My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall is a Three-in-One collection of The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing and an all new novella, The Dawn of Christmas . This book means something special to me as I had the pleasure of getting to know the author a bit better via email and facebook and I was deeply honored that she included one of my original soap recipes in the back of the book. One thing is for certain, this author cares deeply about her fans and about the characters she is writing about. That care and attention becomes evident in the stories she brings to life and gives her readers a window into the very soul of her characters.
The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler has had her heart and spirit broken. She mourns the loss of her fiance far longer than expected and her family worries about her future. When Beth discovers a beautiful carving of Amish children something stirs deep within her soul and seems to mend some of the pain that she has carried in her heart. Her aunt is determined to bring the talented young artist and Beth together, but Jonah has his own painful past. With pain and suffering in both of their lives, will Beth and Jonah be able to overcome their fears and trust in each other?
I had already read this story once before but once again I really enjoyed it. The characters are dealing with very real issues and I found their journey to be one of inspiring faith. Our paths are not always ideal and learning to put our trust in God isn’t always an easy road to travel. This is particularly true when a person’s faith in friends or family has been shaken. This is absolutely one of my all time favorite Christmas novellas!
The Christmas Singing
Gideon made a promise to Mattie that he would always attend the Christmas Singings, a promise he keeps, even now that they are broken up and living separate lives. She has relocated to Ohio and is now the owner of a very successful bakery called “Mattie Cakes”. Not only has she found success there, she has also found a new boyfriend and as much as Gideon dislikes it, there is very little he can do about it without revealing a deep secret that he feels should remain hidden.
When Mattie’s shop burns down, she is forced to return her parent’s home for a visit. Going home means seeing Gideon…something she is not at all interested in. Why did Gideon throw away her love for a flashy English girl? How did it happen? When? How could he throw away their relationship as if it never mattered? At the end of the day though, it is easier to leave those questions unanswered.
As the story unfolds around the pair we also see a glimpse at a few other beloved characters from within the Apple Ridge community. Namely, Jonah, Beth and Lizzie from The Sound of Sleigh Bells as well as Roman and Aden from The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. The small peek into the lives of her other characters and stories is one thing I really enjoy about reading Cindy’s books. I feel like I’m getting to know the entire community and building relationships with them.
The Christmas Singing is a fantastic Christmas tale. One filled with love, understanding and forgiveness. All the things that make up the true meaning of Christmas!
The Dawn of Christmas
Heartbreak seems to abound in Apple Ridge and there is no exception for Sadie. Years have passed her by and the pain of finding her cousin in the arms of her fiance is still fresh in her mind. For the last four years, Sadie has lived away from her family, trying to to get over the betrayal, but the time has come to return home. Eager for some quiet time, Sadie saddles up and heads out for a late night ride. Instead of peace and quiet she finds a scared horse and his rider who has been seriously injured. Sadie learns that his name is Levi, and like her, he places no trust in love.
When Sadie and Levi find themselves pretending to court, both are surprised to find that they have true feelings for one another. Which happens to be a problem since they have both sworn that they will never marry and have their own plans for the future. Then, when Daniel, Sadie’s ex-fiance, makes an appearance, it seems all hope is lost for Sadie and Levi. Can Sadie and Levi learn to trust or will they let the hurt of others keep them from ever experiencing love for themselves?
I really LOVED this story. It was concluded so beautifully and like the previous novellas, it continued the stories of Jonah and Beth as well as Mattie and Gideon. I just about squealed with delight at the continuing of Jonah and Beth’s story and I’m certain that my book crush on Jonah has deepened into book love! It seems I develop quite a few book relationships with the characters in Cindy’s stories and I think anyone that is a fan of Christian Fiction or the Amish Genre will not be disappointed in this book!
About the Author:
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written six novels, three novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. She’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.
A Special Note:
You made my year! I may not know you personally or even all that well but you have been such a blessing to me this year. Your books have given me peace during a difficult time, during the loss of my Evenstar. You have given me courage through your writing and the faith to keep trying to do more, live more and love more and most importantly, the desire to please God with my life. I am proud to answer “Cindy Woodsmall!” when I am asked who my favorite author is and I am so honored that you took the time to reach out to me. God bless you my friend!
With much love,