Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Amish Fiction
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Two babies, switched at birth. One is raised Amish and the other is raised by her unmarried mother with very little input from her father. What happens when the switch is discovered and both families want to get to know their “real” child?
Fraying at the Edge is book two in the Amish of Summer Grove series by Cindy Woodsmall and it picks up seamlessly where Ties that Bind left off. Nicholas Jenkins, Ariana Brenneman’s biological father, has forced Ariana to leave the only home she’s ever known by threatening a lawsuit against the aging midwife who mixed up the two baby girls. Forget the fact that there was a fire in the birthing center and that one of the births was a set of twins. Nicholas, an atheist and free thinker, cannot stand the fact that his daughter was raised in such a cloistered religious community. He sees his demand as more of a rescue from a cult than an unfair disruption of Ariana’s life.
Skylar Nash, the other girl in the mix-up, grew up believing she could do whatever she wanted because her parents didn’t really care about her. They were too busy fighting each other to notice what she was doing. When she is caught with drugs in her system, her parents issue an ultimatum: rehab or live Amish for a year with your “real” family. Feeling abandoned by the only family she knows, Skylar decides to try living Amish – all the while, plotting ways to get drugs and planning her escape. Arriving on the Brenneman doorstep, she discovers that not only does she have parents who love her sight unseen but she also has 9 – count them – 9 siblings and one of them is her twin! Skylar can leave her electronics behind; she can even leave her phone behind but can she survive without her drugs? Does she even want to?
Will Ariana be able to withstand Nicholas’ constant badgering about why her faith isn’t valid? What happens when she begins to see that some of the things she was brought up to believe appear to be simply dictates of men who enjoy having power? When the time comes to return to Summer Grove and her fiancé, Rudy, will she return unchanged or will the ties binding her to the life she was supposed to live prove too strong?
Cindy Woodsmall weaves so many stories into one cohesive whole it’s an amazing thing to see! Fraying at the Edge is no exception. On the surface we have the two parallel stories of Ariana Brenneman and Skylar Nash. Then she throws in the story of Quill Schlabach and his brothers; Abram Brenneman and Cilla Yoder; Quill and Ariana; Quill and Frieda, Ariana’s best friend; sisters, Susie, Martha and Salome. There are so many characters it can be confusing keeping them straight but each story adds to the richness of the whole. With each story comes a little more understanding into the motivations behind some of the actions.
I can’t wait for the conclusion of the Amish of Summer Grove, Gathering the Threads, coming in August 2017. I definitely recommend this series but I also recommend that the books be read as a series beginning with Ties that Bind, moving into Fraying at the Edge and finishing with Gathering the Threads. While they can be read separately, the first two finish with something of a “cliff-hanger” and I think you miss a lot of the relationship nuances if you don’t read all three books in order. Cindy Woodsmall has moved into my “MUST READ” category and, so far, this series proves why!
I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Rated G: No worries with this one.
Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher. Thank you!