Despite being raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lapp desires to break with custom, forgo baptism into the faith, and marry outside the cloistered community. She’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and before returning to college for his senior year, Paul asks Hannah to be his wife. Hannah accepts, aware that her marriage will change her relationship with her family forever. On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes and in one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed. As she finds herself entangled in questions that the Old Ways of her people cannot answer, Hannah faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community–and in the heart of the man she loves.
About the Author
Cindy Woodsmall and her husband make their home in Georgia and have raised and home schooled three sons. Her husband became her staunchest supporter while she took writing courses, attended seminars, and strove to write a story from seeds sown years ago when her best friend was a Beachy Amish Mennonite girl. When the Heart Cries is Cindy's first novel.
Read an Excerpt
Hannah Lapp covered the basket of freshly gathered eggs with her hand, glanced behind her, and bolted down the dirt road. Early morning light filtered through the broad leaves of the great oaks as she ran toward her hopes…and her fears. A mixed fragrance of light fog, soil, garden vegetables, and jasmine drifted through the air. Hannah adored nature’s varying scents. When she was far enough away so her father couldn’t spot her as she topped the knoll, she turned, taking in the view behind her. Her family’s gray stone farmhouse was perched amid rolling acreage. Seventeen years ago she’d been born in that house.
She closed her eyes, breaking the visual connection to home. Her Amish heritage was hundreds of years old, but her heart yearned to be as modern as personal computers and the Internet. Freedom beckoned to her, but so did her relatives. Some days the desire to break from her family’s confinements sneaked up on her. There was a life out there—one that had elbowroom—and it called to her. She took another long look at her homestead before traipsing onward. Paul would be at the end of her one-mile jaunt. Joy quickened her pace. Her journey passed rapidly as she listened to birds singing their morning songs and counted fence posts. As she topped the hill, a baritone voice sang an unfamiliar tune. The melody was coming from the barn. She headed for the cattle gate at the back of the pastureland that was lined by the dirt road. Beyond the barn sat Paul’s grandmother’s house, and past that was the paved road used by the English in their cars.
Paul used the cars of the English. Hannah’s lips curved into a smile. More accurately, he drove a rattletrap of an old truck. Even though his order of Mennonites was very conservative, much more so than many of the other Mennonite groups, they didn’t hesitate to use electricity and vehicles. Still, his sect believed in cape dresses and prayer Kapps for the women. Surely there was nothing wrong with her caring for Paul since the Amish didn’t consider his order as being an Englischer or fancy.
As Hannah opened the cattle gate, Paul appeared in the double-wide doorway to the barn. His head was hatless, a condition frowned upon by her bishop, revealing hair the color of ripe hay glistening under the sun. His blue eyes showed up in Hannah’s dreams regularly. He came toward her, carrying a hayfork, a frown creasing his brow. “Hannah Lapp, what are you doing, stealing away at this time of day? The whole of Perry County will hear thunder roar when your father finds out.” He stopped, jammed the pitchfork into the ground, and stared at her. The seriousness in his features made Hannah’s heart pound in her chest. She wondered if she’d overstepped her boundaries. “It’s your last day here for the summer.” She held up the basket of eggs. “I thought you and your grandmother might like a special breakfast.”
He wiped his brow, his stern gaze never leaving her face. “Gram’s awful mean this morning.”
“Worse than yesterday?”
He nodded. “Ya.” A hint of a smile touched his lips. He often teased her about the word she used so much, threatening to tell everyone at the university about that word and the girl who used it. He knew her Pennsylvania Dutch pronunciation of the word as “jah” was correct, but that didn’t stop him from ribbing her about it. As the slight smile turned into a broad grin, it erased all seriousness from his face.
Hannah clutched an egg, reared back, and mimicked throwing it at him.
A deep chuckle rumbled through the air. “Can’t hit anything if you don’t release it…or in your case, even if you do.”
His laughter warmed Hannah’s insides. She placed the egg back in the basket, huffed mockingly, and turned to cross the lawn toward the house. This would be Paul’s fourth year to return to college. Once again he’d be leaving her throughout fall, winter, and spring—with letters being their sole communication. Even that limited connection had to come through his grandmother’s mailbox. Hannah’s father would end their friendship with no apologies if he ever learned of it.
Paul covered the space between them, lifted the basket from her hands, and smiled down at her. “So, won’t your family be missing you this morning? Or should I expect your father’s horse and buggy to come charging into my grandmother’s drive at any moment?”
“My Daed would not cause a spectacle like that.” Hannah licked her lips, thirsty after hurrying the mile to get there. “I arranged with my sister to do my chores this morning.”
“Then who will do her chores?”
“Sarah’s off this morning ’cause it’s her afternoon to sell produce at Miller’s Roadside Stand. I paid her to do my chores. So it all works out, ya?”
“You paid her. Was that necessary?”
Hannah shrugged. “I’m not her favorite person. But let’s not talk about that. She was willing to work out a deal, and here I am.”
Paul opened the screen door to his grandmother’s back porch. “I just hope Sarah doesn’t say anything to your father.”
“There’s nothing for her to say. As far as she knows, Gram told me to be here to work.” Hannah paused, grasping one side of the basket Paul held. “Besides, even Daed tries to remember it’s my rumschpringe.”
He released the basket to her. “But extra freedoms don’t hold a lot of meaning for your father, do they?”
She refused the disrespectful sigh that begged to be let loose. Her father could be exasperating at times. “The traditional rules keep him a bit subdued. It wouldn’t do to have the bishop discover he’s not following our traditions.”
