Monday, November 21, 2011

The Harvest of Grace

Recently, I finished reading The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall. This is the third book in the Ada's House series. This book introduces us to Sylvia Fisher. Sylvia is very interested in tending and nurturing the herd on her family's dairy farm. A betrayal followed by a close interaction with a former beau lead her to move from home and take a job at the Blank's farm, a debt-ridden dairy farm. Shortly after she arrives, Aaron Blank, who we met in an earlier book of this series, returns home from rehab, ready to convince his parent's to get out from under the farm and move to town with him to run an Amish appliance store. As the story unfolds, many familiar members of the community make their appearance in the story - Grey, Lennie, Cara, Ephraim, Ada, and more.

There is just something so intriguing to me about Amish stories. I am fascinated by their lifestyle, the seeming simplicity of their lives unencumbered or distracted by modern conveniences. (Although, I suppose they likely are distracted by the modern conveniences that they see in the world around them, but are unable to benefit from.) The drive of their faith that makes it possible for them to live their simple life amongst the modern world has fascinated me ever since our friends moved to northern Indiana when I was 13 or 14 and we would visit them and drive through Amish-country. One of my high school term papers focused on three religious groups that have maintained a more simple life amongst modern society - the Amish, the Mennonite and the German Baptist community. Sometimes, I think it is their exceptions that are the most intriguing, along with the Rumspringa that allows the youth to explore the modern world before joining their faith and committing to their simple lifestyle.

When I read a book set in an Amish community, in part, I am looking for glimpses into the lives of the Amish and what makes them who they are. Cindy Woodsmall, having a friend and "consultant" that is Amish is able to paint an excellent backdrop for her storyline (they wrote a book together called Plain Wisdom). Then, as a writer, she is able to take that backdrop and weave a story of challenges and victories, sorrow and joy, heartbreak and love, in the most delightful way that engages the reader and keeps them wanting to know more.

No compensation was received for this review. A copy of the book was provided by Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own.

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