Book Review: The Winnowing Season

10 Jun

730046_w185The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?
 
On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.
 
Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.
 
Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

Excerpt

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cw_bioCindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

My Impressions:

The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall is book 2 of 3 of the Amish Vines And Orchards series. This book is not a standalone; you really need to read book one first. (See my review of A Season for Tending HERE.) Book 2 continues the story of Rhoda Byler and the King family as they move to Maine to establish a new Amish community and to revitalize an apple orchard and their businesses. They are all eager to start a new chapter in their lives, but trouble seems to follow Rhoda and soon their determination to start afresh and live apart is disrupted. There are also secrets from the past that just won’t relinquish their hold.

I really enjoyed The Winnowing Season, as I have all of Woodsmall’s books. My book club, By The Book, will be discussing it in a few days, and I anticipate a good discussion of the Amish way of life, the lure of the world for a Christian, and the destructive nature of secrets. The book is a bridge of sorts. It advanced the story begun in book 1, but little is resolved. There are still plenty of loose strings for Woodsmall to tie up in book 3, For Every Season. Of course, that one will be on our schedule as soon as it’s published.

My group does not regularly read Amish fiction, and Woodsmall is the only author in that genre that we have read. She appeals to the die-hard suspense junkies, the romance lovers and to all of us who love a good story. If you have not read any of her books, pick up A Season for Tending and The Winnowing Season. You won’t be disappointed.

Recommended.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase the books in this series, click on the images below.

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3 Responses to “Book Review: The Winnowing Season”

  1. Diane Estrella June 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Great review. Thanks for sharing!

    BTW-I have numerous book giveaways going on at my site if you want to stop over and take a look.

    Also, I am hosting a “Best of Books” BlogHop if you’d like to check that out and sign up.

    Hope you have a wonderful week!!!

    Diane
    http://dianeestrella.com/best-ofs/

    • rbclibrary June 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by. I will be sure to check out the happenings on your blog!

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