BOOK REVIEW: Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever. 

There is something to be said about waiting until an entire series is out before starting it.  Authors and publishers may not like what I'm about to say but it's entirely worth thinking about.  Well, on second thought, don't do everything I am about to is not for the faint of heart and can make you miserable.  It's a pretty well known fact that I took some time off from reviewing and blogging and all the stuff that goes with that.  In that time (entirely too much time!) I didn't focus on the new books or even the old books though I did read a ton on my Kindle library (just without reviewing) like it was a glass of sweet tea.  I missed a lot from some favorite authors.  Maybe a whole series (or honestly several!).  Back in the saddle and more productive than ever before I was given an opportunity to review Cindy's last book in her The Amish of Summer Grove series.  You can't just read the end without starting at the beginning.  So that's where I started with 'Ties That Bind'.  And am ever so grateful that there's no long drawn out wait for me to read the next book...I already have it in the stack.  Bless all of ya'll who made it through the wait for these to come out.  I'd have lost it I'm certain!

Ariana's heart was broken by her childhood best friend Quill when he left the Amish under the cover of darkness (at her expense) with her friend Frieda.  There's a story there, a much larger story that I hope plays out in later books.  Quill, while older, was her first love, really her only love.  She's dated a bit but then meets Rudy and finds love again.  All of this while saving and working toward her dream of the restaurant to help her financially struggling family.  There are so many threads that blend together almost seamlessly that it doesn't feel overwhelming.  Quill has lots of secrets.  Ariana's parents have a pretty big secret - maybe?  Yeah, it's there after all, just took some time to go from maybe to real.  Even Ariana's sister has a secret.  And we all know that secrets have a way of coming out.  And when her parents' secret comes out it's life changing.  For them, for Ariana, for Rudy and another English family as well.  

Skylar Nash is an English girl whose life is about to intersect with this loving Amish family in a way no one could have predicted.  Lifelong fears become life altering secrets that have no way of staying under wraps.  I'm struggling to not give out spoilers but I feel like all I'm doing is dancing with words...and sister don't dance.  At the end of this book we leave Summer Grove with Ariana as she embarks on an adventure (I'm trying to soften the blow people!) to the English world while Skylar finds herself at the doorstep to rebel against what she fears the Amish will bring to her life.  Again, grateful that I don't have to wait a year to read the next book, just a couple of weeks as I work through the ever rotating pile.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Cindy Woodsmall and WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishing.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review. 

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Ties that Bind (The Amish of Summer Grove #1)
About Cindy Woodsmall
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written nineteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy’s been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers.

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