The Sound of Sleigh Bells

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

by Cindy Woodsmall

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307446534
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 580,255
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times best-seller 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-one years.

Read an Excerpt

The aroma of fresh-baked bread, shepherd's pie, and steamed vegetables filled Lizzy's house, mingling with the sweet smell of baked desserts. In the hearth a bank of embers kept a small fire burning, removing the nip that clung to the early-April air.The noise of conversations rose and fell around Lizzy's kitchen table as her brother and his large family talked easily throughout the meal. His grown and almost-grown children filled the sides of her fourteen-foot table, and his grandchildren either sat in their mothers' laps or in highchairs.Nearly four decades ago her oldest brother had put effort into finding an Amish bride.When Stephen found the right girl, he married her. He'd handled life well, and the fruit of it fed her soul. Lizzy had focused on her business and never married. She didn't regret her choices, not for herself, but she'd crawl on her hands and knees the rest of her days to keep her niece from the same fate. Beth was like a daughter to Lizzy. Not long after the family's dry goods store passed to Lizzy, Beth graduated fromthe eighth grade and started working beside her. Soon she moved in with Lizzy, and they shared the one-bedroom apartment above the shop. When Lizzy had this house built a few years ago, her niece had stayed above Hertzlers' Dry Goods. Lizzy studied the young beauty as she answered her family's endless questions about her decisions in the middleman role between the Amish who made goods and the various Englischer stores who wanted those goods. That was her Beth. Answer what was asked. Do what was right. Always be polite. Offer to help before it was needed. And never let anyone see the grief that hadn't yet let go of her. Beth had banned even Lizzy from looking into the heartache that held her hostage.The one-year anniversary of Henry's death had come and gone without any sign from Beth that she might lay aside her mourning, so Lizzy had taken action. She'd prepared this huge meal and planned a social for the afternoon. Maybe all Beth needed was a loving, gentle nudge. If not, Lizzy had a backup plan—one Beth would not appreciate.Over the din of conversations, the sounds of horses and buggies arriving and the voices of young people drifted through the kitchen window, causing Beth to look at her. Lizzy placed her forearms on the table. "I've invited the young singles of the community for an evening of outdoor games, desserts, and a bonfire when the sun goes down."Two of Beth's single younger sisters, Fannie and Susie, glowed at the idea. With grace and gentleness, Beth turned to her Mamm and asked if she would need help planting this year's garden. It didn't seem to bother Beth that five of her sisters had married before her, and three of them were younger than she was. All but the most recently wed had children. Lizzy knew what awaited Beth if she didn't find someone—awkward and never-ending loneliness. Maybe she didn't recognize that. It wasn't until Henry came into Beth's life that she even seemed to notice that single men existed. Within a year of meeting, they were making plans to marry.Now, in an Amish community of dresses in rich, solid hues, Beth wore black.Through a window Lizzy saw the youngmen bring their rigs to a halt. The drivers as well as the passengers got out of the carriages. The girls soon huddled in groups, talking feverishly, while the guys went into the barn, pulled two wagons with plenty of hay into the field, and tied their horses to them. It was far easier to leave the animals harnessed and grazing on hay than to have to hitch a horse to its buggy in the dark. The young people knew the routine. They would remainoutside playing volleyball, horseshoes, or whatever else suited them until after the sun went down. Then they'd come inside for desserts and hot chocolate or coffee before riding in wagons to the field where they'd start a bonfire.Fannie and Susie rose and began clearing the table. Beth went to the dessert counter and picked out a pie. She set it on the table beside her Daed, cut a slice, and placed it on his plate. Then she slid a piece onto her Mamm's plate before passing the pie to her brother Emmanuel. She took her seat next to her mother, still chatting about the upcoming spring planting. Lizzy hoped her brother saw what she did—a daughter who continued to shun all possibility of finding new love. Beth clung to the past as if she might wake one day to find her burning desires had changed it.Fannie began gathering glasses that still held trace amounts of lemonade. "You've got to join us this time, Bethie. It's been too long."Flatware stopped clinking against the plates as all eyes turned to Beth.Susie tugged on her sleeve. "Please. Everyone misses you."Beth poked at the meal she'd barely touched as if she might scoop a forkful of the cold food and eat it. "Not this time. Denki.""See, Beth," Lizzy said. "Every person here knows you should be out socializing again. Everyone except you."Beth's face grew taut, and she stood and removed the small stack of plates from Fannie's hands. "Go on. I'll do these."Fannie glanced to her Daed. He nodded. "Why don't you all finish up and go on out? Emmanuel and Ira, do you mind helping set up the volleyball nets?" Emmanuel wiped his mouth on a cloth napkin. "We can do that."Chairs screeched against the wood floor as most of the brood stood. Fannie and Susie bolted for the door. Two more