Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: A Christmas Haven by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall


My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it



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.

My Review

I loved how this book continued the story of Holly and Joshua from the first book as a subplot! The main character is Holly's sister, Ivy, who is struggling to balance her past and future while she is attempting to make a major life transition. Also in limbo are Arlan and Magda, young adult siblings who are on the run from their family. I was surprised by the differences between the Amish and Swartzentruber Amish and the prejudices each have about the other. I enjoyed that Ivy and Arlan spoke plainly and unapologetically with each other about their disagreements, but still developed a friendship based on mutual respect. It was interesting to see how the more time they spent with each other, the less they disagreed and the more they re-evaluated their priorities and choices. A sweet romance set in a lovely place during a festive time of year!

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

Don't miss the first book in An Amish Christmas Romance series . . .

Heidi Reads... The Christmas Remedy by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall



When an Old Order Amish woman takes a job at a small-town pharmacy struggling to survive in a world of "big box" stores, her motive is to help her Plain community. But the advent of the holiday season brings an unusual mystery to the surface--and possibly love.

Twenty-four-year-old Holly Zook lives a unique life for a young Amish woman. Years ago, her bishop allowed her to continue her education and become the lead technician for Greene's Pharmacy, an old-timey drugstore that looks out for the Amish community--a group largely without secure healthcare plans. She knows she can't marry and hold onto her professional job. She's Amish, and she can only have one or the other, so she spurns love and works toward addressing treatable diseases--like the one that claimed her father's life.

As long as Holly continues to avoid Joshua Smucker, the one man who draws her like a warm hearth in winter, she should be fine. When something unexpected threatens Greene's Pharmacy, Holly and Joshua must work together to unravel what's happened and find the "missing" patient before the Board of Pharmacy shuts them down. As the snows of December arrive, with Christmas in the air, will Holly succumb to the generous spirit of the season?

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