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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells - Blog Tour - Author Cindy Woodsmall

First a sincere thank you to Elizabeth Johnson of Random House for the opportunity to review The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall. Please check back in the afternoon (around 3:00pm) for a giveaway opportunity!!!!

* Category: Fiction - Christian - Romance
* Format: Hardcover, 208 pages
* On Sale: October 6, 2009
* Price: $14.99
* ISBN: 978-0-307-44653-4 (0-307-44653-0)

To Purchase click link: The Sound of Sleigh Bells

Book Summary (from publisher's website): Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

My Review: Every time I read an Amish fiction novel, I am surely more and more pulled into it becoming one of my favorite genres. I have yet to find a piece of work that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. It is often surprising to me as I am a lover of mystery, suspense and quite frankly...horror. I once thought that Amish fiction and Christian fiction for that matter, could not possibly hold my attention. Boy was I happily wrong!

Cindy Woodsmall weaves a story that reads so quickly that I had to force myself to put the book down so as to not finish it too soon. I could have easily finished The Sound of Sleigh Bells in one sitting, but that would have deprived me of an escape into the lives of Beth, Lilly, and Jonah, and that would have been a shame. This book was a vacation into a place so very real, warm and inviting!

I loved each and every character and wished these were people I knew. Who would have thought I wished I could have grown up in a home such as this?

It seems that Jonah and Beth have family members who want absolutely the best for them. They want them both to find happiness in all forms that it can bring. A partner for life is definitely on the top of the list! Beth and Jonah have both seen a side of life that is not easy to traverse through unscathed. Surviving and being comfortable may be just about all either can wish for, but maybe a second chance at joy can happen for both.

My favorite part of this book: When I say that I felt I was on a vacation while reading this book, I speak the absolute truth. The Sound of Sleigh Bells quite literally pulled me away from a very stressful couple of weeks. The descriptions were so vivid and literally created a place in my mind. The family interaction was also fun to read.

I totally would recommend this to anyone who enjoys good fiction. It is a story of healing and a story of removing the clutter of the past. I cannot wait to lend my copy to my mom, because she really will fall in love with this beautifully woven tale! I cannot wait to read more of Cindy Woodsmall's work. I am definitely a new fan!

About the author (from author's website): Cindy Woodsmall is a veteran homeschool mom. 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.

Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a Christian Book Association best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her second book, When the Morning Comes, hit the New York Times best-sellers extended list and the Christian Book Association best-sellers list.

Her third book, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen. It also made the ECPA and the CBA best-sellers list, coming in at number six and eight respectively.

Cindy continues to write and release best-selling works of fiction, and she’s begun work on a nonfiction piece as well.

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 caped 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 U.S.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who open 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.

Cindy, her husband, their three sons and two daughters-in-law reside in Georgia.

To learn more about Cindy and her other works please head on over to her website: www.Cindy


holdenj said...

What nice comments. It sounds like a good story. I know what you mean about Amish or Christian fiction, they are a great genre too.

kalea_kane said...

It really was a great book. I wasn't surprised, because I have enjoyed every book I have read in the genre so far. I am really excited about reading more by Cindy Woodsmall. She has quite a talent. If you haven't read it and would like to get a chance to win it, I'll be having a giveaway up soon that includes a $10 Starbucks card. :)

Pam said...

I enjoyed this book, but I think I liked her other series more. I do think Ms. Woodsmall is very talented though.
I would have liked the starbucks gift card, but I already have the book. Oh, well! :)