New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall continues her Ada’s House series with THE BRIDGE OF PEACE, which demonstrates that she understands (and respects) the Amish for their desire to remain separate from the world. Her knowledge of the Amish belief system and their traditions is expressed with skill and with a voice that seeks to better educate outsiders as to why the Amish live as they do. Readers thus will come away with a deeper, more compassionate view of these plain folk who seem so very different from the rest of society.
In this sequel to THE HOPE OF REFUGE, Woodsmall focuses on Lena Kauffman, a young twentyish Old Order Amish schoolteacher whose facial birthmark has “marked” her all her life. Lena has a strong, outspoken personality that sometimes has her at odds with the Amish school board’s rules and regulations. Having a mind of her own, she isn’t afraid to step beyond the “rules” if, in doing so, she can help one of her students. Ready for love and marriage, Lena has quietly accepted the fact that, due to her birthmark, most men will not be drawn to her.
And yet, when childhood friend Grey Graber is around, Lena is drawn to him. Grey, grieving the recent loss of his wife and trying to work through why they had such a difficult and distant married relationship, is not eager to open his heart and risk failure yet again. Though he deeply cares for Lena, Grey has always viewed her as his friend’s younger sister and so hesitates to see her as a romantic possibility.
Lena, competent as she is as a schoolteacher, finds herself in deep waters when one of her troubled student’s siblings decides to sabotage her career at the Amish school by instigating trouble that places her under the board’s constant scrutiny. As her friendship with Grey develops, both of them must decide whether or not they are ready to put the past in its place, and by faith, trust in God enough to move forward into a romantic relationship. When a crisis occurs, they have to summon enough inner courage to face down their critics even at the risk of their reputations.
THE BRIDGE OF PEACE is full of minor storylines that speak of dealing with past relational hurts and scars, and Woodsmall deftly weaves these lesser tales around Lena and Grey’s love story. Readers anxiously will be awaiting the continuation of this outstanding series.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on August 31, 2010