It’s like Romeo & Juliet for Plain folks

When we first moved to Amish country, I was entralled with Amish fiction, hoping to glean some understanding about a people with whom I was previously unfamiliar.

I’ll admit it: I got burnt out. I felt like I was reading the same plots with different characters.

I’ve been reluctant to pick up another one in quite some time, but I found a pleasant surprise in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Scent of Cherry Blossoms. Though the story was slow to start, it soon picked up speed, and I was fully invested in the Romeo-and-Juliet plot set in the Plain community.

Aden and Annie, the love protagonists, are separated by their faith communities, one Old Order Amish, the other Old Order Mennonite, and though they work side-by-side and have been friends for years, their relationship is not permitted to progress beyond a working one. The plot is almost frustrating because the line separating the two groups, from the outside, seems almost negligible. Woodsmall, however, writes from personal knowledge — friendship with an Old Order Amish woman — which lends credibility to the story and its characters.

FAVORITES: Likable characters. Enchanting setting. Compelling story.

FAULTS: Aden stutters, and Woodsmall writes that into his dialogue. It’s an important part of his character, but it’s hard to read at times. Distracting, almost. But I don’t know how else you convey a stutter on the printed page. Also, the ending felt abrupt. After all the build-up, I thought, “that’s it?” It wasn’t a bad ending; the story just concluded hastily, I thought.

IN A WORD: Redemptive. It’s Christian fiction, so it ought to be, right? For me, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms redeemed Amish fiction. Maybe I’ll try another one soon.

How about you? Interested in this book? I’d like to give it away.

Click here to read the first chapter.

Leave a comment here on the blog about why you love Amish fiction, or why, if you don’t, you’d be willing to give this one a try.

Want extra chances to win? Share this post/giveaway on Twitter and/or Facebook, then come back and leave another comment letting me know you did one or both of those things. Three chances to enter and win in all.

I’ll pick a winner this time next week and announce it on Wednesday’s blog (March 7.)

And if you liked this review, take a moment to rank it on the Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging for Books Web site below. You could have another chance to win a copy of the book.


4 thoughts on “It’s like Romeo & Juliet for Plain folks

  1. You don’t need to put me in the running for the free copy, because after two or three “bonnet books” I had had enough. I really don’t get the enchantment. It’s a very hard life with little variety. I do like watching the buggies go by though!

  2. Hi Lisa! I just saw this & got excited! I think Cindy Woodsmall is a great author. I haven’t read any other Amish fiction, but I read Wodsmall’s Sisters of the Quilt series and the Ada’s House series. I also have “The Sound of Sleigh Bells”, but haven’t read it yet. My grandma told me the same thing you mentioned about some Amish books getting a little repetitive, but she borrowed the Woodsmall books from me and seemed to enjoy them also. I would be thrilled to win a copy of this book because I know I will eventually want to add it to my collection. 🙂

  3. i’ve never read any Amish fiction before, but the sneak peek got me interested. She paints a clear picture of the characters with a minimum of descriptors. i can easily see how Amish fiction could get repetitive, but for me it would be a whole new genre that i am looking forward to exploring.

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