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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: The Sound of Sleigh Bells: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country by Cindy Woodsmall

This is a delightful story -- good plot, strong characters and well written.
The Sound of Sleigh Bells: A Romance from the Heart of Amish Country
by Cindy Woodsmall
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook; First Edition edition (October 6, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0307446530
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 5 hrs and 20 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:10-06-09
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Amish, Inspirational
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.
Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

Beth Hertzler has tried to freeze her emotions since the unexpected, accidental death of her fiancé. She is beyond the time to set aside for mourning but she can’t move on. Her friends and especially her Aunt Lizzy struggle to pull her into social circles again.

Beth works as a sort of sales liaison between Amish Craftsmen and Englishcers. She discovers a beautiful carving and is determined to help the unknown artist find an outsource. Beth’s bishop is not inclined to give approval as he views such carvings as “idols”.

Aunt Lizzy takes it upon herself to find the artist, Jonah. Jonah is a mature young man who learned the carving skills from his grandfather. Jonah has suffered his own traumas as a youth and, although he is happy his siblings have found strong mates, he doesn’t see himself finding someone of his own.

Lizzy secretly nudges the two into a writing exchange where they begin to share their hurts and dreams with each other. Beth believes she is writing to an old grandfather. Jonah at first thinks he is writing to Lizzy, a woman older than himself. When he discovers the truth, he knows that they must reveal the deception but he doesn’t want to lose Beth when she learns the truth.

This is a charming story of the harm of secrets and forgiveness. It is also a well told plot revealing the need to trust – first in God and then in those who love us. The letter exchange is quite beautiful and the author does a wonderful job of developing the characters and their relationship through this connection. I really like both characters who have strength and vulnerability. The supporting characters add to the story too. The story moves at a nice pace and is a quick read.

All my friends in Ladies Book agreed that this was a well written, engaging and wonderful story. We plan to seek more titles from Ms. Woodsmall. We highly recommend this to readers who enjoy Amish stories, and/or clean romance with well-developed characters.

Audio Notes: Although I had this in print, I picked up the Audible to read (listen) quicker.
Cassandra Campbell does a lovely job with the narration. Her voice is soft and fits the tone of the story. Although the male voices are precisely male, Ms. Campbell manages to portray their rougher strength. She also captures the soft gentleness and loneliness of Beth as well as the quiet strength and tenderness of Jonah. I can recommend the print or audio version.

I won this book a number of years ago and picked it up for our Ladies Book Club. This qualifies for Mount TBR and 2016 Audio Challenge.

One (gently read) PRINT COPY
US or Canada Only

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries
(a) comment on the review, OR
(b) Visit the Author's website and tell me something you learned or like there.

* This contest is open to US and Canada only for Print Copy.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) January 21, 2017. Winner will be announced in the Sunday Post on 1/22/17.
Winners are asked to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.


  1. It seems like an interesting book!

  2. Great review. This sounds like an interesting story, I have added it my list to get. While visiting Cindy Woodsmall page, I found out her house is a house of dogs lovers and might have more who was cat lovers if her husband wasn't allergic to cats. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this story with us.

  3. Jonah sounds creative

  4. This sounds like a wonderful story.

  5. I liked the review, sounds like a good read.

  6. I read a post by Cindy's daughter in law where she told about the birth of their, Silas. Very interesting. I always have enjoyed Cindy's Amish books and this looks very interesting. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  7. Great review. I've never read this Author before. Sounds like great reading.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


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