Hannah opened the door to the house, but Paul placed his arm across the doorframe in front of her, stopping her in her tracks. He bent close. Hannah kept her focus straight ahead.
“Look at me, Hannah.” The soft rumble of his words against her ear made a tingle run through her. The aroma that she’d come to recognize as easily as the man himself filled her. His scent had come to make her think of integrity, and it made her long to draw closer to him. Several seconds passed before she managed to lift her gaze to meet his. His lips were pressed together in a smile, but his blue eyes held a look she didn’t understand.
“I’ve been aching to talk to you before I return to college. There are some things I just can’t write to you in a letter. If you hadn’t come today, I was planning to knock on your door this afternoon.” A light sigh escaped his lips. “But the problems that would have caused would have prevented us from getting to speak.”
“Paul!” a shaky voice screeched out. The slow thump of a cane against the wooden floor announced that his grandmother was only a few steps from seeing them. Hannah took a step backward, thinking she’d die of embarrassment if anyone saw her this close to Paul.
He straightened, putting even more distance between them. “Promise me we’ll get time alone today. I need to talk with you before I leave.”
Hannah stared into his eyes, promising him anything. “I give you my word,” she breathed.
He lowered his hand from the doorframe. “Gram, Hannah’s here.”
From the berry patch, Paul heard the familiar chime of the sitting room’s clock. It rang out five times, but Paul needed no reminder of the hour. He was more than ready to see Hannah for a second time today and before he left for the fall semester. He dumped the handful of blueberries into the half-full galvanized bucket. He straightened the kinks out of his back and studied the horizon for a glimpse of Hannah. The moment they had washed the last breakfast dish, Hannah had scurried home, hoping no one had missed her. So they hadn’t managed to find a moment for private conversation. He turned his attention back to the almost-bare bushes, glad he’d bought two pints of blueberries from Lee McNabb’s Farmers’ Market yesterday. He’d had more than enough of treating Hannah as if she were only a friend when he was in love with her. If she were a few years older, he’d have shared how he felt long before now. But even if he told her and she felt the same way, she wasn’t the only one who would have to continue keeping their relationship hidden. If he wanted to keep her out of trouble with her father and even her community, he couldn’t afford to tell anyone about her. He had too many distant relatives in Owl’s Perch who could ruin their future by getting talk started. Assuming she was interested in a future with him.
As Paul stood at the picnic table, adding the purchased berries to those he’d picked, he saw Hannah topping the hillock of the dirt road. The sight of her caused his pulse to race.
Her brown dress, thick with pleats, came far below her knees. The sleeves of the oversized top hit just above the elbow, and the top covered everything up to the base of her neck. The Amish aimed to be plain in every possible way, from their eighth-grade education to the strict codes of their clothing. A smile tugged at his lips. Hannah had the heart of a lioness and the gentleness of a kitten. Keeping her ordinary was a feat that couldn’t be accomplished by a set of rules—even the laws of the Ordnung.
She spotted him and waved. He returned her greeting and set down the bucket. His entire being reacted to her: his heart pounded, his palms sweated, and his thoughts became jumbled. But what kept him returning to Owl’s Perch each summer wasn’t his physical attraction to her. There was something between them that he didn’t understand, but he knew it was hard to come by in a guy-girl relationship. With her as his wife and his degree in social work, there was no telling what the two of them could accomplish. He and Hannah both wanted to make a difference in the lives of others—especially children. What better way than to become a lifelong team, even though Hannah was just now learning how to pray and trust God. Until recently, for her everything had been a matter of adherence to rules.
Paul watched her every move as she opened the back gate and crossed the field. As he unlatched the cattle opening to the front of the pasture, loving words rose in his throat and all but forced their way out of his mouth. But, as always, his lack of confidence and his respect for her morestoic ways kept the words unspoken.
“Hi.” She handed him the cloth-covered bundle she’d been carrying.
He raised the bundle to his face and breathed in the aroma of freshbaked bread. “Mmm.”
She gave him a challenging grin. “So, who do you think made that bread?”
“You.” He spoke with absolute confidence.
Her hands settled on her hips. “There are four bread makers in my home. How can you tell whether I made it?”
“When you’ve made the dough, the loaf has a hint of blaze within it, as if you put part of your soul in it.”
Hannah laughed. “You talk foolishness, no?”
“I’m serious, Hannah.” He inhaled the scent of the cloth-wrapped loaf again. “If you breathe deeply, you’ll smell the heat.” He held the bread toward her face. “Just like the fire in you, Lion-heart.”
She clicked her tongue, warning him he was edging toward impropriety.
He lowered the loaf and gazed into her eyes, not wanting to disrupt the power of the feelings that ran between them. To him, Hannah possessed all the courage, control, and nobility associated with lions. The term fit perfectly, even if its use did embarrass her.
“Wait here.” Paul strode to the back door, grasping the handle to the bucket of blueberries on the way. He marched across the porch and into the kitchen. After setting the pail and the loaf of bread on the table, he hollered, “Gram.”
Finding her in the living room reading her Bible, he stepped to the round mahogany end table next to her. “Hannah’s here. We’re going for a walk.” He took one of the walkie-talkie radios off the table and turned it on. “If you need anything, just push this button.” He pointed to the knob with the musical note on it. “If you buzz us, we’ll come back pronto.” He set the radio on the table and attached the matching one to his belt loop.
His grandmother’s eyes searched his face. Paul raised an eyebrow. “Please try not to need anything.” He kissed her on the head.
“I’ll give you fifteen minutes, young man. Then I’m pushing that button. Young people don’t require any more time than that.”
