>I was eight years old when I was handed Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. From that point on, I was hooked on Christian fiction. I loved being drawn in to the lives of the characters, getting to know them as if they were dear friends. I loved watching relationships form that inevitably led to someone finding a beautiful relationship with Christ.
When I started college, reading for pleasure became a luxury I was rarely able to indulge in thanks to limited time and budget. Only in the past year or two have I really been able to begin reading for leisure on a regular basis again.
But, I’ve been discouraged. It has seemed lately that the Christian fiction has been mediocre. It either has good characters or a decent storyline, but the two have not seemed to merge to draw me into the story. I read a book, and then I’m done. I don’t seem to miss the characters or be sad to say goodbye.
The first book in a new Amish series by Woodsmall, The Hope of Refuge introduces readers to a young widow literally running for her life. Having been chased for well over a decade by a relentless stalker, Cara Moore is devastated to discover that her best-kept secret has been discovered. Her stalker has learned that Cara has a daughter. As Cara and young Lori try to disappear once again, a vague, distant memory and a mysterious address lead them to what Cara hopes to be a final safe haven.
But when Cara and Lori finally reach their destination, they find themselves in the middle of Old Order Amish country and a community that appears extremely hostile to their presence. There they meet Ephraim, and pieces of Cara’s past begin to come together. But Cara and Lori’s presence throws the entire Amish community into turmoil and upheaval as they deal with the presence of not only a wild Englischer, but an Englischer who is the daughter of a woman who had brought nothing but heartache and grief to the community years ago.
The Hope of Refuge drew me in. The story unfolded in such a way as to keep me hooked until the very end. The author combined the current story and history beautifully, weaving it together until it formed a completed picture. By the time I finished the novel, I felt as if I knew the characters and wished I could spend more time with them.
This book was a smooth read that can be enjoyed by Christian fiction lovers of all ages. Reading this book has led me to add Cindy Woodsmall’s other Amish novels (When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and When the Soul Mends.) to my book wishlist. And, I greatly look forward to Woodsmall’s newest novel, The Sound of Sleigh Bells.
If you would like to snuggle up with a copy of The Hope of Refuge, click on the title or book cover to purchase a copy! Meanwhile, be sure to visit Cindy Woodsmall’s website to catch a little glimpse into the life of the author. And, if you would like to receive books for free to review, be sure to click on over to the Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging for Books page for information!