Monday, November 4, 2013

Christmas In Apple Ridge By Cindy Woodsmall Book Review

// Christmas In Apple Ridge //
A Three-in-One Christmas Novella Collection
By Cindy Woodsmall
{Review By Bethany}
Title: Christmas In Apple Ridge
{The Sound of Sleigh Bells, The Christmas Singing & The Dawn of Christmas}
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Source: I received a review copy from
Number of Pages: 576
ISBN: 0307730999
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: October 9th, 2012
Bethany's Rating of the Collection : 4 out of 5 stars
{Individual rating per novella are in the reviews}

// Book Synopsis //

"Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?"

// Bethany's Book Review //

I've only read Cindy Woodsmall's works once before, and that was a couple years ago, so going into this three-in-one novella collection, it was almost like reading a new author for me. I really enjoyed the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation from the past and how it was a strong thread in all three of the novellas.
// The Sound of Sleigh Bells //

3 stars
This novella was a nice read focusing on forgiving yourself for things from your past, and moving on without guilt or burdens. The main character, Beth Hertzler, dealt with a dark past which she continually put all the blame on herself, and allowed her guilt to refuse her to move on with her life, and had to learn to deal with it throughout the story.
While I did like reading Beth and Jonah's story in this novella, I somehow didn't feel like I connected with the story, and I felt like there were hardly any secondary characters or other parts of the story-all of it was devoted to Beth and Jonah and you don't really get to meet anyone else or see any other stories within the story, so to speak. However, even though I had a hard time connecting with the book, I did enjoy it, especially the significance of sleighs, and loved seeing Beth's life be redeemed and how she overcame her guilt and moved on with life.
While this is considered a Christmas novella, I'd say it's a good read year-round as only the last few chapters of the book were set during Christmas, and the main focus of the book when Beth and Jonah get to know each other happens throughout the year.

// The Christmas Singing //

4 stars
After reading The Sound of Sleigh Bells, which in my opinion was nice but not a favorite, I was glad to find that I enjoyed The Christmas Singing better than the first novella. I really enjoyed how the main character, Mattie, owned a cake decorating business, and since I have an interest in cake making and decorating myself, I found Mattie to be a very likable character that I enjoy reading about; and was able to relate to.
I liked how the romance was kept to a minimal in this novella, since the two characters don't even have spoken feelings for each other until the very end of the story, keeping the romance low and clean. However, this aspect of the book where the characters didn't like each other until the last bit of the story sort of bugged me. I mean for the whole novella they don't have an interest in each other-at least not outwardly displayed, and then all of the sudden they like each other before the story ends. While it wasn't a huge con in my opinion, I was just a small detail I noticed.
However I did enjoy getting to continue Beth and Jonah's story, and liked how the second novella had some of the main characters from The Sound of Sleigh Bells. I always enjoy revisiting old characters, and loved reading about Beth and Jonah's wedding as well as seeing Mattie's part in making their wedding cake.

// The Dawn of Christmas //

4 stars
The Dawn of Christmas was the perfect completion to this lovely three-in-one Christmas novella collection, giving a wonderful wrap-up to all three novellas. I loved how this novella had old characters from the two previous novellas, and loved getting to see married life for the two couples from the other novellas, as well as joining in the joy with a certain couples news! The Dawn of Christmas was one of my favorite novellas from this collection, and I really liked Sadie's stubborn and spunky personality-and though Levi was the perfect match for her. Sadie's sarcastically humorous personality left me laughing at some lines, and I really enjoyed reading about her, as she is quite a unique character and added a lot of life to the story.
I also really enjoyed the story line and order of events, especially how Sadie and Levi met. I found it to be a very unique situation and alongside their personalities, I found it a memorable scene for me. Out of all the novellas, I'd have to say that story-wise, this one was my favorite in terms of how the couple met, and the events that played out the thereafter. I found Sadie and Levi's meeting and relationship to be very unique and found it to be a nice light read, which I am glad to have been able to read.
Overall, I really enjoyed these hard-warming novellas from Cindy Woodsmall. All three of these novellas are perfect for settling down and relaxing with the Plain folk while enjoying a short Christmas read that is filled with virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation as well as a great story line. While I enjoyed the last two novellas better than the first, I enjoyed seeing the continuation of the characters from the first novella in the other ones, and would recommend these novellas to Amish fiction lovers or to anyone seeking a shorter Christmas novella.
N O T E :: I received a free copy of Christmas in Apple Ridge through Blogging For Books to read and review. I was not paid in any way to do so, and was not required to give a good review if I didn't like the book. All thoughts expressed in the review are my own and completely honest and unbiased.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank You For Commenting! Please make sure that you use clean language, as all comments will be monitored before being published.