Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

The Englisch Daughter by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall March 31, 2020

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:34 pm
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A marriage is tested in this Old Order Amish novel of longing for renewed love and a path for forgiveness from the best-selling author of Gathering the Threads .

Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.

But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone–and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman–her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?

My thoughts:

Cindy Woodsmall writes some very interesting Amish Fiction. The storyline here is not one you would expect in an Amish community. For sure my favorite storyline in this book was what was going on between Roy and Jemima.

The storyline of Abigail and Chris didn’t draw me quite as much and at times the internal dialogue and the reasoning behind some of their decisions didn’t really make sense to me.

I knew whatever happened between Roy and Jemima would require some major forgiveness on Jemima’s part and I was curious to see how that would all play out.

Overall, a very interesting read.

Visit Cindy here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me. All opinions are my own.


Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall August 15, 2017

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:43 pm
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Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves,
Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together—
or completely rip them apart?

After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family?

Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart.

Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

My thoughts:

This series has been a journey. So many of the characters have undergone major changes, things that will never be the same again.

Ariana is by far my favorite character, although Quill is a close second. Ariana broke my heart with not knowing really where she belonged anymore. I’ll be honest I wanted her to leave the Amish community. It just seemed so stifling, too many rules. But something seemed really amiss in her community and she sensed it too. That added a bit of mystery to this book.

Skylar was a bit harder to like but I could see the goodness in her, there was hope for her.

This was a wonderful ending to the series. You could read this as a stand-alone but honestly because of all the history and everything that has happened I believe it’s important to read the first two books to fully grasp all that is taking place in this one.

Visit Cindy here.

Grab  you copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,  or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own. 


Review and Giveaway: Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall October 20, 2016

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 6:46 pm
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About Fraying at the Edge

Family, community, faith, and love.
These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life.
When they are pulled to pieces,
will anything familiar remain?The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?
Fraying at the Edge is the second novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.My thoughts and giveaway:

I loved this book. What a wonderful story full of heartache and confusion. This is the second book and you could read this one without reading the first but honestly, reading the first gives this book so much more depth.

My heart just broke throughout this book. I can’t even imagine all you know being ripped from you. I loved when Ariana went off on her step-sister! That was priceless and unexpected.

Skylar needs a wake up call and I kept hoping she would get one and embrace this family that wants to love her.

All of it was so confusing for the hearts of those involved in this story. But it is masterfully written and I so enjoyed picking up with these characters again and seeing what happened to them.

Visit Cindy here.
Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.
Leave a comment by October 28th to win a copy of this book. One winner will be chosen by (U.S. addresses only. I will not replace books lost or damaged in the mail.)
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.  

Amish Christmas at North Star December 17, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 9:02 pm
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amish christmas

About This Book

One night four lives entered the world by the hands of an Amish midwife, just outside North Star, Pennsylvania.

Rebekah’s Babies, as they are called, are now grown adults and in four heartwarming novellas each young person experiences a journey of discovery, a possibility of love, and the wonder of Christmas.

Guiding Star
by Katie Ganshert

Curiosity gets the best of Englischer Chase Wellington when he investigates the twenty-five-year-old disappearance of an Amish baby. When he finds adventurous Elle McAllister in Iowa will his discoveries upend her world?

Mourning Star
by Amanda Flower

Eden Hochstetler slips from her parents’ fudge shop to investigate the death of her friend Isaac.  Who is guilty? Isaac’s handsome great nephew Jesse, an angry Englischer, or someone else?

In the Stars
by Cindy Woodsmall

Heartbroken Kore Detweiler avoids North Star after Savilla Beiler rejects his love.  But when he is unexpectedly called to return home, he and Savilla must join forces to keep a family together.

Star of Grace
by Mindy Starns Clark and Emily Clark

Andy Danner left North Star to join a new Amish settlement in Mississippi. His little brother devises a scheme to bring Andy home for Christmas and unwittingly unleashes the power of forgiveness in a reclusive widower’s life.

