Review: A Season for Tending [Amish Vines and Orchards Book 1] by Cindy Woodsmall

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Review for A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall

Sometimes we look at other people groups, and because their lives are somewhat different from ours, we think they are idyllic. But as we see in this story, it certainly isn’t true. There is much more we have in common than is dissimilar. As a group, the Amish suffered when the economy downturn hit everyone else. They experience relationship difficulties as we do. They feel the same uncertainties about their future lives. They suffer insecurities, anger, jealousy, envy, ignorance, doubts, and crisis of faith as anyone else would. Many of these struggles are played out in this book.

Rhoda, our main character, is faced with several challenges. Two years ago, her sister died in a freak incident and Rhoda feels guilty for that; she blames herself. She had felt a warning premonition and thinks she failed her sister and family. Now, as the story unfolds, she is being targeted by an Amish man who feeds peoples’ superstitions with rumors about her. Her next door neighbor won’t speak to her, and even her family are wary around her. In addition, her mind is sharp and she often gets into trouble when she speaks before she thinks or acts before considering the consequences.

Rhoda has honed her knowledge of plants and herbs over the years. She knows how to use them to help people when they feel ill. She grows fruits and vegetables that she sells under the name of Rhode Side Stands. It has become a small business prosperous enough to take on a partner, Landon, an Englisch man. His job is mostly in marketing, keeping up a website for Rhoda, getting her products into stores, and being overall assistant. They’ve been business partners for four years and no one knows Rhoda like he does. Above all, he is a good friend.

In a nearby Amish community lives Samuel, Eli, and Jacob King, owners of the famous King Orchards, known for their organic pest control methods. Just a few years ago, Samuel’s grandfather turned the management and ownership over to him, something Sam was groomed for as he grew up. But the past couple years have been hard for the company and they need a good year to keep their business afloat. Suddenly they discover a pest problem and it’s too late in the year to treat it. How will they survive this season? Samuel comes up with a unique solution, and he appeals to Rhoda for help.

At first, Rhoda is reluctant, but it seems that God has other ideas. Through a series of unhappy events Rhoda finds herself without a garden and crops. She joins the brothers and works on her canning business using their crops. Living in a different community gives her a reprieve from the censure of biased neighbors and she finds some peace. Samuel, the elder brother, has a girlfriend, but they experience some difficulties in their relationship during the course of this story. He discovers he is attracted to Rhoda, but he knows his brother Jacob is falling in love with her. Things become more complicated when disaster strikes and the orchard is damaged nearly beyond recovery.

My favorite part of the story is the business savvy conversations Rhoda has with Samuel and the playful bantering between her and Jacob. She has to overcome the traditional roles of female and male Amish folk to become his business partner, but manages to do this effectively.

The author has created in her characters genuine believable conflict, personalities, quirks and warmth. The different customs of the Amish community are a backdrop and context to the people we grow to care for. I felt pained when the young ones made mistakes, and reassured when life lessons were learned. There’s anguish when relationships turned sour; anxiety when things went wrong; a warm glow when circumstances worked out better than expected.

Because this book is part of a series, there is little resolution in most of the conflicts highlighted in the subplots except the main plot: Rhoda finds resolution for her own personal issues. The reader can easily tell that more will follow in subsequent books. I’m really looking forward to reading them.

A complimentary review copy was provided to me by Blogging for Books (A WaterbrookMultnomah.com division). I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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One thought on “Review: A Season for Tending [Amish Vines and Orchards Book 1] by Cindy Woodsmall

  1. Pingback: Review for: The Winnowing Season [Amish Vines and Orchards series Book2] by Cindy Woodsmall | Bipolar for Christ

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