“Come on, Gram. Hannah and I need some uninterrupted time to talk.”
Soft wrinkles creased her face as she studied him. “I’ll give you twenty. After that, whatever needs to be said can be said on the back porch or in the kitchen. And no back talk or I’ll drive to her parents’ place myself.”
Paul sighed. “Yes ma’am.” He hurried to the back door. Gram never allowed him to feel like an adult. When he was with his parents in Maryland, they gave him a lot more freedom than his gram did, and at the university he had freedom galore. He didn’t need it there. He checked his pocket for the gift box and bounded out the back door.
Hannah stood on a knoll, staring across the green pastures at the grazing herd as the breeze fluttered through her skirts and played with the strings of the Kapp on her head. He’d love to have a photo of that. Any photo of Hannah would be nice.
He came up to her and held out his hand. For the first time, she placed her hand in his. They jogged across the field and into the shade of the woods. When they came to a bridge that stretched across the creek, they slowed. Hannah peeled off her slip-on shoes and sat on the edge of the wooden planks.
Her feet dangled high above the water.
Paul shook off his sandals and sat beside her.
For a moment no words were spoken. The sounds of the water babbling, some birds chirping, and an occasional cow mooing filled the air. Ignoring the nervousness that clawed at his gut, Paul covered her hand with his. “It gets harder to leave every year.” He drew her hand to his lips and kissed it.
She gawked at him, as if she hadn’t ever expected him to kiss her. He leaned in closer, hoping to kiss her cheek.
Clearing her throat, she pulled away from him. “I think it would be best if we go back now.” She stood.
“But…” Paul jumped up. “I…I’m not finished with what I wanted to say. I want to talk about us.”
She picked up her shoes. “Don’t ask to see my heart and then return to your girls on campus.” Without looking at him, she stuffed a foot into each shoe. “I may not be educated like them, but I’m nobody’s fool, Paul Waddell. I’ve heard stories of what it’s like out there, and I don’t appreciate this. We’re better friends than this.” Brushing her hands against her apron, she lifted her gaze to him.
Uncertainty roiled inside him, making his stomach hurt. He slid his feet into his sandals. Was he ruining the very friendship he cherished above everything else in his life? “I do not have a girl on campus, and I
never have. There’s no one for me but you…if you’d care to be called my girl.”
She stared at him for a moment. “What are you saying?” Her hoarse whisper etched itself into his soul.
Paul moved in closer. “I’m saying I want us to have a future…together.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a long, thin, gold-colored box.
“This is for you.”
Hannah shook her head. “I can’t take that.”
“All this time we’ve been friends, and you can’t take a simple gift?” He held it out for her, hoping she’d accept it. “It’s what we’ve done together, working for Gram along with making goods to sell at McNabb’s Farmers’ Market.”
She lifted the box from his hands and held it while questions remained in her eyes.
Paul dared to touch her cheek with his fingers. “Hannah, you are all my thoughts and hopes.”
She stared at him, her breathing rapid.
“We’ll have to wait at least a year, but…” Paul stared at his feet, kicked a patch of moss, and tried not to mumble. “Hannah Lapp, will you marry me?”
She didn’t utter a sound or even twitch a foot. He raised his eyes. Her face had disbelief written across it. “But…my family… I…I… It’ll be hard enough on Mamm if I don’t join the faith, but her heart will break if
I move out of Owl’s Perch.”
Paul rubbed the back of his neck. Winning the approval of her family was an uphill battle, one he had to win or her heart would rend in two. He gazed into her eyes, hoping to assure her that he’d do his best. They both knew that if she married him, it would affect her relationship with her family for the rest of her life. Since she hadn’t been baptized into the Amish faith, she wouldn’t be shunned if she chose to marry a Mennonite. But her father wouldn’t allow an outside influence to enter his home any more than he would allow electricity. When she was permitted to have a rare visit, she would not be allowed to enter the house. Things weren’t that way in every Amish family, but that didn’t help Hannah’s situation. The key to winning over her father, Paul hoped, was patience and timing. As much as he wished for the right words to soothe Hannah’s concerns, he didn’t have all the answers. As if absorbing and accepting the truth of his feelings for her, a slow smile erased her distress. She managed a nod.
“Is that a yes?” He clasped his hands over hers, which were still holding the unopened box.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Hannah, I can’t believe this. I mean…I didn’t think… You keep a man guessing, that’s for sure.”
She angled her head. “Would you have me be bold, like those girls I hear about among the English?”
Paul squeezed her hands. “I’ll never be interested in anyone but you.”
He reached for her face. His fingers lightly trailed down the sides of her cheeks. “You’re so beautiful.”
Hannah backed away, sputtering. “Beauty is vanity, and I’ll thank you not to put any stock in it.”
Paul laughed. “Oh, you are beautiful, but that’s not why I’m interested. Why, I could find lots of beautiful girls if that’s what mattered to me.”
She studied him for a moment before she chuckled. “Listen to your boldness. Why, I should have thrown that egg at you this morning.”
Paul laughed. “Too late.” He pointed to the gift. “Open the present.”
With her cheeks covered in a blush, Hannah removed the golden ribbon wrapped around the small box. She lifted the lid and pulled out a thin book, about two inches by three inches. Her brows knitted slightly as she opened the book to a page of columns and numbers.
“The card I had you sign last week wasn’t for Gram’s tax purposes. It was for our savings account.” He pointed to the bottom number in one of the columns. “With all our work over the summers, this is what we’ve earned so far to sponsor that little girl in Thailand.”
The joy-filled surprise in her eyes made every drop of sweat worth it.
“You’ve saved that much?”
