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September 16, 2017





The Amish of Summer Grove

Book 3 of 3


Cindy Woodsmall


Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, will Ariana's new perspectives draw her family closer together or completely rip them apart?



Cindy WoodsmallCindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written nineteen (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 one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

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.



 Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,

Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—or completely rip them apart? After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?
Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.  Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

MY THOUGHTS:  This is book three of three in the series, Summer Grove. The first two books were TIES THAT BIND and FRAYING AT THE EDGE.  I always can tell if a book has meant something to me when I finish and I want more.  This has been the way with this series.  I'm an Amish genre lover but this series has been one of a kind.This third book is a continuation of Araina's story. I would definitely suggest reading the three books in order so you get the background on the characters and what's been going on.After Ariana has returned to her Old Order home from being in the Englisch world, she has many different feelings.  At times she forgets about the Amish ways. You don't question your daed and when Araina does, her daed doesn't understand why his sweet daughter is questioning his authority.  She's been in the Englisch world where asking questions and rebelling is part of life, but in the Amish world, questions are not asked by a daughter to her daed.  She is now back in The Old Order Amish community and she must go by the rules.    She is seen as rebelling and that is unacceptable. Will her Englisch ways spread to others in the Old World Community?  Especially the young ones who are at that point of questioning where they belong, plain or Englisch.  She is trying  to put sense to what she's learned from her natural parents and the rules of her plain world.  There are also secrets of sorts.  Skylar has finally found sobriety and feels at peace in the household of the Brenneman's.  What will Araina's coming back to the household do to her?  She feels her sobriety is threatened.   Skylar finally has become herself, she has found her true self and she has tried hard to put the past in the past.   But with Araina's coming home, will that past stay in the past?  Two people, Araina and Skylar must find what connects them and hold their faith and God close to their hearts to keep that past in the past.   They can't let go of their faith.

As always, Ms. Woodsmall has given us another wonderful, heart warming story about the Amish world. She has combined the plain world with the Englisch world.  We are given two young women who are finding themselves, grasping their faith, and learning new things.  The characters and the scenes are well described and lighten the heart.  I always find that reading an Amish book rests my soul a bit.  It brings a peacefulness after a long, stressful day.  It also reminds the reader of their faith, regardless of what that may be.  You don't have to be religious to enjoy this book or any Amish book.   They are just good clean reads about another way of life and there are lessons to be learned while enjoying a good book, good characters that you can connect to  and lovely caring communities.

I received a copy of this book and voluntarily decided to review it.

I would give this book 5 SOLID STARS. 


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