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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review: Cindy Woodsmall's The Bridge of Peace

  Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and use of ideas that don’t line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board’s case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.
  One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife, Elsie, has shut him out of her life, and he doesn’t know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family. 
  Lena and Grey have been life-long friends, but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?
  I want to say that if Lena looks anything like she does on the cover of this book, even with a birthmark, then she should have no problem finding a guy in the Amish community. Especially if it's where her hand is at on the cover to conceal it. Anyways, I believe this is my fourth time reading a book from Cindy Woodsmall, with some being misses, and hits. This series is one of the few Amish ones I find interesting. It's not over the hill great, but the characters actually are interesting. I might even pick up the first book in the series since I've read the second, and third. 
  We have an interesting villain in this novel, Dwayne, who I never quite understand the motivation for his badness.  Just as Lena, and Grey were concerned that their badly timed romance would cause them to appear in a bad light, I couldn't help but think that too. There just isn't any way to make getting with someone a good thing after you lost your life like a couple of weeks before it even to the reader.
  I do appreciate how Woodsmall seems very knowledgeable about the Amish life though. Unlike, many other Amish novels, she seems like she can include actual details about their beliefs that others haven't. She doesn't hide the fact they aren't welcoming to anyone outside of their faith.   Also, I felt like Woodsmall stepped it up with her ability to analyze how women were treated in the Amish community. I almost felt like Lena, and Cara were being bullied by the male leaders. 
  Anyways, if you enjoy this type of fiction this one actually is a nice break from the usual Amish ones I've read. I'm still not sure why people are so drawn to Amish fiction, since it doesn't seem like great escapism for me. You can check out the book at Amazon

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