Review: A Christmas Haven: An Amish Christmas Romance by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall

Posted 24 September, 2019 by Molly(Cover To Cover Cafe) in 2019 Reads, Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: A Christmas Haven: An Amish Christmas Romance by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Title: A Christmas Haven: An Amish Christmas Romance
Author: Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall
Published by Waterbrook Press
Date Published: 24 September, 2019
Pages: 208
Genres: Christian Fiction, Amish, Romance
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher, Waterbrook & Multnomah
Purchase: Amazon~ B&N
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Rating: four-stars

For fans of holiday romances and Amish life comes a new Christmas tale of surprising expectations and discovering miracles.

Old Order Amish Ivy Zook is wrestling with her need to shed her community's ways so she can grow the business of her dreams: planning parties. As long as she's stuck living without modernization, she can barely get her business on its feet. But if she leaves too soon, she'd cause trouble for her sister, Holly, who is planning her wedding to Joshua Smucker. All of their plans become twice as complicated when an old car crashes into the storefront of Greene's Pharmacy, carrying a Swartzentruber (ultra-conservative sect) Amish man, Arlan, and his very ill sister.

The Zooks take in Arlan and Madga, tending to the woman's illness and Arlan begins helping around the family farm. Ivy and Arlan are on different tracks, one wanting to leave her community and the other to return to his. But both young people are trying to discover what God has in store for their futures and what miracles might lie around the corner this Christmas season.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Publisher, Waterbrook & Multnomah and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.
My Thoughts
I have been a long time fan of Cindy Woodsmall and was so excited to learn of another collaboration she did with Erin Woodsmall. I loved reading The Christmas Remedy last year and this year, they’ve brought us the next Zook’s story. This time we get to see Ivy and Arlan, the Amish man who has piqued her interest!
I loved seeing Ivy and Arlan’s story play out. We get to go back to the heart of where we met Holly Zook and see all the fun loving characters from The Christmas Remedy. But, I was really drawn to Ivy’s story. She has her heart set on a plan for her life, planning parties, yet, she knows she will cause trouble. Then Arlan and Magda come along and Ivy’s just not so sure anymore!
Arlan. Bless his soul, I loved him! His love for his sister, and getting her the help she needed, really shined bright. I felt for him, though, for him doing what he knew in his heart was right, and being disowned his father. He endured such heartache with that but I loved seeing him stand his ground and stay strong to God’s word no matter what.
This story is filled with heartache and pain, happiness and love, forgiveness and hope, as these characters come to know where their haven really is. This story is filled with beautiful, 4 star worthy characters that quickly become a part of the reader’s soul. Both Cindy and Erin Woodsmall have a God graced talent to create stories that are filled with Heavenly messages from above, characters that become family, and a plot line that will have you turning page after page. I can’t wait to see what collaboration these talented ladies have in story for us next!

About Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written nineteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

About Erin Woodsmall

ERIN WOODSMALL is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of four. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. More recently she and Cindy have co-authored several books.

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