I have been a long time fan of Amish fiction, beginning with Beverly Lewis's books. To this day, it remains one of my favorite genres. I have previously read some of Cindy Woodsmall's books, and The Scent of Cherry Blossoms definitely lives up to my expectations of her writing.
In this novella, we meet Annie Martin, an Old Order Mennonite and Aden Zook, an Old Order Amish man. Annie, one of several children in her family, has a poor relationship with her mother, which ultimately leads to Annie being sent to live with her grandfather in Apple Ridge. It is there that Annie runs into her old friend, Aden.
Aden's family owns a diner that is dependent on Annie's grandfather for the electricity that is required of all eating establishments, as the Amish are not allowed to have electricity themselves. When Aden's brother, Roman, is called away to help fix some equipment at their uncle's farm, Annie offers to assist Aden and his family with their diner.
During this time, Aden and Annie re-kindle feelings for each other that they had long ago buried. Since both had taken vows for their respective religion, it was inappropriate for the two to spend time together and completely unacceptable for them to begin a relationship. When Annie's grandfather found out about their fondness for each other, he threatened to take away the electricity that was so important to Aden's family. Annie and Aden must decide between pursuing their relationship despite their families' objections or letting go of their new-found love.
What I enjoyed most about this book is that it examines both Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite faith. This is definitely a love story, but it also focuses on family relationships. Annie's relationships with her mother and grandfather develop during this story, as does Aden's relationship with his brother.
Woodsmall writes in such a way as to make it easy to connect with her characters. When I finish the book, I really feel as though I know these characters. That makes it much easier for me to get interested in a story. In this case, I found I couldn't put the book down after a few chapters and finished it easily in an evening. A highly recommended read for anyone who likes Amish fiction or just a good all-around read.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.