About the Book
More settled in her heart than ever before, Rhoda Byler feels a newfound confidence living in the Old Order Amish settlement she helped establish in Orchard Bend, Maine. Time has helped to heal the wounds of Rhoda’s recent severed relationship, and she finds that even her unusual gift of profound intuition is less of a burden as she continues to seek God’s wisdom for her future. She is happy to be working alongside the King family and the love of her life as they tend and nurture the settlement’s orchard.
Yet when Leah King’s involvement with Englischer Landon Olson becomes known outside of the Maine community, her disregard of the Ordnung could threaten all the Orchard Bend Amish are building. In the midst of addressing the discord, a shocking tragedy challenges the young settlement like never before, threatening to uproot Rhoda’s peace and the future of everything she holds dear.
When several members of Orchard Bend Farms are displaced, the estranged King brother is called upon to return. Can those who founded the new Amish community in Maine unite Or will the lingering pain of past hurts and present struggles result in the end of their dreams?
**** (4 Stars)
This book concludes the Amish Vines and Orchards Series, and in a fine way. This is one of those series that I started with the intention of finishing, and I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.
After reading book #3, For Every Season, I wondered what could make book #4 a book to look forward to, as I felt the best had already happened. I was pleasantly surprised. So many issues that had trickled down from book #1 resurfaced, and were dealt with in a way that brought the story to full circle. Orchard Bend Farm was exposed to external elements/reactions more than ever before; the faith/resolves of the people were thoroughly put to the test; and the seemingly “permissive” Amish culture established by it new occupants was threatened and shaken. I found this book engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking.
Jacob and Esther’s story wasn’t exactly rushed, but it didn’t enjoy the luxury of the full length of the series, as opposed to that of the other characters. That didn’t mean it wasn’t satisfying. It was. I just wish I enjoyed it as much as Samuel/Rhoda’s and Landon/Leah’s stories.
Overall, the entire series came together neatly with a singular theme that rang true—trust God with your future no matter how confusing it may appear to be at the moment; in time, the beauty in your story will unfold. As the final book, some parts of the plot seemed rushed, and understandably so, but that didn’t affect the story in a negative way. I must add that I’m still not satisfied with the explanation of Rhoda’s gift. Something about it still doesn’t seem right. As for literary quality, this is another well done work by Woodsmall. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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About the Author
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written a dozen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. 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. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.
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.