Christmas In Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

The Sound Of Sleigh Bells
Beth was engaged to Henry when he unexpectedly died. After his death, she refused to open herself up to hurt again, but not for the reasons that everyone thought. She had a secret hurt that no one knew about. She walked around in her black mourning clothes, refusing to let anyone into her pain. It was very sad to see Beth with a guilt and hurt that she couldn’t let go. Like so many people who are hurting, Beth thought she was putting up a good front, but everyone who cared about her saw through it.

Beth was on a buying and selling trip for her Aunt Lizzy’s store when she discovered a carving made by The Old Man. This carving seemed to speak to her soul and brought a spark of life back into her. She didn’t meet the carver but soon began writing to him, at times revealing more than she could believe herself. The letters became a type of therapy for her. I enjoyed reading their exchanges.

Jonah Kinsinger was The Old Man, the carver that had touched Beth’s life with his work. He had pain of his own that he had buried years before.

The story gets very interesting because Beth and Jonah believed they were writing to someone else. Jonah thought he was corresponding to Lizzy, while Beth assumed she was writing to an elderly gentleman. We’ve all seen friends and family do anything to help a loved one get through a problem, even use deceit. Lizzy knew it was wrong to trick them but she was desperate to help Beth.

The Christmas Singing
Mattie was planning on spending the rest of her days with Gideon until he betrayed her. Mattie moved on with her life in another town. Mattie was a little flighty and haphazard but very sweet. Her heart lit up when someone enjoyed her bakery creations. She had started dating again after moving. She was looking for someone who wouldn’t break her heart and she found Sol. Their relationship was convenient and comfortable. They had a passion for their hobbies, but not for each other.

Mattie returned to Apple Ridge and ran into Gideon after not seeing him for three years. She felt nothing but dislike for him. But Gideon had never gotten over Mattie, even though he had broken off their engagement. I was frustrated when I discovered why he broke up with her. Unplanned events caused Mattie and Gideon to have to spend a lot of time together. Mattie soon discovered she had some choices to make and where her heart really wanted to be.

The Dawn Of Christmas
The day Sadie was to be married, she discovered her fiancé, Daniel in the arms of another. Needless to say, the wedding was off. I was annoyed at everyone who believed that Sadie was over reacting to the situation. Sadie determined from that point to remain single the rest of her life. She moved to a different town and began doing mission work with the Mennonite church.

Levi Fisher had also decided that he would never be in a relationship. His sister-in-law left his brother and their son with no explanation. He would never be able to trust the opposite sex again. I found it interesting to read that Jonah’s brother couldn’t remarry as long as his wife, who left him, was alive.

Levi had an accident while riding his horse and was injured. Sadie was the one who found him. They had an instant connection and became great friends. Feeling pressure from family to settle down, they pretended to be a couple. They never planned on what happened next. While I know that Levi and Sadie chose to be deceitful and fake a relationship with one another, they shouldn’t have felt such pressure from their families to marry.

All three women in the stories suffer betrayal from the love of their life. Because of this, it was hard to love again. As you read this collection, you’ll see how God works in their lives and helps them to love again.
One of the stories touches the subject of abuse and how the victim responded to it. It’s not told in a disturbing way. We see the lies the abuse let the victim believe. But we also see that there can be healing from the pain it caused.

There are subplots going on in the stories that involved characters from Cindy Woodsmall’s books that take place in Apple Ridge. It was fun to see what was going on in their lives and catching up with them.

Cindy Woodsmall got me involved in the lives of the characters. I couldn’t help but root for everyone to find happiness and true love.

I received a free copy of this book from The Christian Manifesto and Multnomah/Waterbook Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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