“We’ve saved it. We planted that huge garden beside Gram’s every spring for three years. We sold the vegetables and bought the supplies for canning. I may be the one who got stuck with the handyman jobs of roofing and such, but you sewed all those doodads—from dolls to comforters. It took both of us to earn this money. Thanks to our efforts, some young Thai girl will go to live at House of Grace instead of being sold into slavery. She’ll get clothes, food, and an education.”
Hannah ran her fingers over the columns of numbers. “Who would have thought that with a little hard work we could do so much for someone?”
“God, I suspect.” He desperately wanted to kiss her. Instead, he held his hand out for the book. “I want to show you something else.”
Hannah gave him the book, and he flipped the page. “This section shows a portion of money I’ve set aside in a separate account.” He pointed to the right spot. “This is for our living expenses.”
Hannah’s attention moved from the book to him. “But you’re the only one who’s been putting money into the living expenses part, right?”
Paul nodded, unsure what she was getting at.
She scrunched her brows. “Then how do you have so much already?”
“I’ve been aiming at this for years.”
She seemed too surprised to respond. He kissed her on the forehead and was taken aback by the softness of her skin. The longer he stood so close to her, the stronger the need to kiss her lips became. But he was afraid she might not appreciate that move. “As soon as I graduate, I’ll work for your father all summer without charging him. During that time, I hope to get his blessing to marry you.”
Hannah rubbed her throat, concern flashing in her eyes. “And if he doesn’t approve?”
“He will, Hannah, even if we need to wait an extra year or two.” Paul bent and planted a kiss on her cheek. Her soft skin smelled sweet, like honey and cinnamon. “Your folks will come around.”
A shadow seemed to cross her features. She picked up the side of her apron and tucked the gift box, ribbon, and book into the hidden pocket inside her pinafore. “If anyone can win over my family and community, it’ll be you.” Lifting her chin and squaring her shoulders, she giggled.
“Ya.” Paul nodded and smiled.
The two-way radio beeped at him, and Gram’s voice muttered his name.
“Come on.” He held out his hand. “We’d better get back before Gram ruins my plans to win your father’s approval.”
Hannah put her hand in his, and they hurried toward his grandmother’s house. “My heart is fluttering.”
Paul paused, tightening his hand around hers. “I love you, Hannah Lapp.”
She lowered her head, staring at their clasped hands. “I love you too.”
Carrying the bucket of blueberries, Hannah locked the back cattle gate and waved her last farewell to Paul. As she headed for home, her heart was soaring higher than the jets she’d seen streak across the sky. Wherever those people were going couldn’t be as exciting as where her dreams were taking her. What a remarkable man, to be willing to work for her father in order to win his approval, to wait patiently to win her family over. Her heart thumped with excitement, and laughter welled up within her. She moved the thin metal handle on the bucket of blueberries to her other hand and wiped a bead of sweat off her neck. Paul had spent time on a hot August afternoon picking berries for her family, and he'd get no credit for the kind deed. It was just like him to work hard for others and be thankful if he’d managed to be of help. She couldn’t believe such a wonderful man considered it a privilege to marry her.
Since his dream was to become a social worker and for them to be foster parents, perhaps she could do him justice even though she had only an eighth-grade education. She loved children. And she knew how to run a household and how to turn a profit doing ordinary things like canning, sewing, and cleaning. The English girls at his college might have their education, but Hannah was determined to outshine all of them when it came to being a perfect wife for Paul and a wonderful mother to their children.
She touched her Kapp, proud that Paul found her ways pleasing. Oh, there were so many things she wanted to ask him, so many conversations they could have now that she knew he loved her. She looked forward to his letters more than ever. This time, there was no question that the sea of girls out there held no interest for him.
At the sound of car tires crunching against the pebbles on the dirt road behind her, she stepped to the far shoulder. Was it really possible that Paul had asked her to marry him? The tiny bubble of doubt burst as she slid her hand under her apron and felt the leather book in the hidden pocket. He’d put her name on all his hard-earned money. He trusted her with his heart, his dreams, and his earnings. He’d win her parents’ approval. She knew he would.
Realizing the car she’d heard hadn’t passed her yet and assuming the driver wanted more space, she stepped farther to the side of the road. It was just a one-lane country road, used mainly by horses and buggies. She refrained from looking over her shoulder, even though the smell of the acrid fumes from the growling engine grew stronger.
The car pulled up beside her. “Excuse me,” a man said.
Hannah stopped and turned. She saw a sleek car that looked different from anything she’d ever seen. Shifting her gaze to the driver, she supposed he wasn’t even as old as Paul, although she couldn’t see much of his face. He had a beard that looked a couple of days old, and he wore a baseball cap and sunglasses.
“Can you tell me how to get to Duncannon?”
Studying the countryside, she thought of the route the hired drivers always took when chauffeuring her and her family toward Duncannon. Hannah pointed down the road in the direction his car was headed. “Keep going until you come to a four-way stop. Take a left. You’ll go quite a piece until you come to another stop sign. Turn left again. Then keep going, and you’ll start seeing signs that show how to get to Duncannon.”
The man frowned and shook his head. After turning off the car engine, he opened the door. As he got out, he looked behind him at the long dirt road. Then he turned back. “How far until I reach a paved road?”
“About a mile.”
The man smiled and eyed her from head to toe. “Right after that one farmhouse?”
Feeling pinpricks of discomfort, Hannah smoothed her skirt with her free hand and swallowed hard. He wasn’t as unfamiliar with these roads as he’d made himself sound at first. Hoping he’d get in his car and leave, she started walking.