My thoughts:

This is a wonderful collection of stories by great authors.

The neat thing about this book is that all the novellas are connected by a prologue in the beginning. It begins with the birth of four babies and then we catch up with them almost twenty-five years later.

I am a fan of Katie Ganshert so I was interested in how she would write an Amish story. Well, her main characters aren’t Amish so it had the feel of her other books,which are fabulous.

The only author I had never read anything by before was Amanda Flower. I found her story to be just as good as the rest with a bit of mystery thrown in.

If you are looking for some Christmas stories this season this book is a must read.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. 



Review and Giveaway: Ties that Bind by Cindy Woodsmall October 12, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 3:57 pm
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ties the bind


Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

My thoughts and giveaway:

This is one of the most interesting Amish fiction books I have read in years. There are a lot of unanswered questions that will force you to keep reading to better understand what is going on.

One thing I really loved was how Cindy wrote the dialogue for the Amish. I think we (or at least me) often think they talk so different from us. But these characters sounded like any other twenty-something person. It made them more real for me.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the past of these characters and what will happen when truth is revealed? Also, I wanted to better understand the feelings between Ariana and Quill. Was there possible romance there or was Ariana really ready to commit to Rudy?

These questions and much more made this an excellent read.

Visit Cindy here. 

For author bio click here.

For more info click here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

Leave a comment by October 21st for your chance to win a copy. One winner will be chosen by (U.S. addresses only. I am not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail.)

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall October 9, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:33 pm
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a love undone

About This Book:

A husband and son abandoned to forge a path alone.
A young woman who sacrificed her dreams.
How will the God of grace and hope help them find their way?

At nineteen years old, Old Order Amish Jolene Keim was on the brink of happily-ever-after when everything changed, stealing the future she expected and burdening her with an unbearable decision. For the next ten years, Jolene throws herself into family life—and then she meets Andy Fisher. The horse trainer and father to a sweet nine year-old challenges her and holds up a mirror to issues Jolene has been unwilling to face.

Andy is cautious about his deepening friendship with Jolene, but he believes she knows the truth about him – that he is a grass widower. As a man whose wife has abandoned him six years past, he is unable to divorce or remarry according to the Amish ways. Andy has wrestled with God concerning his reality, and he had found peace with the solitary future facing him…until he met Jolene.

As Andy and Jolene find themselves confronted by difficult choices, will they trust in God’s guidance—or will the allure of their deepening friendship only lead to further temptation?

My thoughts:

Cindy Woodsmall knows how to write an Amish book that is full of tension, which I think sometimes is missing in Amish stories. For me, I like a lot of tension in the books I read but I know other’s might enjoy a more relaxing read.

With that being said this isn’t overly tense or anything but it is a very well-written book.

Jolene is a fun character. She has a spunky personality and she is very sacrificial. She has given up everything for her brothers and sisters and doesn’t resent them for it.

Andy is a great father and a caring man. But he is man with ideas of what a woman should and shouldn’t do and Jolene doesn’t always fall into the mold.

When these two meet there is bound to be a lot of pull between them. But how could it ever work while Andy is still married? Will he be set free so he can be with Jolene?

I also have to mention Jolene’s brother Ray. His role in the book added a lot more depth to the book and I kept wondering when something was going to happen with him that wouldn’t be good. Cindy did a great job laying seeds for that part of the story.

Overall, one of my favorite Amish books I have read. And this is a great Genesis 5020 story. God uses the pain on both of these characters lives ultimately for good. I think Cindy Woodsmall fans will be happy with this book as well.

Visit Cindy here.

Read chapter one here.

Grab a copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.




Review: The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall May 30, 2013

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:12 am
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The Winnowing Season


Cindy Woodsmall

From the back cover:

The tornado that devastated Kings’ Orchard pushed Rhoda, Samuel, and Jacob to make a new start in Maine. Are they strong enough to withstand the challenges of establishing an Amish community—and brave enough to face the secrets that move with them?  

