Sleigh Bells, anyone?

The tang of fall is still in the air and usually I don’t allow the bliss of autumn’s offerings to be shadowed by early talk of December, but I will make a happy exception today to chat about my friend Cindy Woodsmall’s new book, The Sound of Sleighbells. Cindy and I share the same editor at the same wonderful publishing house, and the same love for a powerful story. On top of that, Cindy’s the most genuniely humble person you could ever meet. If you enjoy a Christmas novel to help you set a gentle, relaxed tone for the rush of holiday activity to come, well here you go.

To give you a little backstory, when Cindy was 10 and living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the women and girlsin her family, wore the prayer Kapp and caped dresses. Her family didn’t own a television or radio and many other modern conveniences. When Luann would come Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Cindy remembers that both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and that a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship.

While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each others’ lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved away. Many years later, Cindy became friends with an Old Order Amish family opened their home and hearts to her. It’s these two friendships that give Cindy’s Amish fiction the depth of understanding she has for Amish and Mennonite culture.

The story in a nutshell:

Beth Hertzler works alongside her Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods story, and serving as a contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to tell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo everyday in her heart as she still wears th dark garb of mourning following the death of her fiance. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work – including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

The Sound of Sleigh Bells is a heartwarming Christmas novella where lack and abundance inside an Amish community has power for good when it’s tucked inside love. Romantic Times gave The Sound of Sleigh Bells 4 1/2 stars saying: “This is a wonderfully written, transformative story of two Amish families at Christmastime. It will being sleigh-riding memories to life as readers vicariously join in this jolly and exciting holiday tradition.

You can read an excerpt of the book right here on Cindy’s beautiful website. Check out her blog while you are there.

And by the way, Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish has been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She is the mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, and she and her husband reside in Georgia.

Author: Susan

This post has 1 Comment

  1. Koala Bear Writer on October 26, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    That's neat about Cindy's childhood friendship. I've heard lots about her books and will have to track one down one of these days. 🙂

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