The man grabbed her arm. “No need to run off.”
She fought against the sense of panic, jerked her arm free of his grip, and ran.
Two large hands hit her back, pushing her hard. She went sprawling across the gravel road. Her blueberries tumbled in every direction as the bucket flew from her hand. Hannah tried to stand up, but another forceful push to her back sent her careening again. She pulled herself to her knees, trying to gain her balance. As she scrambled to her feet, she realized her palms were bleeding. She glanced back at the stranger. Although most of his face was hidden behind his sunglasses, beard, and hat, she saw him smirk as he reached for her. Run, Hannah! Run! her mind screamed, but she couldn’t move The man grabbed her by the thick apron straps that crisscrossed her back. He lifted her body slightly, dragged her to his car, spun her around to face him, and tossed her across the seat like a rag doll. Grabbing her by the pinafore, he shoved her farther into the car. The back of her head hit the door on the other side. Her vision blurred. The man climbed on top of her. Hannah pushed against his face and body, but he didn’t budge. She flailed at him, but he didn’t flinch. He repositioned his body, jerking at her skirts.
What was happening?
Tears streamed down Hannah’s cheeks. Shadows swirled from within, as if she were being buried under layers of suffocating soil. Fear and anger joined forces within her, altering, shifting who she was, how she thought about life.
When she no longer felt like Hannah Lapp, his weight lifted, and he pulled her out of the car. He dragged her several feet in front of the vehicle, then flung her to the road like a filthy rag. Only vaguely aware of her surroundings, she heard his car engine roar.
Confusion lifted. She knew he intended to run over her. Crawling on her hands and knees, she moved out from in front of his car. Her dress tangled around her knees, and she couldn’t move any farther. She pulled herself upright. Gravel spewed from the tires. As he passed her, he flung the car door open, hitting her with it. She flew forward and landed hard on the ground as his car sped off.
Gasping for air, she spotted the shiny silver pail lying near the ditch. On her hands and knees, she grabbed the bucket and tried to gather its spilled contents. Her body screamed out in pain with every movement, but Daed would be furious if she wasted the produce. She swiped at her tears, desperate to find all the berries. Clawing at the road, sifting through dirt and pebbles, she searched for the fruit, dropping each berry into the bucket. Dragging her apron across her eyes, she cleared the tears away. She looked in the pail. It contained mostly gravel and clods of earth with a few bruised and torn berries.
After staggering to her feet, she turned in one direction and then the other. Confused, she stood in the middle of the familiar road. Which way was home? She had to get home.
Her Mamm would know what to do.
The scent of freshly baked bread wafted through the evening air, guiding her in the right direction.
Reading Group Guide
1. Hannah Lapp’s family believes that since she was born into an Amish family, it is God’s will that she join the Amish faith. Do you agree or disagree with that line of thought? What Scripture or Biblical principle do you base your thoughts on?
2. At the beginning of the book, Hannah faces a tragedy that would shake most people’s foundational beliefs. If you could have talked to Hannah at that time, how could you have encouraged her? What would you have done differently from the choices both she and her parents made?
3. As a Beachy-Amish Mennonite Paul had to gain special permission from his parents and local church to attend college. If his motives had not been based in helping others in a way that required a four-year degree, his request would have been turned down. Should parents have the right to dictate their child’s future? If so, when is it the child’s place to resist the desires of their earthly parents in order to pursue the dreams of their own heart? Discuss Matthew 10:37 in light of Paul’s situation: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (NIV)
4. Sarah’s jealousy toward Hannah would have been easily seen and labeled as wrong had the people around her known her inner thoughts. But Sarah hid her true feelings and motivations under piousness as she pretended to only want to keep Hannah from going farther into sin. Can you remember a time when someone tried to gossip to you, using the façade of being concerned? Discuss ways that such a conversation could be kept from taking place. If you will, take a moment and, just between you and God, ponder the next question. Have you participated in spreading gossip under such a guise?
5. At one point, even believing in her innocence, Matthew avoids Hannah for months because to do otherwise might stir rumors and/or cause Elle to think he’s interested in Hannah. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22 it says to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” (KJV) Discuss times when abstaining from the appearance of evil is proper and times when it is just a copout.
6. Matthew was Hannah’s strongest supporter during a time when every other male in her life had washed their hands of her. For his effort he received no earthly reward. Can you imagine reaching out to someone that almost everyone else has turned their back on?
7. The bishop was a strong leader, but in his strength he had a tendency to rule unfairly. Discuss some of the spiritual leaders in your life. During what circumstances, if any, do you think a person should pull away from their spiritual leader? What Biblical principals or specific Scriptures do you use to help form your foundation for those beliefs?
8. Hannah was honest about how she conceived the child, but her dishonesty over other things eroded her father’s faith in her. If your child was caught telling some lies and then needed you to believe them on other things, what would your reaction be? Would you be more interested in finding peaceful ways to work through the issues or in finding absolute truth? If peace is your goal, how would you go about attaining that? If truth is your goal, what are some things you could do to try to discover what really took place?
9. Paul’s grandmother agreed to keep Hannah and Paul’s friendship a secret and even allowed her U.S. Postal address to be used as a way for Hannah and Paul to correspond. Do you think a person who is not a parent has the right to override what a parent wishes? If so, is this belief limited to certain ages of the child? Or certain circumstances?
