Review: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cindy Woodsmall
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Age recommendation: Young adult, Adult
Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.
But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn.
Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?
This is my second Cindy Woodsmall novella and I absolutely loved it. The Scent of Cherry Blossoms has a similar setting to The Christmas Singing; some of the characters from the latter novella make appearances in the former and vice-versa.
I requested this book for review because the Mennonite “vs.” Amish topic caught my attention. I was curious and wanted to find out whether the couple in love would remain in the Mennonite or Amish community. As I read, I fell in love with the story and characters.
Something that really stands out right from the beginning is the way Cindy does not sugarcoat disagreements the Mennonites and Amish have among themselves. Frequently, bonnet fiction depict Plain people as leading very peaceful lifestyles and having very submissive children. Thus, you could imagine my surprise when I read about the young characters having disagreements with their elders. It was shocking, really.
It was also eye-opening how the Mennonite and Amish cultures differ. Prior to reading The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, I did not know that there is such a group as the Old Order Mennonite. I had always assumed that Mennonites are way more modern than the Amish, judging by the Mennonites in one of the Plain forums in cyberspace.
The main characters are endearing. Whether it is Aden who stutters, kind-hearted Annie, or frustrated Roman, you can easily empathize with their struggles and feel disappointed when they make mistakes. My favorite character is Aden. He is this young guy who is struggling between the decision of being with the girl he loves and keeping the Amish rules he has been taught from young. His family opposes the idea of him being in a relationship with a girl not belonging to the Amish community. To summarize it all, he is between a rock and a hard place.
All in all, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms quickly became another favorite book for me. The complications in the story along with what we can learn about the Mennonites and Amish makes this book an enjoyable and hard-to-put-down read.
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About the author
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times bestselling author. Her first novel, When the Heart Cries, released in 2006 became a Christian Book Association bestseller. It was also the 2007 ECPA Christian Book of the Year Award finalist. Her second novel, When the Morning Comes, hit numerous best-sellers lists across the US, including edging into the extended list of the New York Times, coming in at number thirty-four. Her third novel, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen, as well as making the USA Today’s best-sellers list. Her connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families has served well to provide authenticity in her fiction and nonfiction works. Visit her website at www.cindywoodsmall.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”