More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.
Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.
When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite Or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?
Cindy 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. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the second most popular author of Amish fiction, following Beverly Lewis.
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 book club met last night to discuss the fourth and final book in the Amish Vines and Orchards series by Cindy Woodsmall. We have been anticipating Seasons of Tomorrow for months and were not disappointed in the conclusion of this great series. The novel got a unanimous thumbs-up and generated lots of good discussion. We highly recommend all the books in this series.
The King and Byler families have faced numerous hardships and heartbreaks since establishing an Amish community in Maine. Now with a good harvest finally in, perhaps they can relax a bit. But life proceeds and its physical and emotional struggles continue. But there is hope in the new love, new life and strengthened relationships for all the characters in Seasons of Tomorrow.
The characters are what my book club liked most about this series, and Seasons of Tomorrow continued to develop old and new favorites. We all loved the introduction of Esther. She was a breath of fresh air. We also were pleased with the tracks that Jacob, Landon and Leah took. As one of our members stated “it ended exactly the way I wanted it to”. Hope and freedom were expressed as the characters fought to break free from past regrets and guilt to step into futures that pointed towards God’s will for their lives.
Seasons of Tomorrow is set in an Old Amish Order and part of our discussion revolved around the restrictions that the man-made Ordnung placed on church members. That discussion led us into how our own denominations keep believers from the true freedom which is in Christ.
All in all, Seasons of Tomorrow was a sure winner for us. If you have not read any of the books in this series, make sure to start with book 1, A Season for Tending. The books build upon each other and are not intended for stand alone reading.
(Thanks to Waterbrook Press for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine and my book club’s.)
To purchase this book, click on the image below.
Would you like a copy of Seasons of Tomorrow? Leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. The winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator no later than June 23.