Ties that Bind
By Cindy Woodsmall
Published by WaterBrook Press
ISBN# 978-1601426994

Back Cover: Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.  

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever. Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

REVIEW: This author hooked me from the start, “Gnarled fingers of smoke seeped under the closed door of the old house. Fear threatened to steal Lovina’s ability to obey her husband’s departing words to stay put.”

This story tugged at my heart strings. I couldn’t put down. I instantly connected with the characters and felt for their situation. Cindy skillfully pens a powerfully moving story that could be ripped from today’s headlines and affects both the Amish and the Engischer world.  

I enjoyed this novel because it didn’t exclusively stay inside the Amish community. This author does a great job creating a tender story with believable characters I could relate to. I enjoyed her well timed humor and getting to the heart of the matter in relationships inside the family and outside in the world.

Here's a peek at the main Amish female character Ariana says about being a sister, “Sisterhood was like having a vivid rainbow and a gloomy thunderstorm in the same room at the same time.” LOL!

Here's a peek at leading male Amish character; Quill and what he shares about relationships, “People’s point of views were tricky in any relationship. That was especially true with him and Ariana. Quill had a helicopter view of the event in broad daylight. She wasn’t to blame for seeing him from the vantage point available to her (which was limited).”…He told Ariana “We have to allow people to make their own decisions about what’s right and wrong for them?” Quill is a complex young man who believes with all his heart he’s here to help people through the hard times. He wants to help them make the right choice for them no matter what the Old Order church says. This young man was loyal, responsible and wise.

Quill reflects on words found in a book from the Plymouth colony that help him.” All great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties…Hardship wasn’t an indicator of being right or wrong. It was a sign of being alive.”

Ariana aspires to own her own restaurant that would benefit her whole family; at the same time she is fearful a family member wants to leave the Amish community. She thinks about the “fear Amish parents lived with …after welcoming newborns into the fold, watching over them with love and prayers for two decades, give or take, and then to see them across a great divide, standing in the world with the Amish on the other side. Did Englisch parents live with such fear, for their children – the terror that the fires of hell would swallow their loved ones?”

This is not your typical Amish story where a person is unhappy with the Old Order ways and wants to embrace the ways of the World. It’s so much more. This author does a brilliant job of engaging readers in this heart-wrenching tale that has two families think about what’s important to God, to themselves, and others. I can’t wait to read the next book in The Amish of Summer Grove series. I’m fascinated to see where this amazing author takes these characters next. This would make a great book club pick. There is so much to talk about that is relevant to everyone. This book is a keeper!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St Laurent                                               

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