of Beth's sisters and two sisters-in-law went to the sink, taking turns rinsing the hands and faces of their little ones before they all went outside. Lizzy longed to see Beth in colored dresses, wearing a smile that radiated from her soul. Instead Beth pasted on smiles, fooling most of those around her into thinking her heart continued to mend. But her quieter, more stoic behavior said things no one else seemed to hear. Lizzy heard, and she'd shared her concerns with Beth's Daed, Stephen. Beth took a stack of dishes to the sink and flicked on the water."You can leave that for now," Stephen said.She turned off the water and remained with her back to them. Beth's Mamm glanced at Lizzy as she ran her finger down a tall glass of lemonade. "Beth, honey—"Beth turned. "I'm fine, Mamm."Stephen got up and piled more plates together. "Of course you are. And I'll throw my favorite pie at anyone who says otherwise." He stuck his finger into his half-eaten piece of chocolate pie, placed it in his mouth, and winked at Beth.She smiled, an expression that probably looked real to her Daed but reminded Lizzy of fine silk flowers—only beautiful to those who aren't gardeners."Beth, sweetheart," Stephen said, "you know how me and your Mamm feel. We love you. It's no secret that you're different from our other girls. You've always had more of a head for business than a heart to find a beau, but now…well, we just want to make sure you're doing okay. Since you don't live with us, that's a bit hard to know sometimes." He set the dirty dishes beside the already full sink before he rinsed his hands and dried them. "Officially, your period of mourning was over nearly six months ago, but you haven't joined the young people for a single event. You've not left the store for your usual buying trips. You eat half of what you should. You continue to wear black. And those are things a stranger would notice.""I…I could plan a buying-and-selling trip. It'll take me most of the summer to get completely organized for it, but I can be ready by August. I know I should have sooner, but…"Lizzy hoped Stephen didn't fall for the diversion tactic Beth had just thrown his way, but since Beth was listening to him without getting defensive, Lizzy wouldn't interfere."Good. If that's where you feel like beginning, I'm glad to hear it. I know the community will be too, because without you they can't sell near as many of their goods." He walked to the table, took a seat, and motioned for Beth.She moved to the chair beside him. "But other people's financial needs are not what this is about. Tell me something good and hopeful about you—something I'll know in my gut is true—and I'll end this conversation right now."The four of them remained silent as shouts and roars of laughter echoed from outside. If anyone could touch Beth's heart and cause her to change, her Daed could. But the silence continued, and Beth's inability to think of anything hopeful to say made Lizzy sick with worry.The grandfather clock chimed the half hour, startling Lizzy, but no one spoke. Long shadows filled the room, and she lit a kerosene lamp and set it in the middle of the table. Whatever happened the night Henry died consumed Beth. When Lizzy arrived on the scene, her niece didn't even acknowledge her. The only words Beth spoke were the ones she whispered for days—God,forgive me. Lizzy had tried to talk to her about it, but Beth never broke her polite silence on the topic. Beth's Daed cleared his throat. "I'll wait all night for an answer if I need to, Beth."Her eyes filled with tears, but it was another five minutes before she uttered a word. "I don't trust my feelings about…certain things anymore, Daed.""Then can you trust mine?" her Daed asked."Always, but I don't want to be one of the single girls looking for a husband. Not ever again. Is that such a horrible thing?""It's not what we'd figured on, but we can adjust."Lizzy repositioned her glass of lemonade. During church the singles sat separately from the married couples. Lizzy's memory of growing too old for the singles and removing herself from them still stung. From that day on she'd carried the title of alt Maedel—old maid. She'd been older than Beth's twenty-six years, and her prospects of finding someone had faded into nothingness. If Beth thought navigating life after Henry was difficult, Lizzy dreaded the pain that lay ahead for Beth when she openly admitted to the Amish world that she didn't fit—not with the single folk and not with the married ones. Stephen had yet to mention anything about the color of mourning Beth still wore. If she would wear something besides black, young men would gravitate to her, and she stood a chance of finding someone. He covered Beth's hand with his and bowed his head, silently praying for her. He lifted his head. "There's somewhere you'd like to be tonight other than washing dishes or working in that stuffy office in the store. Am I right?""Ya.""Then go."Beth kissed her Daed's cheek, told her Mamm and Lizzy she'd see them later, and left.Lizzy moved to the window and watched as her niece walked past small groups of young people. She overheard both women and men asking Beth to stay. Beth shook her head, smiled, and wavedBefore making her way across the road and into the pasture near their store."You said nothing that will nudge her to change how she's handling life," Lizzy said.Stephen placed his hands on her shoulders. "Henry's death is the hardest thing this family has faced. Pressuring Beth isn't the answer. Trusting God is."Lizzy stood in silence as Beth harnessed her mare to a carriage. She knew where Beth was going. The cemetery. Again. And again. And again."Please, dear God, move a mountain for her." Stephen squeezed her shoulders. "Amen."

