Happy Thursday. I hope all of you are having a happy and productive day! It seems that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Cindy Woodsmall is the author of the book I am highlighting today. She has written some wonderful novels. Sisters of the Quilt trilogy, Amish Vines and Orchards series, and An Ada's House trilogy are a few of her series. Amish Christmas at North Star, The Sound of Sleigh Bells (one of my favorites), and Christmas in Apple Ridge (three books in one including The Sound of Sleigh Bells) are just a few of her books. Her Christmas novel this year is The Angel of Forest Hill (I just love her Christmas novels). If you enjoy Amish fiction, you should definitely check out Cindy Woodsmall.
Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall is the second book in The Amish at Summer Grove series. Ariana Brenneman is twenty years old and has just discovered that she was switched with another girl at birth. There was a fire at the birthing center the night Ariana and another little girl were born. Everyone had to evacuate and Rachel, the midwife took charge of the babies. The two girls must have been switched at that time. In order to avoid the Rachel, the midwife and now elderly, from being sued or going to jail (by Nicholas Jenkins, her biological father), Ariana must live in the Englisch world with her biological family (blackmail is always a good way to start a relationship). Nicholas does not believe in organized religion and has a very low opinion of the Amish culture (he is an atheist). Nicholas wants Ariana to spend one year with him and her biological mother, Brandi Nash (they are not married to each other). This means that Ariana will have to ask her family to run her new café while she is gone and her fiancé, Rudy will have to be patient and await her return. Nicholas makes up a list of items (a life lessons list) for Ariana. He wants her to accomplish a certain number of items on the “list” (going to a bar, dating, getting her driver’s license, hair, clothes, etc.). Ariana is in for a rough adjustment. The only person she can contact is Quill Schlabach, former Amish, who works with his brothers at Schlabach Construction (Nicholas believes he is a good influence). They also help people who wish to leave the Amish community. Ariana had hoped for a future with Quill, but then he left the community unexpectedly with her best friend. How will Ariana adjust to the Englisch world? Will Ariana be the same person when she returns home?
Skylar Nash is the girl that was switched with Ariana. Skylar is given the choice of staying with her birth parents (Lovina and Isaac Brenneman) or going to rehab. Skylar has a drug problem and is rebellious. Nicholas is cutting her off (no money for college, place to live). Skylar picks staying with the Brenneman’s. But Skylar is in for a shock when she finds out that they do not have electricity, phones, etc. Her goal is to find money to escape and keep herself plied with drugs. After spending her first few days sleeping, Isaac insists that Skylar has to contribute to the household. She can work in the gardens, help with the household chores, work in the barn, or help in the café. Skylar picks working in the café hoping it will provide a chance to see her boyfriend and drug dealer. Lovina wants to get to know her daughter, but Skylar is not interested. She feels that Nicholas and Brandi were glad to be rid of her and her birth family did not care enough to look for her. Skylar is in for a reality check living with the Brenneman’s. Can the Brenneman’s help rebellious and wounded Skylar?
Fraying at the Edge is well-written (as are all of Cindy Woodsmall’s books) and has good characters. It is not a stand-alone novel. You do need to read the first book in the series in order to understand everything that is happening in Fraying at the Edge (or you will be very confused). I did find that the religious aspect is strong in this book. There are many theological “discussions” as Nicholas rants about the Amish culture and other religions. I have to admit that I did find it off-putting, and I started skimming through these sections (for me that means speed reading). I did, though, like his point about questioning things and not just following with blind obedience. It was interesting to see how Ariana adjusted to life in the Englisch world. Ms. Woodsmall did a very good job at showing us how our world (Englisch) looks through Arianna’s eyes. I give Fraying at the Edge 4 out of 5 stars. I was disappointed with the cliffhanger. We have to wait another year for the final book and answers (which I will be reading). I am curious to see what life Ariana will pick.
The first book in The Amish of Summer Grove is The Ties that Bind. I received a copy of Fraying at the Edge from Blogging for Books and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
I really appreciate you stopping by and reading my review (sorry it was long today). I am currently reading Sarah's Orphans by Vannetta Chapman (it is very good). May all of you have a delightful evening. I will be back tomorrow with another honest book review. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader