The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall
This book is book two in the Ana’s House series. I must admit that I haven’t read the first book., I think it would have been easier to follow the characters if I had read it, however, the author does a fairly good job of acquainting the reader with them. There is a ‘cast’ of characters in the back of the book along with a glossary of Amish terms that is very helpful.
The story revolves around Lena, a young, old order Amish school teacher who is born with a large birthmark on her face. Her strength of character, support and love of her father, and her faith in God help her to overcome the stares, whispers, and jokes. She overcomes whatever feelings of insecurity she might have in all areas except in the area of marriage. She resigns herself to the possibility that no man could overlook the birthmark. In her zeal to provide the best she can for her students she oversteps her authority and runs into trouble with the school board. Amid all the trouble and turmoil, the author intersperses areas of ‘laugh out loud’ situations. Lena and her friends love to play pranks on each other, and the Christmas play is an all out hoot!
This book demonstrates that things happen to the Amish just like they do to everyone else. Stressful home situations, health issues, troubled marriages, misbehaving teenagers, mental illness, addictions and handicaps are things everyone deals with, including the Amish. Cindy Woodsmall shows that everyone in the Amish community is not happy and life isn't always simple for them but their deep rooted faith in God sees them through many difficult situations.
There were some disturbing moments in the book that took me by surprise like the murder of Lena’s friend’s wife, and the episodes of animal cruelty. These elements all work to give this book a realistic feel. The dark moments are balanced with moments of joy, friendship, love, and romance. This book will keep you interested and feeling like you’re part of the story.
Cindy Woodsmall shows that she understands the Amish and their desire to remain separate from the world. Her personal acquaintance with many old order Amish lends authenticity to her books.
When the third book of the series is published, I plan to read all three in sequence. I can't wait!!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”