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The Sound of Sleigh Bells 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Ladybug_Chronicles More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed reading Cindy's books and this was no exception. The Sound of Sleigh Bells was heartfelt and drew me into the story like no other. This story is of suffering and redemption and finding love after a loss and tragedy. You won't want to put the book down until you are on the last page...
tipsister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was lucky to receive a review copy of The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall and was very anxious to read it. I know there are several books that take place among the Amish and I just haven't had a chance to read any of them. This was my first foray into the genre and I found it to be very sweet.The book revolves around two people who are broken in their own ways. Beth has never recovered from the death of her fiance and continues to shun the idea of falling in love. Jonah was the victim of a tragic accident as a teen and never quite felt whole. Through a series of letters, a few mix ups, and a meddling relative, Jonah and Beth realize that they might just be what the other needs.I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading a beautiful love story and learn a little more about the Amish way of life. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
cherryblossommj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sound of sleigh bells is something that brings great joy into the life of Beth Hertzler, yet the same sound brings pain to Jonah Kinsinger. This is a great Christmas or anytime read of growth, strength, forgiveness, moving forward, and romance with true love. Straight from the beginning even with the mystery of what really holds Beth back from looking for love brings a reader in to care for her with a slight of intrigue. Each chapter causes one to wish for her to open up to love. In a different manner, our other protagonist has his own set of dark past issues that hold him back from moving forward with life. It is one of those things were romantic or not, God put them together to learn something. It is the opening and shutting of doors in the future both good and bad for our characters that keeps those pages turning to see what happens next. The side story of true love unseen is fabulous and even though not a main picture in the book, so appropriate and good. This is one of those books that has a good plot and so many little facets that keep it interesting and different from other stories. A reader may assume they know what is to come next, but they do not see the whole picture until the end. Family is a theme, Christmas spirit is through out, and each chapter brings one deeper into the lives of very interesting characters. Cindy Woodsmall did well with her other series with the Sisters of the Quilt, and even though this is a stand alone Christmas book the quality of the story is right on key. I highly recommend her books to anyone looking for a short-ish story at right about two hundred pages for the winter time. I personally could hear the sleigh bells and children's giggles while reading her words of text. I look forward to reading her other new series coming soon starting with The Hope of Refuge. *This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.*
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really loved reading this book. Maybe it's because it's about the Amish (I really love the Amish!), maybe it's the season of winter (winter=holidays=something else I love!), or maybe it's the simple fact of Cindy Woodsmall's beautiful talent of writing a story that I didn't want to end, that I loved this book so much! It's a story of hurt, guilt, faith, love and friendship between two Amish members. The plot of this story is simply life like and warm. I'm not going to make my review of this book too long as if I do I will be too tempted to tell the end of this magnificent story! And I don't want to do that as I don't want to spoil this for my followers! But I WILL give this book praises over and over, and I'll give the author a 5 star rating for a talent that is truly God-guided and inspiring. The Sound of Sleigh Bells is a book to curl up with at the fire place on a cold winter evening, with a cup of coffee, hot cider, or hot cocoa, and you'll be warmed from the start! It's a blessing you won't want to miss!!!! *This book was provided to me for review courtesy of the author and her publisher*
mjmbecky on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beth Hertzler carries an emotional wound that has left her unwilling to open her heart to love again after her fiance passed away. The problem is, that no one quite knows why she has drug out her mourning for him so long. Into her life enters a young artist, who was also wounded years ago in a sleigh accident. Intrigued by his carving, Beth buys a piece of his art and unknowingly (which will be revealed in the story), starts a pen pal friendship with the artist. Once she realizes who it is she is writing to and opening up her wounds in front of, will Beth allow herself to continue the blossoming friendship and even love?While rather slow in its precession, I found the book sweet. Some of the predictable twits and turns of the plot were actually not all that predictable, and even shockingly anticlimactic for me. The ending thankfully delivered a sweet resolution, which is what one wants in a tender romance such as this. Overall, an enjoyable, quick read.***Book given to me by Waterbrook Press.
wearylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful book from start to finish. It is a gentle read that will make you smile while bringing a tear to your eye.As with most of the Amish fiction I have read, the story starts out with a death. Beth Hertzler's fiancé has died & Beth is in deep mourning. She works for her Aunt Lizzie in her aunt's dry goods store. Beth often travels to find handmade items by Amish craftsmen to sell in the store. On one of her travels, Beth finds a beautifully carved scene of Amish children. While it is too fancy for the Amish, she knows that the tourists will love it. Beth sets out to meet the 'old man' that has made the carving. She is unable to find him on this visit but, due to some intervention by her aunt, she and Jonah begin a correspondence.Lizzie finally meets the man she has been writing to and discovers that he is actually a young man. While walking through his barn she discovers a sleigh, which brings back some lovely memories. The sleigh is mentioned only in passing but it is an intricate part of the story.This is a great stand alone book. I highly recommend it.
tututhefirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A sweet little Harlequin type romance set in Amish Pennsylvania. I received this as an ARC, and it was an easy read during the hectic Christmas season. The story is the typical girl meets boy, both have chips on shoulder, elders try to matchmake, principals resist matchmaking, etc etc etc.The character development and motivation are above average for this genre, and the story goes along quickly. I wouldn't rush out and look for more, but I think lots of people will find it a heartwarming read.And in spite of the title, it doesn't even need to be billed as a Christmas book.
KellyBlackwell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every time I read an Amish fiction novel, I am surely more and more pulled into it becoming one of my favorite genres. I have yet to find a piece of work that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. It is often surprising to me as I am a lover of mystery, suspense and quite frankly...horror. I once thought that Amish fiction and Christian fiction for that matter, could not possibly hold my attention. Boy was I happily wrong! Cindy Woodsmall weaves a story that reads so quickly that I had to force myself to put the book down so as to not finish it too soon. I could have easily finished The Sound of Sleigh Bells in one sitting, but that would have deprived me of an escape into the lives of Beth, Lilly, and Jonah, and that would have been a shame. This book was a vacation into a place so very real, warm and inviting! I loved each and every character and wished these were people I knew. Who would have thought I wished I could have grown up in a home such as this? It seems that Jonah and Beth have family members who want absolutely the best for them. They want them both to find happiness in all forms that it can bring. A partner for life is definitely on the top of the list! Beth and Jonah have both seen a side of life that is not easy to traverse through unscathed. Surviving and being comfortable may be just about all either can wish for, but maybe a second chance at joy can happen for both. My favorite part of this book: When I say that I felt I was on a vacation while reading this book, I speak the absolute truth. The Sound of Sleigh Bells quite literally pulled me away from a very stressful couple of weeks. The descriptions were so vivid and literally created a place in my mind. The family interaction was also fun to read. I totally would recommend this to anyone who enjoys good fiction. It is a story of healing and a story of removing the clutter of the past. I cannot wait to read more of Cindy Woodsmall's work. I am definitely a new fan!
ImBookingIt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a very sweet story. I loved how it looked inside the characters. I appreciated how the faith of the characters informed their actions (and I say this as a non-religious person).
mrsjason on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To be honest, I was a bit hesitant when picking up this book. I've read one of the author's books in the past, and had a bit of trouble reading the subject matter in the book. It was enough for me not to be able to read the other two books in the series. Therefore I was worried that this book would be like that. Luckily, as far as I could tell, there's no connection and the storyline was one that rather enjoyable. I liked reading about Beth, Lizzy and Jonah. All three of them had very interesting story lines and I liked seeing the connections between the three. I thought it was interesting how the Amish portrayed in this story were allowed to be a bit more modern and freely use phones and other electronics. This is mainly due to the business but it's always fascinating to read.The problem with novellas is that because they are short, sometimes the story feels a bit rushed. The author has the hard task of making the entire story come across plus give the characters enough time to grow and develop in a shorter amount of words. In this case, it works well for the most part. I personally would have enjoyed seeing the confusion of identity between Beth and Jonah last longer. It would have been more interesting for them to think they were writing to who they were picturing instead of the actual person. As it was, the illusion ended too quickly. I'm still not ok with the way that the Amish seem to handle heavy subjects. Beth's fiance sounds like he had serious controlling and abusive issues but she never tells anyone this because it would look bad on them. This type of behavior makes me very wary of the community portrayed in Woodsmall's books. This book seems to be marketed as a Christmas story but I'm not really seeing it. Aside from a few references to the holiday in the book, it's almost not even an issue. I would classify it as more a winter time story. Overall, it's a nice short read perfect for a fall or winter afternoon. If you are a fan of Amish fiction you will enjoy this story.
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iblog4books More than 1 year ago
After reading The Christmas Singing, I simply had to go back and read The Sound of Sleigh Bells! I was not disappointed! Cindy Woodsmall has cemented my affection for the residents of Apple Ridge. I adore strong female characters and felt that Cindy did a wonderful job of combining the simplicity of Amish life and the strength that comes from loving the Lord in both Beth and Aunt Lizzy's characters. She also did a wonderful job of giving the characters real problems and helping them to overcome them without seeming trite or simplistic. You don't want to miss out on either of these Christmas novellas!
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dukeyboy5 More than 1 year ago
ive been reading all her books i love them all
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