the mounds of papers and looked out the kitchen window. “Is that his rig coming down the road?”

Rosanna couldn’t tell, not yet. But she did notice her lone and beloved dogwood, the one her husband had given her as a wedding present. Most of its red leaves had been beaten from the branches, and it’d been looking rather puny the last few years. Would its roots survive such a drenching? At the end of last winter, she and Jolene had cut a few shoots from the tree, hoping to grow new trees before this one died. They should’ve started that years ago when the dogwood was still healthy.

“It’s Daed.” Jolene recognized his rig before Rosanna.

She didn’t have to ask Jolene to finish helping with homework or to get supper on the table. If Viola Mae wasn’t in labor and Rosanna returned home in a couple of hours, the kitchen sinks and counters would be spotless. Maybe the floors too if Jolene and her siblings got into another soapsuds battle. They loved those, and the upside was that the floors had to be mopped dry when they were through.

But on the nights when their Daed wasn’t home by eight, Jolene would put her sixteen-year-old brother in charge, and she’d retreat to the phone shanty to talk with Van Beiler for hours. Jolene’s loyalty to her brothers and sisters had a clearly marked line when it came to Van. Once he was home from work or arrived for a date or visit, he came first. Rosanna supposed that was how it should be, especially since Jolene was mere weeks away from her wedding. And when he’d said he thought the best place for them to live was in Ohio near his parents, Jolene hadn’t hesitated for a second. She’d said that as long as he was by her side, she could live anywhere and survive anything. Later Jolene told Rosanna that Van wanted to move there to support Jolene’s desire to do artwork. Painting and drawing scenery and animals and people weren’t considered idolatry by the bishop in that district. Van was perfect for Jolene, but did he have to take her to Ohio?

Rosanna bit back her tears. Was it this hard for every mom whose child moved far away? She tried to focus on the bright side of today. “Despite the rain it will feel good to get out. Except for church the Sunday before last, I haven’t been off this farm in weeks.”

Jolene picked a pencil off the floor. “If you feel cooped up, you should’ve gone out with Van and me the other night like we asked.”

Rosanna clicked her tongue at the absurdity of that idea—her on a date with them. It was ridiculous, but the invite had tempted her and made her feel loved.

Van would make a wonderful son-in-law. He was thoughtful and kind, and he and Jolene were so good together. Rosanna had absolutely no doubt they’d make a strong family unit. Van was older than Jolene, and she had been in love with him since he’d moved here to work in his uncle’s blacksmith shop when she was fifteen. But Van hadn’t noticed her until two years ago. To hear him tell it, he wasn’t interested in finding somebody. A girlfriend came with too many responsibilities for his liking, especially since he was still a teen. Then one day he’d barreled out of his uncle’s blacksmith shop hurrying to grab lunch at the nearby bakery, and he saw Jolene trying to open the door to the bakery while balancing a basket of pastries. He said she’d owned his every thought since.

Rosanna had never seen a man as much in love as Van was, so she couldn’t begrudge him for taking Jolene to live elsewhere. Since Jolene had never really been allowed to paint, maybe she’d give it a try and decide it wasn’t that important to her after all, and then she and Van would move back.

A mother could only hope.

The door banged open, and her husband walked in carrying a large package. His blue eyes held the same zest for life she’d fallen in love with more than twenty years ago.

She put her hands on her hips. “Benny Keim, what have you done this time?”

He grinned. “A surprise for Jolene. But first”—he held up the gold, shiny box—“cookies.”

“Benny.” Rosanna frowned. “Not before supper.”

He walked over to her. “But I need to distract them.” He raised his eyebrows up and down. What did he have up his sleeve?

“Fine.”

He kissed Rosanna’s forehead, and then he pointed at Jolene. “You stay put.”

Jolene grinned and pointed at the floor. “Won’t budge.” But she looked quizzically at her mom, and Rosanna shrugged, feeling a tingle of excitement.

Her husband set the box on top of the homework papers and opened it. “Only two cookies for each of you until after supper.”

Benny returned to Jolene and unbuttoned his coat, revealing a brown paper package about the size of a flat shoebox pressed against his chest. He held it out to her. “It’s not for anyone to see except you.”

Jolene kept her back to her siblings and opened it. Before Rosanna could see what it was, her daughter’s eyes filled with tears, and she engulfed her dad. “Denki,” she whispered.

Rosanna’s heart sang, but she hid all joy from her tone. “Well, let’s see what he’s done this time.”

Jolene released him and let Rosanna peer over the brown paper. Paintbrushes. While she was hoping her daughter wouldn’t like to paint and would talk Van into returning here to live, Rosanna’s husband was encouraging her to paint. “I can’t believe you.”

Benny put an arm around her shoulders. “She’s been obedient all these years, Rosie. We couldn’t have asked for a better daughter. Let her enjoy the gift.”

He was right, but it was so hard to let Jolene move that far away. He released Rosanna and touched the paintbrush with the longest bristles. “When I ordered them, the lady on the phone said they’re the very best.”

Jolene shook her head. “No, they aren’t.” She hugged him again, tears trickling down her cheeks. “You’re the best.”