10. Because of what people believed to be true about her, Hannah was trapped in a community that had no respect or compassion for her. Discuss ways a person could cope with the prejudice from rumors and the unjust anger it stirs in others without leaving the situation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hannah Lapp loves her neighbor Paul Waddell, but her father Zeb refuses to see any of his daughters married to an outsider. Paul returns Hannah¿s high regard, but knows that her father would never tolerate a Mennonite in his Amish family and so fears any efforts on his part would leave Hannah considered dead by her dad. Still before he leaves in his English car for his fourth year of college, he asks Hannah to marry him. --- That same day that she and Paul become engaged, Hannah heads home carrying a basket of blueberries, when a man driving a car stops, pulls her into his vehicle and rapes her. Already in shock that God allowed such a terrible thing to happen to her, Hannah turns introspective especially when she feels the Old Ways of her family and community have failed her, but still turns to prayer especially when she turns out to be pregnant. --- WHEN THE HEART CRIES is an interesting look at the differences and similarities between the Amish and the Mennonites. Hannah is a deep protagonist who finds no solace with the Old Ways, with her family, or with her beloved as she feels that everyone holds her culpable for the rape. The story line focuses on everyday Amish life mostly through her perspective as a pariah, but though insightful that can turn tedious to the reader. Still overall this is a fine entry, and her will want Cindy Woodsmall to provide the further adventures of Hannah. --- Harriet Klausner
When the Heart Cries literally takes you on a journey of the heart. You will become entranced with Hannah, feeling her love and her pain throughout the book. Through no fault of her own, her family pushes her aside and you will want to pull her back in, but that is not how it works in the Plain life. Once a decision is made, there is no turning back. You wil be touched by Matthew, who constantly sticks his neck out for his friend, Hannah, regardless of what the Bishop has to say. He will become a loving brother to you and you will want only the best for him. Although Mary Yoder is in love with Luke, Hannah's brother, her loyalty is to her best friend. She puts her relationship with Luke on the line to protect her friend and to show Luke his way of thinking is too narrow. She forces him to open his eyes to the truth about his sister, even though it goes against what his parents believe to be true. Sarah is Hannah's younger sister. Forever in emotional turmoil, this girl turns on her sister and causes an uproar in the Amish community that can't be extinguished. She is quite proud of her accomplishments and truly believes Hannah deserves the pain that has been put on her. Then there is Paul, the love of Hannah's life. A good, loyal man with strong values, but a soft heart which allows him to see both the beauty in the Plain and the value of some Englischer ways. His love for Hannah is shaken when he finds out the secret she has been keeping. The need to find out where Hannah's journey in life is taking her is captivating. You will not be able stop reading and when this book is complete, you'll want more. I was not able to stop until I had read all 3 books in the series. Fantastic reading! It takes you away from the problems plaguing the world today and makes the simpler life much more appealing than our materialistic world will have you believe.
Hannah is part of an Old Order Amish family. Still, she's in love with Paul, who's a Mennonite. When he asks her to marry him, she happily accepts, even though there's a very good chance that it means she'll lose her family. This would be enough for a novel, I'm sure, but what the book is REALLY about is what happens after she gets engaged. On her way home, she is raped. Her family knows, but no one else in the community does. Slowly, rumors begin to spread about what's going on with Hannah, and it affects her relationships with her family, friends and, eventually, with Paul. This is a very entertaining book (the first in a trilogy) and it's very interesting to see how things are dealt with in the Amish community. I like to think---I hope---that we're a little more sensitive here, but that may not be true. This is very different from most of the Amish books I've read, in that the heroine does a lot of soul searching and spends a decent amount of time angry---at herself, at her family and even at God. It's a welcome change. I look forward to reading the other two books in the series. I like Hannah a great deal, and am excited to know what happens to her. (This could be read as a standalone book, although the book is open-ended.)
This book is rivoting. It tells what can destroy a family when an Amish goes outside of her family and marries outside her community. The author has the ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters because she has had real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. This book was heartfelt and had me wanting more.
Such a heart warming book. I have been to Lancaster Amish country, they are amazing people. I haven't cried so hard with a book in a long time. I hope there will be a sequel.
I thought this book was a great read and began a fabulous trilogy of Hannah's life. It was a great insight into the Amish and Mennonite lives of the characters. Some of the characters struggled staying loyal to their upbringing while others knew they would never sway. I enjoyed this book very much and read straight thru the other two books. I hope you enjoy them too!
Very moving characters. Couldn't put the book down. Would love to read more.
this book is a good book when reading I just couldnt put it down now Im done with it and Im passing the book on
I just finished When the Heart Cries and must say, "This is an awesome book and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read." I started the book last night about 5 p.m. and finished it this afternoon about 3 p.m. It is so good to read Christian books instead of a lot of smut, cursing, and violent stories. Keep up the awesome work.
Hannah was raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family. She was only 17-years-old when she fell in love with Paul, an educated Mennonite. They knew their different backgrounds would lead to problems. However, the romance of Paul and Hannah acts as only the scenery behind this story. Through no fault of her own, tragedy struck Hannah. Not only does her family turn against her, so does Paul. Only her faith can carry her through the following events. Hannah finds herself questioning the Old Ways of her people. This is a moving story of Hannah, her faith, and beliefs. Things are not always the way some people see them. You have to believe in yourself even when it seems that no one else does. God is always there for you. Cindy Woodsmall calls on her background in this story. When The Heart Cries is a sad story. This book needs a bit of editing. Woodsmall already has plans to follow up with a sequel.
Cindy Woodsmall provides interesting insight into the lives of the Old Order Amish. The character of Hannah Lapp is intelligent, strong, and compassionate. Hannah, undergoing heart wrenching circumstances, perseveres despite many obstacles. The reader will be completely wrapped up in the story from beginning to end. The ending will then prompt the reader to begin the sequel, When Morning Comes, immediately!
