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Friday, April 26, 2013

The Winnowing Season

"Rhoda Byler shoved her to-do list into the hidden pocket of her apron and slipped out of the summer kitchen. A brief glance assured her non one was around to see her. She needed a few minutes, however fleeting, without anyone tugging at her. Her shoulders and arms ached as she walked into the orchard.

She breathed in, and the heady scents fo fall and ripe apples helped soothe her frayed nerves. After nearly two months of nurturing the tornado-ravaged orchard, she found the view both uplifting and disheartening. Despite their long, hard days of cleaning up felled trees and mending broken ones, the once vibrant orchard looked like a battlefield strewn with injured, defeated soldiers. Would all of her and Samuel's tending restore the wounded trees? Or simply prolong their dying?

How strange that she found comfort in walking among these wounded trees. Much of the orchard lay dormant, waiting for late winter, when new trees would be planted.

But she wouldn't be here for that.

A ladder rested against a tree where she and Samuel has grafted tree limbs from storm-damaged trees into healthy ones, hoping their grafts would take. It wasn't the right time of year for such work, but they were giving this orchard their all before leaving it behind tomorrow.

A wavering, misty image stepped out from behind an apple tree.


The vision appeared real enough, but it wasn't actually her little sister. Emma had been with God since the day she was murdered, since the day Rhoda all but sent her teary-eyed sister to that convenience store by herself at exactly the wrong time. Emma often formed in a visible way, as if Rhoda's guilt over her death was burned so deeply into Rhoda's soul that she would see her sister the rest of her days.

And maybe she would, but Rhoda dared to hope the move to Maine would end the haunting memories.

Not long after she met Samuel King of Kings' Orchard last summer, he asked if she would partner her canning business with his family's apple farming business. When she finally agreed, she did so hoping for several things to come from the agreement. One desire was for the aberrations to remain at home in Morgansville, some thirty miles away - and where all memories of Emma had been made.

But whether Rhoda was here at Kings' Orchard or at home with her family, she had yet to be freed of Emma's constant reminders that Rhoda had failed her.

Would Maine be an escape?" (pg 1-2).

In the second novel in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by author Cindy Woodsmall, The Winnowing Season picks up right where A Season for Tending left off. In this continuation of the struggles that Rhoda Byler faces by the Amish community for having a gift from God that allows her to see into the future using her intuition, she is ready to take on a new challenge. A challenge she hopes will bring her far away from the judgmental eyes from her Amish community and church for being branded as using witchcraft to know things that no one could know about the lives of the people living in Morgansville.

She hopes to find a way to go about living a single life as a successful business woman and in helping build an alliance between herself and the King family. But when Samuel goes to far in bringing an issue to the attention of the church leaders, Rhoda feels that Samuel has overstepped his bounds into her personal life. However will that be the proverbial straw that inevitably severes the relationship between their business dealings?

I received The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall compliments of Waterbrook Multnomah for my honest review and received no compensation for a favorable review. What immediately drew my interest in this series was the unique gift that Rhoda possesses of being able to use God's gift of prophecy to help the people in her community. Instead of them seeing it as just that, they don't believe that she has been endowed with it from God but instead is up to no good and has resorted to witchcraft to allow herself to be so successful.

This was a unique change from your typical Amish books and I was interested to see how Rhoda would continue to use her knowledge of gardening to potentially help another failing apple orchard. Being a huge gardener myself I was interested to see how this could be incorporated into the novel since most Amish women are seen but not necessarily heard when it comes to running their own business and home as a single woman. The best part about this novel is Cindy's attention to detail. Since I hadn't read the first book in the series, one I will rectify shortly when I pick that one up, is that she takes a moment before launching into this book to bring her readers up to speed where the first book left off. I especially love this because often times there is so much time that lapses between books in a series, you have a tendency to forget what the first book was about. There is also a character reference included in the back so you can refer to it as needed to remind yourself about each of the characters you meet in this one. Hands down a 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to read the next one in this series.

For more information about The Winnowing Season, Cindy Woodsmall, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can also follow Cindy Woodsmall on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

You can also visit her on her website by clicking here. 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307730042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307730046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches 
This novel is available at your favorite retailer in paperback, hardcover and eBook formats. 

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