Benny grinned, his face red from the fuss Jolene was making over him. “Well, we’d better go before Viola Mae’s husband passes out from panicking.”

Rosanna opened her special kitchen drawer, lifted the false bottom, and waited as Jolene put the contraband next to a few forbidden photos of the family. Jolene’s radiant smile warmed Rosanna’s heart. This time next month Jolene would be married and finally living under a bishop who would allow her to discover if she had a gift for creating artwork. That thought would bring Rosanna a lot of comfort when she desperately missed her daughter.

She put on her coat, and before long she and her husband were in the buggy, lumbering toward the next town. It’d be nice if she weren’t the only midwife in this area who could help deliver babies. Maybe one of Rosanna’s other daughters would enjoy such fulfilling work. Torrents of rain fell from the sky, and she was grateful her husband drove her in foul weather and never complained that birthing babies was an interruption to their home life.

Memories of yesteryear filled Rosanna’s heart. When Jolene was little, they’d played dolls, snuggled while reading, attended church, and caught fireflies. By the time she was three, they began to welcome new babies, tend the garden, and end the day playing simple board games. As she grew, they sang while canning goods for winter, sewing clothes for the little ones, and washing mountains of diapers. Jolene’s childhood days had rolled in and out day after day.

As much as Rosanna tried, she had never learned how to grab hold of even one day and make it stand still. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, Jolene’s school days were behind her, and at fourteen she began to work for the local bakery. Not long after that she’d shared her greatest secret just with Rosanna—her dream of one day marrying Van, if only he’d notice her. He’d moved to their district at seventeen years old to apprentice under his uncle, and all the teen girls had their eyes on him. Especially Donna Glick, Jolene’s most ardent competitor since they were schoolgirls.

The rig wobbled hard, and she was pulled from her yesterdays, feeling sudden concern for today. The rains fell harder the farther they went. Could her husband see the lines on the road? She couldn’t.

Benny gripped the reins tightly. “We have to turn back.” The alarm on his face assured her there were worse things than letting a new mom deliver a child without a midwife.

She nodded.

But before he could turn the rig around, something hit one of the wheels, and the rig jolted hard and then seemed to float several feet.

What was happening? Rosanna’s head spun, and nothing seemed to make sense. Why was Benny pulling back on the reins but the rig continued to move?

Their carriage struck a yellow sign with the symbol for a river, and the rig floated right past it. “We’re in the river!” Her husband’s scream pierced her heart.

The rig tipped, and water rushed inside. Benny’s strong hands pulled her out.

The world became a blur of muddy snapshots. Branches of trees overhead. Debris floating downstream with her. Gray raindrops hiding the sky.

