The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall
Reviewed by: Jennifer S. Roman, Radiant Li
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
After her longtime love, Gideon, suddenly breaks up with her, Mattie Eash leaves her home in Apple Ridge, PA, and moves to Berlin, Ohio. She rebuilds her life around her bakery, which is famous for her exquisitely decorated cakes. She also finds a new steady, Sol. Mattie’s bakery is destroyed by a fire and she is forced to go home to stay with her family until the bakery can be rebuilt. Mattie enjoys being at home again with her family and friends until she sees Gideon interacting with the English girls. She believes he is establishing a romantic relationship with this new girl and forces herself to stay away from him until she learns the horrible truth: he broke things off with her when he found out he had a rare form of leukemia. Not wanting her to have to deal with the knowledge and his possible death, he tried to set her free to find a new love.
Woodsmall demonstrates her knowledge of the Amish world through peppering conversations with typical Amish words in the conversations. She illustrates how idyllic life in the Amish community can be, yet she also shows the hardships and support the community shares. The storyline itself is not new, but it is charming and simple. This one is particularly heartfelt because it occurs at Christmas, and we all like to feel that special Christmas magic. The characters are likeable, and even though Gideon breaks Mattie’s heart, we still ache for him and his situation. Amish communities are so big that it is hard to remember who each person is and how he or she relates to everyone else. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the large families offer opportunities for more stories. he book, at only 189 pages, is a quick and easy read. For those drooling after the delightful descriptions of Mattie’s beloved cakes, there are some recipes at the back of the book.
Because the book is about the Plain, who live simple, God-fearing lives, this book doesn’t contain any offensive language or sexual situations. Teens are just as likely to enjoy this book as adults because it is a sweet romance that is not inappropriate. In fact, it takes us to a time when dating and courtship involve a lot of interacting and getting to know one another. This book would make a good read for anyone interested in romance and the Amish way of life.