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Book Review: The Winnowing Season; Book 2 In The Amish Vines and Orchard Series

About the Book

A Winnowing SeasonThe tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?

On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.

Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.

Book 2 of the Amish Vines and Orchards series asks: can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

My Rating

5 out of 5

My Review

Rarely is a second book way better than the first. This book is one of such. There was never a dull moment start to finish. It would be fine as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend that it be read that way at all. The fun in seeing the story in the big picture would be terribly missed, and Cindy is weaving something beautiful here. This book is AWESOME! Talk about a reloaded. A Season for Tending is really good, but it pales in comparison with this one, the second in the series. I was right when I said this book would pass for a good soap opera. So much drama and suspense I could hardly stand from my seat.

I love that this book gave room for everyone’s story to fully develop. Each character was well paced and in the right place. Their personalities were very well crafted and realistic. Emotional response was on check and in the right dose for the right situation.

In Cindy’s own words (actually Jacob’s), Rhoda is a beautiful, sweet, kind, tough, strong and fragile character, and I agree completely. My heart went out to her for all the troubles she constantly had to battle. But she always came out on top.

Jacob is a likeable character, although I liked him more in ‘A Season for Tending’. His constant refusal to face his problems for so long dulled the beauty of his tongue-in-cheek personality, just a bit though. His personality as well as everyone else’s was well crafted.

Samuel was a wonderful character to follow. Fell in love with this guy from book one. He’s strong, focused, determined and very loyal, even when it would deprive him of something he wants really bad. And let me be clear, I’m rooting for Samuel. I’d vote for him any day over Jacob for Rhoda. I found myself cheering every time Samuel was thrust in a situation that would push him to get closer to Rhoda, and I pray it works out that way (as if they’re real people). I can’t help it! Samuel and Rhoda are my favorite characters.

Leah is a delight to watch. I loved to watch her grow into a more mature young woman. My respect for Landon increased ten times over in this book. He seemed the drifter in book one, but was more mature in this one.

Phoebe’s such a sweet heart. Her gentleness, kindness and understanding radiated from the pages so much I could feel it. Steven is gentle, and a strong leader in his own way. I love that this book brought him out more than the bickering brother that he was in book one. He knew when to be a brother, father, husband or leader. He was certainly a sweet addition in this story.

I love how Cindy handled the faith issues in this book. Amish or Englisch, we’re all saved by Christ. She made it clear that understanding this simple truth sheds off a lot of prejudice and wrong judgment.

All I have is praise for the book. Cindy did a brilliant job. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series *winking*. On a serious note, just like the ‘Love Come Softly’ series, I recommend that this be made it into a movie.

*Although I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. Many thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.*

About the Author

Cindy WoodsmallCindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author who has written seven novels, four novellas, and Plain Wisdom, a work of nonfiction coauthored with her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life.

She’s a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. 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.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

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.

Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two daughters-in-law, and a new granddaughter.

If you’d like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website: or Facebook


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Book Review ~ For Every Season (Amish Vines & Orchards Series, Book #3) | To Be A Person

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