Monday, October 12, 2009
Cindy Woodsmall's The Sound of Sleigh Bells ~ Reviewed
The Sound of Sleigh Bells
By Cindy Woodsmall
Published By: Water Brooke Press
Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store and serves as a contact between Amish craftsman and Englischer retailers. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart every day, and she still wears dark dresses to indicate her mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow an Englischer store, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds, and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work.
Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after meeting Jonah, the artist, she is determined that Beth come to know this man whose hands create healing art. But it’s not that simple—Beth has cut herself off from any possibility of romance. Will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth new hope and a second chance at real love—or just more heartbreak?
Amish customs are fascinating. There is a time for every season. Their customs allow for a structured time of grieving. For example the person in mourning is to wear black for the grieving period of time. This signals everyone to be respectful of that persons feelings and time of sadness.
Beth Hertzler is a young energetic, hard working woman who should have been done with the grieving process months ago but she can’t seem to get on with life emotionally. Life has hit her with a blow, too great to tell anyone - a secret that couldn’t be shared.
One day, Beth saw a piece of artwork on a shelf—it moves her to the core of her being. The artist's name is Jonah. He’s suffered some significant blows from life too. He says, “...some things in life are just that way. They demand more of you than you have, and even knowing you’ll lose, you have to attempt it anyway. Everyone is damaged one way or another...some people's scars you can see because they are on the outside of their body, others you can’t see because they are hidden within!! In the middle of this gripping, fun Christmas story are jewels like this that make your think—I liked it.
This is not only a beautiful love story but it’s a story of healing, family and unconditional love. It’s definitely a feel good book that gets you in the spirit of Christmas.
Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Finding Hope Through Fiction
I love Christmas novellas, and New York Times Bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall has written a captivating one. Well known for her exquisite, complex characterization, Woodsmall brings us three more vivid portrayals in The Sound of Sleigh Bells.
Beth Hertzler will own your heart from the moment you meet her. The hero in this story, Jonah, is all that a hero should be. But it was Beth's Aunt Lizzy who is concentric in the tale. Delightful and somewhat nonsensical, Aunt Lizzy acts on an impulse that creates a casserole of confusion.
A heartwarming romance, The Sound of Sleigh Bells is an ideal Christmas gift to yourself and others. Novel Reviews and I give it a high recommendation.
Reviewed by: Ane Mulligan
Editor, Novel Journey
The sound of sleigh bells is something that brings great joy into the life of Beth Hertzler, yet the same sound brings pain to Jonah Kinsinger. This is a great Christmas or anytime read of growth, strength, forgiveness, moving forward, and romance with true love. Straight from the beginning even with the mystery of what really holds Beth back from looking for love brings a reader in to care for her with a slight of intrigue. Each chapter causes one to wish for her to open up to love. In a different manner, our other protagonist has his own set of dark past issues that hold him back from moving forward with life. It is one of those things were romantic or not, God put them together to learn something. It is the opening and shutting of doors in the future both good and bad for our characters that keeps those pages turning to see what happens next. The side story of true love unseen is fabulous and even though not a main picture in the book, so appropriate and good.
This is one of those books that has a good plot and so many little facets that keep it interesting and different from other stories. A reader may assume they know what is to come next, but they do not see the whole picture until the end. Family is a theme, Christmas spirit is through out, and each chapter brings one deeper into the lives of very interesting characters. Cindy Woodsmall did well with her other series with the Sisters of the Quilt, and even though this is a stand alone Christmas book the quality of the story is right on key. I highly recommend her books to anyone looking for a short-ish story at right about two hundred pages for the winter time. I personally could hear the sleigh bells and children's giggles while reading her words of text.
I look forward to reading her other new series coming soon starting with The Hope of Refuge.
Reviewed by: Margaret Chind