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A Love Undone: An Amish Novel of Shattered Dreams and God's Unfailing Grace 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
RGNHALL More than 1 year ago
 This one is sad.  I felt deep sadness for Jolene and Andy.   I also felt extreme sadness for Jolene's brother, Ray.  Jolene has to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders....raising all her younger siblings when both her parents are killed in a tragic drowning.   Andy's wife left him and his young son,Tobias.  It seems to me that he and Tobias are punished for that.  Will Jolene and Andy ever find a love ?  How can that with him still being married to Eva?  Jolene seems to do it all with a heart of thanksgiving and gratefulness.   I don't know how she does it.  I don't think I could be that gracious under the same circumstances.  I won't reveal too much as I would never want to spoil a wonderful book for readers, but this book will draw you in and tug on your heartstrings.  I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to readers.  Horse lovers will also find a great deal of interest in this book, as Andy and Jolene help to save many horses that have been rescued by the Humane Society.    I received a pdf and print version of this book from the publishers and bloggingforbooks. 
wfnren More than 1 year ago
A beautiful love story, Cindy did a wonderful job on this book.  --   It's been a while since I've read one of Cindy's books and how I have missed them! This was one wonderful love story about two very strong people. They were strong in their faith, strong in staying true to their family and the Amish beliefs, and willing to sacrifice themselves to do what was right in the eyes of their church elders and community. I would very highly recommend this book as a fantastic book. I was given a copy of this book by Blogging For Books in return for an honest review. This is my honest opinion and recommendation of this book.
Shay14 More than 1 year ago
Cindy Woodsmall has a way of taking an ordinary Amish story and turning it into an extraordinary one. I devoured all 336 pages of this book. As I began to delve into the story, I immediately knew this wasn't going to be a typical Amish book. I highly enjoy learning more about the Amish faith and their day to day lives, but it can be a little redundant at times. It's refreshing to read a story that doesn't follow the typical "mold."  I really enjoyed getting to know Jolene and her family. The obstacles she had to overcome were every bit as daunting as the author made them out to be, and I could feel Jolene's struggles right along with her. Ray added a different element to the story, offering insight from someone who Jolene had worked her best on, but couldn't quite let go of. I'll admit, I didn't quite like Andy when we first meet him in the story. I think the author did this on purpose, though, because as the story progresses, I fall in love with him just like Jo does.  Both Andy and Jolene, and in some ways Ray, have a lot to overcome in this story.  Though Jolene is content and works her best to please God and follow His word, there are parts of herself she keeps hidden and struggles with fear, doubt, and anger. Andy accepts his position in life, until he meets Jo. Then he struggles to again overcome the reality of his situation. The imagery of the Dogwood blooming year round was beautiful in that it reminds the characters the God is there for them, watching over them, no matter what. His ways are perfect and flawless, and in time we will hopefully come to accept, and maybe understand them. Overall, I highly recommend this story of "shattered dreams", of "love undone", and "God's unfailing grace." *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.*
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
As always Cindy Woodsmall delivers.  This was well written and I loved the characters.  There were a few characters that I didn't't like but that was because you were not supposed to like them.  This was a sad book for a lot of the time because you are not sure if this will end as happy as you want it to but it is well done.  Don't want to spoil anything.  I received this book through the blogging for books for a fair and honest opinion.  I hope she has another one in Apple Ridge again.
AngelaQ More than 1 year ago
The sacrifices that Jo and Andy made for their love and the love was their family was enlightening. Jo gave up so much when she raised her siblings but also gained so much from keeping the family together. Wonderful story about love, family and faith. It was interesting to learn about the Amish customs; not the first book I've read about the Amish but always find new and interesting facts about their way of life.
BrittanyMc More than 1 year ago
I really loved this story! Readers first met Andy Fisher in the author’s book, The Dawn of Christmas. Andy is a side character, and is in a very strange and sad situation in his life. He is what is known as a “grass widower”. His wife left him and he is not allowed to divorce or remarry. He is stuck in limbo and I am so glad that Cindy Woodsmall shared this continuing story with us. Both of the main characters in this story have been deeply hurt by people and events in their lives. I really admired both Jolene and Andy. Jolene persevered through deep emotional pain and fought to keep her family together and provide the best life she could for her siblings, even though it cost her dearly. Andy and Jolene form a bond of friendship that quickly develops into something more. This is a huge complication that could potentially cause problems for them and their families. I really enjoyed how the author handled this difficult scenario and wove God’s grace throughout the entire story. I loved this book from start to finish and highly recommend it to fans of Amish fiction. My thanks to WaterBrook Press for the complimentary copy of this book that I received in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cindy Woodsmall has done it again. Couldn't put the book down.
Grammypammy54 More than 1 year ago
I have now read all of Cindy Woodmall's books! This one, like most of her books, is a truly great love story, but more than that, is about people who are truly trying to do what they feel God wants them to do! If you love reading positive, encouraging books, please read this one! And even better, start with Cindy's first book, like I did, and read ALL of her books! I promise you won't be disappointed!
Janine_S More than 1 year ago
“A Love Undone” by Cindy Woodsmall is a book that just didn't play fair right up until the end. I do admit that I am emotional reader, so it doesn't take much for me to cry, laugh or ache for the characters, but with this book it went so much deeper. My heart broke for the characters, and I got mad at how unfair everything was turning out to be. This book played havoc on my emotions more than any book I have read in the last couple of months that is for sure, and I loved the book dearly. Here is a great book that seems to shout that life is not fair but we are never alone regardless what trouble we are facing. If we continue to follow God's path and stay within what we believe to be the right path, trouble is still going to be there, forbidden love may come to us, but we can find peace in what is denied us, through holding onto our faith in God, for there is a reason for everything we must go through. Jolene is a woman who had to make a tough choice between what she wanted and what was best for her family. Choices between dreams and family is sometimes hard to choose between but she never second guessed herself or regretted her choice. Outwardly she appears to be one way but inside things seem to be different, and her secrets seem to be many. Some secrets she is not sure how to bring them to light while others she keeps for self-preservation. Regardless Jolene is a woman whose heart is pure as gold and she is a pretty easy going as well, while staying in the confines of the rules of her Old Amish district, for the most part anyway. Andy is a man who is caught between a rock and a hard place, for he is not free to move on in life but he wants to do. Andy is also an honorable man who is willing to do what must be done in order to protect those he cares about, regardless the cost to himself, and so that he can remain in his Amish order district. Andy is patient and caring for people and animals which is so obvious with the way he trains horses and deals with those around him. Beside this book being a great way to show that sometimes life is not fair to us but we are not alone, it is a wonderful example of love and patience. Not exactly the love and patience between a man and woman but the love and patience needed when dealing with siblings. Jolene showed such patience when she dealt with her siblings, even when they seemed to be rebelling against her. Then there is the love and patience one must need in dealing with those around us, even when it is killing us on the inside because of hurt and/or anger that is on the inside. There are plenty of twists and turns within the book, and I was on the edge of my seat until just about the very end wondering what was going to happen. This is a book that is so different from most Amish books that I found that it was hard to put down even when I needed to get another tissue. I would be so sure that things were going to work one way and then suddenly I wasn't so sure, to the point where I skipped to the last page to read the last two paragraphs. Well all I can say about that, is when I finished those two paragraphs, I was more frustrated for I didn't get the answers I was looking for, which meant I knew that a happy ending was coming I just didn't know with who and how it came about. This is a book that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in Amish books that are a little different. If there are other emotional readers out there then I would strongly suggest a box of tissues close by, and everyone else I would say a few tissues for the emotions are powerful throughout the book. Enjoy the book.