Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cindy Woodsmall's The Hope of Refuge ~ Reviewed

The Hope of Refuge
By Cindy Woodsmall
Published by Water Brook
ISBN# 978-1-4000-7396-2
336 Pages

Back Cover:

Raised in foster care, and now a widowed single parent, New Yorker Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and her daughter, Lori, away from the city toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers to mysteries from her past and a fresh start. She quickly discovers that Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, is no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God—Be me to her—even though doing so threatens his way of life.

Can an Amish man help Cara find safety in a strange community with complex, unspoken ties to her family history?


Cindy Woodsmall has the unique ability to quickly grab your attention, emotions, and curiosity to whisk you into a wondrous world of her making. This is not your typical Amish story. Her main character Cara is a hard working waitress, a single mom who addicted to cigarettes always looking over her shoulder to flee from a violent stalker. Cara does her best to survive in New York and care for her young daughter Lori, who is her world.

What I love about Cindy’s books is the fact that she talks about universal truths and the lies some believe— things that we all struggle with from time to time—such as feeling abandoned, or a desperate need to be loved and be a part of a community so we can live our life to the fullest. Cara wants answers about her past so that she can figure out which path to take in the future.

Cindy has an uncanny way of letting you feel like you’re a fly on the wall and sensing that nothings being altered because you’re hanging around! She allows you to capture every detail of the drama unfolding in her story, up-close and personal. Ada, an Amish woman, says to Cara (who can’t figure out why anyone would want to be Amish), “We all submit to something. Athletes submit to the rules of their game. Lawyers and judges submit to the laws. The highest court in the land submits to the Constitution….The Amish choose to submit to the Ordnung in order to be strong against desires that want no boundaries.”

Cindy lifts the veil and allows you to peak into the Amish way of life. The Hope of Refuge is the beginning of an amazing tale, with believable characters you’d like to meet. I can’t wait to sit down to read Cindy’s next book, and find out where these special characters end up. The author leaves you with a satisfying ending and a desire to know what happens next. Thanks, Cindy for taking us on another exciting adventure in and out of the Amish community.

Reviewed by: Nora St Laurent

Bonus Review:

Cindy Woodsmall is fast becoming an industry paradigm of character creation. Her heroine, Cara Moore, is vastly different than sweet Hannah, the heroine in Woodsmall's NYT bestselling Sisters of the Quilt series. So much so, I was completely surprised. And yet, I found Cara's story so compelling I fell in love with her and championed her throughout the book.

I'm not a huge fan of Amish books, but Cindy Woodsmall's novels are in a class by themselves. Great stories about characters that will live on in your memory long after you shelve the book. The Hope of Refuge is one of my top picks for 2009. Novel Reviews and I highly recommend it—a 5-star read. It has a permanent place in my personal library.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan, editor Novel Journey

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