When the Soul Mends
By Cindy Woodsmall

Published by Waterbrook Press
336 Pages

Back Cover:
After receiving a desperate and confusing call from her sister, Hannah Lapp reluctantly returns to the Old Order Amish community of her Pennsylvania childhood.

Having fled in disgrace two years earlier, she finally has found a satisfying role in the Englischer world, as well as love with Martin Palmer, a man with whom she can safely entrust her heart. But almost immediately after her arrival in Owl's Perch, the disapproval of those who ostracized her reopens old wounds.

As Hannah is thrown together with former fiancé Paul Waddell to work for her sister Sarah's mental health, unexpected truths surface about the events during Hannah's absence, and she faces an agonizing decision. Will she choose the Englischer world and the man who restored her hope, or will she heed the call to return to the Plain Life and perhaps to her first love?

This intriguing final novel in the Sisters of the Quilts series is richly textured with authentic details drawn from the author's real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families.

REVIEW: I love how Cindy Woodsmall's characters touch the very heart of my soul. This is a story that we all can relate to, no matter what your background. Everyone struggles about where we fit in this lilfe we live, and what God's plan is for our lives. It's no different with Hannah and the community she has come from. Yes, they live a little differently, but the matters of the heart is what draw us together, and help us relate to one another. Here is a glimpse into one of the heart issues I'm talking about, "Your sister understood that love reaches out against all the odds and against all reasonable hope. I learned so much about freedom and hope and faith. Why can't you understand that people and circumstances aren't bound to what you can see in them today? If they were, there would be no need for faith." Wow!! Powerful stuff!

There were several times in this book I just had to laugh out loud. Cindy has a way of describing the simple things in life that touch your heart in unexpected ways and bring a smile to your face. I loved how each book starts where the last one ended. Since Cindy left us with cliff hangers for books one and two, I was glad she started exactly at the edge of the cliff where she left us hanging. I was also thankful that each book had a brief description of who was who. Since it was awhile between reading each book, this was helpful for me to remember who everyone was and where I had left off. Thanks Cindy!!

I also was intrigued with Cindy's ability to weave the lives of the Plain and the Englischers together, yet they were separate. It felt like this was a three dimensional book I was experiencing. Through Hannah, I was able to experience both worlds and see life from every side. I felt Hannah's heart breaking as she discovered things she never knew of her past and how all the pieces fit together. I could also feel for Paul and all his discoveries as well. Life just doesn't seem fair. God never said that it would be. Could I trust that God's power over my life is stronger than anything that happened to me? Something to think about! The author has a way of making me look at my own life through the events in these books and the lives and relationships I read about. Powerful stuff!!

Cindy Woodsmall takes on the topic of mental illness in this book, and does an amazing job of dealing with it from all sides. It's not easy to talk about for anyone – it's hard enough for the outside world to deal with -- but how the Amish/Mennonite people deal with this is one I never thought of. This story stayed with me long after I finished reading the last page. I felt like I had been included in the lives of Hannah, Paul, Martin and all the characters in between. If you have read the other two books you won't want to miss the conclusion to this series. If you haven't read this series it's definitely a must-read for everyone.

Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader


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