This series is one of my favorite. I would highly recommend these books, especially if you also like to read Beverly Lewis and Wanda Brunstetter. So many interesting characters in this book and the two that follow.
I expected this to be complete fluff like most of Christian fiction I've read, but found instead an emotionally complex story that was skillfully written. It's hard to believe that this is the author's first novel. I recommend this to readers who typically prefer literary fiction and are leery about Christian fiction. While maintaining the books' Christian roots, the author does not fall into the trap of sugarcoating things that many Christian authors do, and I found that refreshing.
I had a very hard time reading this book. The Amish books I've read, and there haven't been many, always show a loving supportive family who have a strong faith and a bond that seems to be tight. This book, When the Heart Cries, isn't like that. You have an abusive father who controls his family through fear. A wife afraid of her husband and children (even the older ones) afraid of their father.Hannah Lapp has a desire to escape the Amish community she was raised in and promises to marry a young Mennonite man before he heads off to finish his last year of college. The day he leaves Hannah walks home after telling him goodbye and ends up being viciously raped. Even with that I thought the book would only get better but when she arrives home, in shock, torn and shaking - her mother collapses, her father swears her to silence - so he can decide if he is going to tell the Bishop and tells her it is not their way to seek revenge by contacting the police. Not even to save another girl from going through what Hannah went through.To top it off, Hannah now feels that Paul isn't going to want her if he finds out what happened to her. She withdraws to the bedroom and the top floor of the house and it isn't until her brother gets into a car-buggy accident and she and her mother go to the hospital to help him that she finds out that she has rights as a woman. Her family turns against her and Hannah is in a tailspin....I think it's obvious I didn't care for this book. I found it really hard to read - the father more than any other character in the book bothered me and I would of liked to see him taken down a peg or two. Personally I don't think I would put this book out around your kids - unless it's a book that you and your daughters are reading together - but please don't read this until your girls are at least 16 years old. It is definitely not for younger teens - but for older kids it would be a good opportunity to discuss women's rights, safety and what to do in a bad situation.
Amish fiction is my favorite new genre, and for a first novel, this author does an admirable job. She has an excellent writing style, and the book certainly kept me wondering about what was going to happen. That being said, the twists in the story were a bit over the top, in my opinion. I found a lot of it quite unbelievable, which tainted the novel a bit for me. I was annoyed with some of the characters toward the end, and I ended up skimming some sections because I found the characters' reactions to be so utterly absurd. Instead of the idyllic Amish lifestyle of Beverly Lewis' books, this was a bit like an Amish soap opera. That being said, I did get the second book from the library, so I am interested to see how things turn out for Hannah.
Who said that the Amish live a simple life?I was not sure what to expect when I borrowed this book. The reviews I saw were all stellar, so I thought I'd at least give the first book a try. The first chapter was OK, I thought I may have to put it down. I didn't want to read about milking cows and young love.But then....Excuse my French but JESUS CHRIST! Chapter 2 grabbed me by the throat and it never let up. The book synopsis does not tell you what really happens in this book, it tells you the underlying story but doesn't give away the real juicy stuff. If it doesn't, I won't either.All I can say is Hannah is a seventeen year old Amish girl who has a horrible experience and the choices she makes causes her life to spin out of control, it is one thing after another. There are very few breathers or lulls in this book. Women have it rough in life, but Amish women...man oh man!
This was a wonderful tale of Hannah an Amish girl who suffers a truely awful experience. Have your tissues ready. Parts of this book are just heartbreaking. You learn so much about Amish traditions and the old way of doing things. You see how her family and community react to her assault and how they view her. Instead of helping her through this, they literally turn thier back on her and consider her (my words) "dirty". You really feel for this poor girl. You just want to scoop her up and cuddle her and tell her its not her fault and she will be alright. There are other great characters of importance in the story and I assume that these will be addressed in future books. As for Hannah she is so confused and hurt that she runs away. She has no idea about the world she has run to. Without giving much more away, I suggest you read this book. It was well written with great characters. It will teach you things that you may not know about the Amish and thier views and traditions. It was a great story and a great learning experience as well
An interesting look into a world that is foreign to me, even though I live in a county with many Amish residents. The rule of the Ordnung preserves a sense of order and peace, but seems to deny the real peace that is available through Christ's grace.
Hannah Lapp and Paul Wadell are in love and plan to be married. There is only one problem-Paul is Mennonite and Hannah is is Old Order Amish, so their love and their engagement have to be kept secret until Paul can win her father's approval.On the day Paul proposes, Hannah is walking home when a man stops to ask directions. Hannah is unable to get away and he drags her into his car and rapes her, shattering the world Hannah has known and the future she and Paul have so carefully planned.
