So many fiction books about the Amish make the Amish look like they live a next to perfect life; what they fail to capture is that they are people like the rest of us and while they do live “separate” lives from their English counterparts, they still are imperfect people. A Season for Tending: Book 1 in the Amish Vines and Orchards Series by Cindy Woodsmall captures this perfectly. Rhoda is a woman who is considered a little odd for the Amish community. She has premonitions of events that could possibly happen to people she knows, and a few of them have happened. Because the community thinks she is weird she is a little bullied and gossiped about. It does not help her case much that she mainly sticks to her herb garden and berry patch.
One night fate knocks on her door in the form of Leah, a younger woman in her rumspringe years, who Rhoda finds sleeping in her berry patch because she was drunk and her friends left the party without her. Enter Leah’s brother Samuel who comes to pick Leah up. Samuel is the part owner of his family’s apple orchard a few miles away which has a failing crop that particular year due to a simple tending error on his brother’s part. Finding the Rhoda already operates a successful canning business from her berries, Samuel sees opportunity and is determined to keep their relationship on a strictly business basis.
Samuel’s younger brother Jacob sees the attractive inner and outer qualities of Rhoda and decides to pursue her heart. Samuel is in a relationship with Catherine, but finds himself slightly jealous of Jacob in the areas where Rhoda is concerned. As Rhoda begins to work more at King’s Orchard both Jacob and Samuel’s feelings grow stronger for Rhoda and Rhoda is finding herself to have growing feelings for Jacob. However, another tragedy occurs for the orchard and now it’s a question of how to save the orchard. Just as this part of the plot is unfolding, the book leaves you with a cliff hanger for the next book in the series.
Overall, this is an excellent novel. I enjoy how the author does not try to sugarcoat the Amish lifestyle and helps you to realize that they are people just like us and struggle with several of the same issues an “English” person faces. This book is quite the page turner and kept me interested from start to finish. I am looking forward to the next book in the series so I can find out which direction Rhoda decides to go and if and how they save King’s Orchard.
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WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.