Hearts and Orchards: Tended by love
A book review for “A Season for Tending: Amish Vines and Orchards – Book 1” by Cindy Woodsmall.
A Season of Tending by Cindy Woodsmall is the first book in her new series entitled Amish Vines and Orchards. I found the book to be intriguing, filled with rumors and the mysteries surrounding life and love.
The story begins at the Byler home in Morgansville, where Rhoda Byler is tending her herb and berries gardens. Rhoda has enjoyed tending her gardens since the first time her father gave her a blueberry bush to tend and nourish when she was just a little girl. Now as a grown woman, Rhoda tends her gardens and tries to help people that best way she knows how to do. She cans various fruits, from blueberries to blackberries, from raspberries to strawberries. She creates her own mulch to fertilize her gardens and they have prospered under her tending. Rhoda has premonitions, possibly a sixth sense, about when things are going to happen or when people are in trouble. She feels the need to help people in need, Amish and English alike, if they are sick or in trouble but this characteristic of Rhoda’s lands her in trouble with the leaders of her community. She uses the herbs from her garden to help people feel better. In doing so, rumors have spread throughout the community that she is using the herbs to perform witchery and incantations. Regardless whether these rumors are true or not, Rhoda is forced to give up her herbal garden.
Meanwhile over in Harvest Mills, an Amish community about two hours away from Morgansville, Samuel King and his brothers Eli and Jacob are struggling to keep their apple orchard, King’s Orchard, financially afloat. Due to the climate and the infestation of a section of their orchard with insects the orchard is struggling to produce enough fruit to keep the orchard above water financially speaking that is. During this same time period, their sister Leah is going through her rumschpringe, her running around period. Leah struggles with her position in life, where does she belong, in the Amish community or in the English world, two very contrasting lifestyles. Leah goes out partying with her cousin and friends, the partying get out of hand and her cousin and friends desert her and leave her at the party. The party takes place in Morgansville. Leaving the party, Leah struggles to find her bearings and winds up sleeping in Rhoda’s berry garden.
When Rhoda comes outside to tend her garden the next morning, she finds Leah. Rhoda seeks to help Leah and finding out that Leah speaks with an Amish accent she invites Leah into her home. Not knowing who Rhoda is or where she is, Leah isn’t sure about entering the home. Rhoda assures her that it’ll be alright and offers her food and a change of clothing. Leah, not wanting to be seen by her family in her English clothing, takes Rhoda up on her offer of assistance. After a night of “partying”, Leah’s stomach is a bit queasy and she accepts a cup of licorice-root tea. The medicinal effects of the tea seem to calm her stomach. Rhoda has Leah help her in her garden and converses with her to find out a little bit more about her. Rhoda suggests she use the phone shanty to make a call for someone to come pick her up. While waiting for her ride Rhoda suggest that she go take a bath and a nap.
Samuel arrives to pick up Leah and becomes fascinated by Rhoda’s berry garden. Rhoda shows Samuel her canning area in the cellar. He becomes intrigued by the number of jars she is able to can and the various types of fruit that she cans. He senses that she has a thriving business and asks her several questions about her business.
Samuel and his brothers share the responsibility of King’s Orchard but Samuel feels it is his responsibility to make sure the orchard thrives not just now but for the future as well. They each are responsible for a third of the orchard, nurturing it, keeping pests away but Eli is slack and his third becomes infected making those apples unsalable for eating apples. Knowing this will create a financial loss for the orchard, Samuel seeks out possible solutions to help out the orchard so it won’t lose everything. Remembering how well Rhoda’s garden was growing, Samuel comes up with a plan to entice Rhoda to partner with King’s Orchard, to have her can the “cider” apples and bake pies and other baked goods with the apples that can’t be sold as “eating” apples.
When Samuel first approaches Rhoda about his plan, she is very reluctant. With continued persistence and persuasion, Samuel convinces her daed to have her at least visit the orchard and think about his proposal of partnering with them. She reluctantly agrees to visit the orchard after someone destroys her garden. She is shocked to find out that Samuel has a girlfriend since he never mentioned her at all. She begins to wonder what else he is hiding and isn’t sure if the partnership is a good idea or not. Rhoda thought that there was a spark of attraction between her and Samuel but she guesses that she must have been mistaken.
To find out whether Rhoda is persuaded to partner with Samuel and King’s Orchard or not you must read this book. Ask yourself, what other problems might Rhoda face? What other problems will the orchard face? What possible mysteries need tending to throughout the course of this possible partnership? Is the apple orchard the only are that needs tending or is there a possibility for love the tending of love as well?
These are only a few of the things that you will ponder on while you read and become enthralled in, “A Season for Tending: Amish Vines and Orchards – Book 1”, this extremely captivating story.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publisher. I have not received any compensation, in any manner, for the review of this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Christian fiction and or Amish fiction.