Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall

The Winnowing Season is book two in the Amish Vines and Orchards series.  It starts out with a recap of A Season for Tending, which I appreciated since I would not have known what was going on without that help.  The main characters are Rhoda Byler and the two brothers who love her, Samuel and Jacob King.  In book one, the Kings’ apple orchard and their community was devastated by a tornado.  Rhoda, her brother’s family, and the Kings are moving to Maine from Pennsylvania to start over in an abandoned orchard and begin a new Amish community as other relatives join them.  Rhoda is in partnership with the Kings because of her horticulture experience and canning expertise.  Jacob has many secrets from his past, which still have a grip on his life, causing him to be absent from the workload and his relationship with Rhoda every time she needs him.  Samuel is always there, steady, interfering, and usually in conflict with Rhoda.
Rhoda has several issues in her life that cause her pain; she feels guilty that her sister was murdered and she had not kept it from happening.  She has insights into people’s lives that have caused the Amish leaders to be suspicious of her.  She is anxious to move far away from her church family because the treatment she has received has been painful.  She is misunderstood and taken advantage of by non-Amish, as Jacob is, because of the naiveté of the sheltered lives they have lived.
The very sad part of this book to me is that the characters want to please God, but think pleasing God is all wrapped up in obeying the church leaders and the written and unwritten code of the Amish.  I don’t get the sense that anyone has a personal relationship with Jesus as Savior. 
At the end of the book, none of the conflicts have been resolved.  Obviously, at least one more book is upcoming.  I am a fan of Cindy Woodsmall on Facebook and this week, she asked what color of wedding dress Rhoda should have; so I assume the next book will resolve the triangle love situation in this one.
I received this e-book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for my honest review.

Book Review: Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story

I have always been a fan of Joni since her first book.  I was aware of her bout with breast cancer in 2010 and prayed for her as she went through that deep trial.  As I read this book, I appreciated how she and Ken are so transparent about the joys and struggles of their marriage, and their deepening relationship with the Lord and each other through the gift of cancer.  I could relate to her cancer story so much, because in 2011, I was also given the gift of breast cancer.  Our diagnosis and treatments matched, even down to the names of the chemo drugs!  I don’t know that I have as dramatic a story to tell as they do, but I completely agree that God can be glorified and bring good out of a journey through cancer.  I cried several times while reading this book.  It is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it.
The only problem I had with the book is that I purchased it as an e-copy, and it was not formatted for my Kindle.  I had to read it on my computer.  If I had known it was not compatible with my Kindle, I would have purchased the print book.