BOOK REVIEW: Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

"Family, community, faith, and love. These "quilt blocks" sewn together made Ariana's beautiful life. When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain? The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she's immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother, and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana's worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can help steady Ariana's tilting ground between the two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals? At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life--no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can't leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn't belong in either family. New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they pray for the wisdom and strength they'll need to follow God's threads into unexpected futures? Fraying at the Edge is the second novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series"

'Fraying at the Edge' picks up where 'Ties That Bind' left off with Ariana trying to figure out life in the English world while Skylar is feeling abandoned and disgruntled in the Amish one.  If you haven't read the first book I highly suggest you do!  I seriously can't imagine being in either girls shoes.  And of course, not having to wait a year for the book to release is just a side benefit of the taking some time off.  Gotta find the silver linings right?

 Finding out she was switched at birth and really doesn't belong to the big Amish family she's always known.  Now that her biological dad has found out, made a few threats, and arranged for her to spend a year with her English family it's not going quite the way everyone hoped it had.  Not by a long shot.  The guy is a jerk to the nth degree and in all caps.  He is so against every single thing that Ariana values that he frequently crosses the line from 'broadening her horizons'.  She's 20 years old and her English bucket list' includes go to a bar and bonus points for have a drink.  Seriously?  'I'm such a great dad (who helped sorta raise an addict mind you) and I'm gonna ask my new child to drink illegally.'  I wanted to hate him.  I really did, however...  I don't like him but I grew a tiny soft spot for him.  He is so desperate to redo Ari's life that he makes all the same mistakes he made with Skylar.  I like that he took a step off his high horse and allowed for a give and take with Ariana. I think they both realized that they could have a conversation and that they didn't have to agree.  He's still a jerk, but a more human jerk.  Brandi and even Cameron were changed, for the better, by their time with Ariana as well.  I feel like even Ariana was changed, for the better, by her time with the English.  The Amish, may not agree once she's home.

Skylar was the antithesis of Ariana in every single way.  In the English world she was a pill popping rebellious entitled young adult that didn't care the consequences of her actions because it wasn't her fault right?  In the Amish world she was withdrawn, withdrawing, and angry.  So very angry.  Her English family didn't want her anymore.  Her Amish family was beyond the realm of understanding and loved Ariana so much that she didn't belong there either.  And her boyfriend stopped sneaking her in pills.  Consistency and love can go a long way.  A lot of consistency.  A LOT of love.  A smidge of understanding and a boat load of patience.  Somewhere along the way Skylar opened her heart just a tiny bit.  She stepped into Ariana's dream (the cafe) and stepped up to help out the family.  Her biological family.  She learns a lot about love, and family and herself.  She learns to actually take responsibility for life and others.  And when she's given the opportunity to go back to the life she grew up with she's not ready.  

I loved this story.  I need to read the next story to know where the girls end up.  How their situation fills out.  And thanks to the book hiatus I don't have to wait at all.  Well, through the other other's in the TBR pile but that's not a year, it's like a week. 

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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Fraying at the Edge
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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