On the eve of their departure to begin a new Old Order Amish community outside of Unity, Maine, Rhoda Byler is shocked to discover that choices made by her business partner and friend, Samuel King, have placed her and her unusual gifts directly into the path of her district’s bishop and preachers. She is furious with Samuel and is fearful that the Kings will be influenced by the way her leaders see her, and not what they know to be true—that Rhoda’s intuition is a gift from God.

Jacob King won’t be swayed by community speculation. He loves Rhoda, believes in her, and wants to build a future with her in Maine. But when the ghosts of his past come calling and require him to fulfill a great debt, can he shake their hold before it destroys what he has with Rhoda? Samuel has a secret of his own—one he’ll go to great lengths to keep hidden, even if it means alienating those closest to him. Throwing himself into rehabilitating the once-abandoned orchard, Samuel turns to a surprising new ally.

Can the three faithfully follow God’s leading and build a new home and orchard in Maine? Or will this new beginning lead to more ruin and heartbreak?

My thoughts:

If you missed my review of A Season for Tending, the first book in the series, you can check that out here.

I enjoyed the first book in the series so much I couldn’t wait to get back to these characters and Cindy did not disappoint.

She throws you right back into the drama of Rhoda and the King brothers. The book opens with Rhoda being summoned to meet with the bishop and she knows this can’t go well. I won’t tell you what happens, but know there is high drama and you want to speak up for her and tell them to just leave her alone.

Samuel is struggling with his feelings for Rhoda and I found myself wanting them to find a way to be together without hurting Jacob. Is it possible?

Jacob is thrown into his past and it makes me mad that he won’t be honest with Rhoda, you know it all has to explode in his face, right?

Again, I won’t give anything away, you’ll just have to get your own copy to see what happens. I enjoyed this book as much, if not more, than the first. If you enjoy Amish fiction and some romance, pick up a copy and start reading, you won’t be sorry.

You can get a copy from your local bookstore (I’ve seen copies at Meijer for you mid-west readers) or you can order your copy from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or from the publisher.

Visit Cindy’s website by clicking here.

An ebook of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Review: A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall April 29, 2013

*** A quick note. You will notice I will post a review on Thursday this week. Once in a while I might have to go off schedule due to dates of blog tours that book reviews must be posted. Just wanted to give you all a heads up.


A Season for Tending


Cindy Woodsmall

From the back cover:

In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda’s odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden?
Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.
Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?

My Thoughts:

This is a book that took me a while to fall into the groove of the story. I am not into gardening or anything along those lines so I wasn’t really sure what to think at first. But as I got more and more into the story I grew to care for the characters and the use of gardening and caring for orchards became a great part of the story.

Rhoda Byler has a gift from God. But it is gift that is misunderstood by those around her. Not only does she need to learn to trust God but she needs to learn to trust her gift.

I can very much relate to Rhoda and this difficulty in trusting her gift. As a worship leader I often get complaints about the music choice and there are just going to be people who don’t like how I lead worship. I have no choice but to get back up on the stage each and every Sunday and do what I know God has called me to do, even in the face of opposition.

Rhoda must do the same. She must ignore public opinion and so what she knows God wants her to. He doesn’t give us gifts just to bury them and never use them. Remember the story about the talents and the man who buried his so he didn’t lose it?

There are so many Genesis 5020’s in this book too. From Samuel’s sister Leah landing in Rhoda’s  vineyard to Rhoda’s vineyard being destroyed. But you’ll have to read the book to see what I mean.

On the last page Cindy has me crying, “Nooooo!” She ended the book with a major turn of events, one I didn’t see coming and that has me itching to read the next book, which I hope to review for you soon.

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To order from the publisher click here.

To visit Cindy’s website click here.

An ebook of this book was given to me by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.