Hannah Lapp has grown up in the Old Order Amish ways but has decided she wants to break free. She finds this opportunity when her Mennonite boyfriend proposes to her and she accepts. But before she can rejoice in the prospect of a new life, an unthinkable incident happens to her. To make matters worse, her whole family has seemed to turn against her, offering her no help in her tragic situation. Worse yet, she is not able to contact her fiance to tell her what happened, causing him to think she wants to end the relationship. Just when Hannah thinks nothing could go worse, another event takes place that makes her young life become even more painful than it should be.This was probably one of the most difficult books I've ever had to read. Normally it'll take me a couple days to a week to finish a book. However this book took me a month and a half to finish. I usually devour Amish fiction like there's no tomorrow. It's one of my favorite genres. This book unfortunately did not make my favorites list in this genre. I just dreaded reading about the horrible things that kept happening to Hannah and seeing how badly she was being treated by everyone especially her parents. Without spoiling the entire story, I was very disappointed at the way Hannah's situation was treated. I know that the Amish do not like to bring attention to themselves and are willing to forgive even the most heinous of crimes. However, that is no reason to blame your daughter for her getting raped! Then to top it off, the family doesn't press charges on the guy even though he might very well go and do the same thing to other women in the community! Rape is something in books that I feel justice must be served. I really hate it when I read about how the victim is blamed for the attack. It's one thing for the girl to blame herself from feelings of self guilt, but it's totally wrong when the PARENTS blame her for what happened. Hannah's whole life seems to be doomed from the beginning with Murphy's law just waiting for her at every corner. I did not like her sister at all, I have a feeling that there will be more trouble making from her. Her relationship with Paul seems to have the problem of a lack of communication. I wish the author had simply allowed them to sit down, talk things through, and get everything out on the table so no one would get confused or suspicious. But I guess if that happened there wouldn't be a story then.I will say though that if there's anyone in this story that is a positive influence to Hannah, it is her friend Mary. Even without knowing Hannah's problem and the fact that she's had a traumatic experience herself, Mary stays by Hannah's side throughout the book even to the point of defending her against the man she loves who happens to be Hannah's brother. I only wish Hannah's family could have acted in the same way. It was interesting to learn more about the Amish lifestyle but as I said, the subject matter in this book made me uncomfortable and did not help to entice me to read the book. I'm not saying that I needed a happy ending with the story, and I know that there are more books in the series. I just could not fathom being a parent, having your daughter be raped, blame her for it, refuse to do anything to help her, and then still call yourself a Christian. I do have the other two books in the series, and I know that things will eventually get better for Hannah. Hopefully it won't take me as long to finish those books.
What that "unwelcome encounter" really is:You know how books and movies often come with warnings for rape and violence? This one didn't come with a warning, and as a result I was very upset when I read what happened to Hannah. And I'm sorry if this spoils the book for people, but I wish somebody had spoiled me-- I might have skipped this series, or at least have been prepared when it happened.I was VERY surprised. The story started off normally, but that "unwelcome encounter" (as it is called on the book's backcover) really surprised me. I really wasn't expecting something so horrible to happen, especially since the back cover really fails to impress upon you the terribleness of the situation. I don't know how anyone can call rape an "unwelcome encounter."This is the reason for my low rating of the book. If I wanted to read a book about rape and recovery, I'd read it. And I have read it, as it is a subject visted again and again by countless authors. Because I understand that rape happens. I don't want to sweep it under the rug and never talk about it, or make victims feel like it was their fault--because it most definitely is not their fault. But I'm not sure I would have picked this up if I had known what was going to happen. I don't usually like to spend most of my reading with my eyes blurred from tears- which is what happened continuously as I read this.Like the others, I'll be picking up the next book to find out what happens to Hannah, which I suppose was the author's goal.But after this I won't be reading any more by this author. This book really turned me off and I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone looking for light-hearted Amish fiction. And isn't that why we read Amish fiction? To escape from our own world, to a place of kind and loving people who, while they have their own difficulties and struggles, fall in and out of love like the rest of us as they attempt to find their true place in lfe? The sisters of the Quilt series continues with: When the Morning Comes (Sisters of the Quilt, Book 2) When the Soul Mends (Sisters of the Quilt, Book 3). I can definitely recommend: Hidden (Sisters of the Heart, Book 1), Wanted (Sisters of the Heart, Book 2), and The Parting (The Courtship of Nellie Fisher, Book 1)
The old addage "Don't judge a book by its cover" certainly applies very literally to this work of fiction. I read this book because it was the selection of the month for a book club I recently became a part of. Honestly, because of the cover and the description on the back I thought this would be a lot of idyllic utopian meanderings filled with Christianease. But an open mind won over the cynicism, and the first few pages did feel like things were going that way but then....All I will say is, boy was I wrong! This book is gut wrenchingly intense and deep. I am a survivor of the major traumas described in this book and I will say, the author really knows what goes on in the minds, bodies, and souls of victims of these terrible kinds of events. She describes the feelings that are experienced with harrowing accuracy. Because of having suffered these same things myself, this book was very difficult for me to read but it was also very therapeutic, helping me connect with emotions I had walled off. While this is not fun, it is a necessary part of the healing process. This book is the first in a trilogy and it is a good thing because the story is not wrapped up at the end. I ordered the next two when I was about halfway finished with this one and am awaiting their arrival. I want to offer my deep gratitude to Cindy for being a voice for those the world would rather not acknowledge. To the skeptical reviewer who said these events were unbelievable or unrealistic, I say that I so wish they were. I stand as a witness to sadly testify that there are those of us who have been through all of these things and more.
Hannah Lapp is engaged to marry Paul Waddell and confident that life will be good once her family accepts him. Hannah is Old Order Amish and Paul is a Mennonite, which won¿t please her father.As she is walking home after agreeing to marry Paul, she is thrown into a car and raped. She is afraid to tell Paul or her Amish community and refuses to see a doctor, but must face one problem after another on her own.Hannah finds herself questioning her traditions, especially as the rumors fly regarding her conduct. Can she and Paul make a life together? Will her family and friends support her when they don¿t understand what is happening? This debut novel will be enjoyed by anyone who likes Beverly Lewis¿ stories about the Amish.
i always love her books.
There is already a darkclan which is currently being reformed for like the third or fourth time. I polietly ask you to change the name of your clan. <p>Sincerly, <br> Dovespots and Dawnsly of Darkclan <p> Shadowflame Btw can i join?