About the Book
Title: The Englisch Daughter
Author: Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
Released: April 21, 2020 (I had a ARC.)
A marriage is tested in this Old Order Amish novel of longing for renewed love and a path for forgiveness from the best-selling author of Gathering the Threads.
Old Order Amish wife and mother Jemima has put her marriage and family ahead of herself for years. She’s set herself aside. Raising four children, she’s followed all the rules and has been patient in looking forward to her time to chase a dream of her own.
But when she finds out that her life savings for pursuing that dream is gone–and her husband, Roy, has been hiding a child with another woman–her entire world is shattered. Will she be able to listen to God and love Roy’s child? With so much at stake, how can she and Roy fix their relationship before their lives come crashing down?
The Englisch Daughter may be an Amish novel, but I was amazed at how much wisdom a married or single person could glean from it. Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall have teamed up to write a volume of prose that explores the attitude pits, so easy to fall into, but so hard to escape.
Between the two relationships the Woodsmalls examine, one the marriage of Jemima and Roy, the other the blossoming attraction between Abigail and Chris, we see lies, deceit, cover-ups, and barriers. What will it take for each couple to come to honesty and forgiveness? Can the relationships continue, or will the wrongs done be too great to overcome?
”When the honeymoon was over…marriage seemed to be a constant war between gratefulness and resentment, between contentment and restlessness, between what was too real and what wasn’t real enough.” Surely this is a truth that a lot of marriages run up against. They will either continue the dance between the two attitudes or choose to let the less needful attitude go.
I also loved another quote that any person who has been married for many years will tell you, in some form.
“…In every long-standing relationship, when life turned emotions on their heads and the only thing one felt was the opposite of what he or she used to feel, love became a decision and it stood the test of time.”
One person I know says, “Every morning I get up and I choose to stay married today.”
Surprisingly, it isn’t just Chris and Roy who need to make changes. Jemima and Abigail discover they also harbor attitudes that need to be forgiven, barriers that need to be lowered, and they both need to be vulnerable.
In case this sounds like a book full of only ruminations, don’t be fooled for a minute. There are boxing fights, fights with baseball bats, a horse farm disease, a tiny baby whose existence is threatened, then a lot of suspense about the baby’s living arrangements. No time for boring here. Plus you will relate to the tenseness of several situations the characters find themselves in, and you may just sigh with relief when life seems to right itself again. There are study questions (that would make this an excellent book club pick)and also a glossary in the back of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. This in no way affects my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
5 Stars- Hits My Reading Sweet Spot – People are the same despite our differences. There is much here the reader can relate to.
About the Author
She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.
She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings’ Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.
Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US.
As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.
Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.