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Saturday, March 31, 2012

“When the Soul Mends” by Cindy Woodsmall

When Hannah Lapp left Owl’s Perch, she made a new life for herself in Ohio.  Between dating the wealthy Martin Palmer, caring for his niece and nephew, taking nursing classes, and working at a midwifery clinic, Hannah is finally at peace with her Englischer life; at least, she is until her Amish sister calls, insisting that she return home.  After being reunited with family and friends, circumstances prevent another clean break – and this time Hannah must work with her former fiancé to find help for her sister.  As Hannah begins to find closure for the heartbreaking events that led to her leaving, she must make a choice:  will she find the peace that she craves in Ohio with Martin, or in Pennsylvania with Paul?

I loved this book.  In fact, I loved the whole series.  I read the first book, When the Heart Cries, some time ago, and I immediately tracked down the second two to read.  Another reading of this one confirmed my initial impression – it is just as riveting, just as dramatic, just as real as it was the first time through.

Some of the Amish fiction stories that I’ve read make everything in the Amish world appear peaceful and serene, as if the biggest problem an Amish person ever faces is which field to plow and whether to marry English or Amish; but you’ll never get that false impression from one of Woodsmall’s books.  Woodsmall applies real life, contemporary issues to Amish characters and then digs deep to see how they might find resolution.  Each detail, each nuance, each character is intertwined, and the depth of the relationship and the soul-searching that must be done before these major decisions are made is well explored. 

These dramatic problems create charasmatic, real characters who appear to be people you might just meet walking down the street.  In fact, having grown up in the region of this book’s setting, I was tempted to get out a map to ascertain exactly which towns were real, because who wouldn’t want to visit City Island in Harrisburg and run into Hannah?

If you like Amish fiction, hurry to your nearest retailer and read When the Soul Mends.  If you’ve tried Amish fiction before and weren’t impressed, give it another shot – Woodsmall is sure to change your mind.

I received a free copy of When the Soul Mends from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

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