Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancé. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.
Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?
Charming Vacation of the Heart and Mind| Posted October 17, 2009
Every time I read an Amish fiction novel, I am surely more and more pulled into it becoming one of my favorite genres. I have yet to find a piece of work that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. It is often surprising to me as I am a lover of mystery, suspense and quite frankly...horror. I once thought that Amish fiction and Christian fiction for that matter, could not possibly hold my attention. Boy was I happily wrong!
Cindy Woodsmall weaves a story that reads so quickly that I had to force myself to put the book down so as to not finish it too soon. I could have easily finished The Sound of Sleigh Bells in one sitting, but that would have deprived me of an escape into the lives of Beth, Lilly, and Jonah, and that would have been a shame. This book was a vacation into a place so very real, warm and inviting!
I loved each and every character and wished these were people I knew. Who would have thought I wished I could have grown up in a home such as this?
It seems that Jonah and Beth have family members who want absolutely the best for them. They want them both to find happiness in all forms that it can bring. A partner for life is definitely on the top of the list! Beth and Jonah have both seen a side of life that is not easy to traverse through unscathed. Surviving and being comfortable may be just about all either can wish for, but maybe a second chance at joy can happen for both.
My favorite part of this book: When I say that I felt I was on a vacation while reading this book, I speak the absolute truth. The Sound of Sleigh Bells quite literally pulled me away from a very stressful couple of weeks. The descriptions were so vivid and literally created a place in my mind. The family interaction was also fun to read.
I totally would recommend this to anyone who enjoys good fiction. It is a story of healing and a story of removing the clutter of the past. I cannot wait to read more of Cindy Woodsmall's work. I am definitely a new fan!