Monday, December 23, 2013

"Christmas in Apple Ridge" 3-in-1 Review

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple. Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?
The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?
The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

For more information click here. You can also read Chapter One here.

About the Author: Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author of numerous works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Her connection with the Amish community has been featured widely in national media. She lives in the Foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her family. - See more at:

My Take:

Two years ago I read and reviewed the second of these three novellas - The Christmas Singing - and it was a very nice read for the Christmas season. So I was looking forward to reading the other Apple Ridge Christmas novellas as well.

In the first novella - The Sound of Sleigh Bells - I was immediately drawn in to the story of Beth and Jonah. I liked both of them as characters, and I was rooting for them to get together the whole time. I also liked how they communicated through letters, even though it was kind of strange that neither of them completely knew who they were writing to. I was interested in Beth's past very much, but I did think that it got to be a little drawn out that the reader didn't know for so long what actually happened in Beth's past. I think her development would have been even better if I knew exactly what she was struggling with through at least half of the novella instead of just having it be revealed closer to the end.

Since I have already reviewed The Christmas Singing, I won't rehash it here. You can read that review here.

As for The Dawn of Christmas, I think it was my favorite of the three. I was truly rooting for them to get together throughout the course of the novella - maybe even more than I was rooting for Beth and Jonah in the first one! Sadie was such a realistic character, and even though the reason Levi had "sworn off women" seemed a little far-fetched, I still was sympathetic towards him. The Dawn of Christmas was probably the most humorous of the three as well, which helped to endear it to me.

I also liked how the characters from the first novella were in the second and so on. It was neat seeing these characters "later on" in the story.

For a nice, heartwarming read at Christmas, Christmas in Apple Ridge is a good bet.

I will give Christmas in Apple Ridge ... 3.5 BookWorms.

Christmas in Apple Ridge 3-in-1 by Cindy Woodsmall
Collection of three novellas
WaterBrook Press
Publication date: October 9, 2012

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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