Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seasons of Tomorrow by Cindy Woodsmall

In the fourth and final book of the Amish Vines and Orchards series, we find Rhoda Byler working with Samuel King at the Orchard Bend, Maine community that they had begun with a group of Amish working together to make a new start.  

Rhoda had previously had a relationship with Jacob King, brother of Samuel. Their relationship ended and he left their small community and Rhoda stayed and continued in the canning business they had worked on together.  She and Samuel have become close and their feelings seem to be mutual but unacted upon because of the past relationship of Jacob and Rhoda. 

Leah and Landon the Englischer also a finding themselves in a relationship.  However, as more Amish move from their own home to Orchard Bend, word reaches Leah's Dat about this and he becomes totally upset, coming to Orchard Bend with the intent of making sure that the relationship doesn't continue.  Landon ends up leaving with the promise not to have any contact again for a year with Leah.  To do so could cause serious problems for the others of their community, such as shunning and other religious worries. 

As Phoebe, wife of Steven, their religious leader in Orchard Bend becomes fatally ill, all things hang in balance and threatens to end the work they have started.  With no help in the orchards, Samuel is left a lone man to work them.  How will the community come to grips with the situations at hand, continue to do the work they have built up and have peace in the community?

I really enjoyed this book.  It probably wasn't my favorite of the series, however, it was a good read and I will still recommend it to my reader friends.  I have read the entire series and enjoyed seeing their struggles, their ways of handling problems and seeing that the Amish too, as the rest of us, have their struggles within their communities as do we all.  Seeing and understanding the feelings as loved ones deal with the decisions of leaving their faith or remaining true to old traditions and ways is a realistic storyline which many people see in their own lives and situations. 

I plan to continue to follow Cindy's writings.  She has a very nice writing style.  A particular part of an example of her writing comes from this book onpage 81 as Jacob is seeing Esther's flooring that she created from a very old home. 

There's something wonderfully rich about standing on a floor where people stood a hundred or two hundred years ago, isn't there?  As if we're touching history while becoming history." 

I really enjoyed that because of my personal interest in history as a genealogist, walking in the footsteps of my ancestors as I find their former homes fills me with feelings I could never describe.

I also love how Bible verses are written into the book and the question that Leah asks herself.

"Did God hold people to those things?  Her Daed certainly had Bible verses that said He did."

This demonstrated to me that each of us may have our own personal interpretation of a particular scripture.  We may turn it or twist it to fit out personal wants and needs, and perhaps those are not the wishes of God.  We need to pray for understanding of the scriptures rather than make our own man-made interpretations.

And in closing, on page 159, "That orchard represented what the Kings always stood for: hope.  Perhaps it was time for Leah to embrace hope like that too--a hope that didn't look at what was but what could be through prayer, work, and patience."

And that is what life is for each of us, prayer, work and patience that those prayers will be answered for our own good and benefit.

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