Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Winnowing Season By Cindy Woodsmall Book Review

The Winnowing Season, Amish Vines and Orchards Series #2// T h e   W i n n o w i n g   S e a s o n //// A m i s h    Vi n e s    &    O r c h a r d s     B o o k   # 2 //

B y   C i n d y   W o o d s m a l l

R e v i e w    B y    M a d i

Title: The Winnowing Season
Author: Cindy Woodsman
Source: Review Book
Number Of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780307730046
Publisher: WaterBrook
Publication Date: 2013
My Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars 
D e s c r i p t i o n (T a k e n   F r o m Amazon ) :
"The 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?"
M a d i ' s   R e v i e w :
I would like to start off by giving a heart-felt "thank you" to Blogging 4 Books for giving me this free copy of "The Winnowing Season" By Cindy Woodsmall for my honest opinion. All thoughts and sentiments are my very own, and I was not paid to do this review :).
  I have read only one other of Cindy's books that I remember, and it was a pretty long time ago. In all honesty I didn't even remember reading any of Cindy's work until a friend reminded me about it. As far as I can tell, she is a remarkable author. BUT . . . I can't really give you a great idea of what this author is about. This book is the second in a series, and I have not read either of it's companions. Therefore, I did not get the beginning OR the ending, which is something that I did not realize until AFTER I got the book. So, not remembering the last book of hers that I read because it was so long ago, and only having part of this story, I can only give you my opinion on what I read.
 This story is kind of a hot mess at first. There was WAY too much going on at one time (though I might have felt differently if I had read the first book. Like I said, I'm calling 'em as I see 'em). There are three or four main people whose story this book focuses on. Sometimes it was a little hard to jump around from story to story at first, because to be honest I felt like Cindy didn't really give me a any real depth or description to the characters. Though I eventually learned about their personalities, I think it would have been nice for her to give a little bit of a back-story. The only one she did that on in the beginning was Rhoda (one of the main characters). Though I can see why she held back on Jacob's back-story (another lead character) for story line purposes, I would have liked to have been able to see a little bit more into Jacob's brother Samuel (another lead) before he was made out to be a spoiled brat. I like feeling connected with the characters that I read about, and I really didn't feel that way about this book. In the beginning Rhonda and Jacob were my favorites, then I felt like  Jacob was portrayed as a totally different person in the second half of the book. It's confusing. Let me tell you a little about the plot.
Rhonda was born with a special gift that was given to her by God. She has a keen sense of intuition. I'm not just talking about common sense, sometimes things are revealed to her before she even knows what's happening. Her whole life she has been trying to smother this gift, because it made people hate her. Everyone except a few select friends thought it was witchcraft, and others were just extremely suspicious about her. Her whole life she was tormented because of this gift, and right now she just wants a fresh start. When her business partners Samuel and Jacob King find an apple orchard in Unity, Maine, she is more than relieved to move away and start building a new Amish community with them and their friends/employees. But there is a snag. Samuel has contacted the elders of her church about the vandalism to her garden a few months prior, and now she may not be able to leave at all. Boy did he get an ear full . . .
Samuel is the younger of the two brothers (Jacob is his brother), though he seems much wiser.
Although he makes his fair share of mistakes, Samuel has a pretty level head on his shoulders. He only has one weakness . . . Rhoda. His brothers girl. He doesn't want to betray his brother, so he tries to put some distance between himself and Rhoda, which is hard since they work together . . . every day. At first he tries being rude, because he just can't keep bantering and teasing with her and keep quiet. Then, when he realizes that taking out his frustrations on her isn't fair, he just does his best to never be around her without Jacob. But pretty soon he's left with no choice.
Jacob's future is to have a past. When he was younger and going through his "wild phase" he did some things that he wasn't proud of, and now it's all coming back to haunt him. He is constantly having to leave his girlfriend Rhoda to take care of someone else or hide from cameras. Will his constant absence and lack of support tear the most important person in his life away from him?
This trio and Leah (The sister of the two King boys that is yet another main factor in the book), move to Maine and start construction on their new home and business. It's a long, hard battle, but it is well fought. When a lawsuit is filed against Rhoda and Jacob isn't there for her, she leans on her friend Samuel. I can't really tell you any more without spoiling the whole book, but there is a lot that goes on at the Kings orchard. 
I would not recommend reading this book without reading the first one in the series first. There are some books that you can read out of order and it won't really matter, but this isn't one of them. I feel like "The Winnowing Season" started with a lot of problems, and NONE of them were resolved by the end of the book. In the last chapter Rhonda still hasn't made up her mind about two brothers and which one she has feelings for, her intuition is going crazy, there was no explanation about her former hippie neighbors and why she keeps hearing a child cry, and she is still seeing her murdered sister everywhere. There were more unsolved issues in the end then there was in the beginning. Though I don't care if there is a happy ending, there should at least be SOME kind of ending. That being said, I think that if I were to read a complete story by Cindy Woodsmall's, I would enjoy it immensely. She has a knack for coming up with some of the most unique things I've ever read. She doesn't do the same-old same-old stuff like a lot of Amish Fiction authors. I think you should read one of her single/non-series books first to see what you think, because each book is totally different.
Thank you for your support!
~The Literary Maidens

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