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Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles. Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles. Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and use of ideas that don't line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board's case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble. One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife, Elsie, has shut him out of her life, and he doesn't know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family. Lena and Grey have been life-long friends, but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?


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Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles. Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious Love alone isn't enough to overcome some obstacles. Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and use of ideas that don't line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board's case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble. One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife, Elsie, has shut him out of her life, and he doesn't know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family. Lena and Grey have been life-long friends, but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?

30 review for The Bridge of Peace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I loved it! The characters are now part of my family. I laughed. I cried. I got angry. I cheered.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This is the 2nd in Cindy Woodsmall's Ada's House series of Amish novels. It's the story of Lena Kauffman, a single schoolteacher in an Old Order Amish community, facing both a challenging "scholar" in her classroom and a hostile school board ready to dismiss her for her independent ways. The trouble is that Lena isn't aware another enemy is lurking at every corner. I haven't read anything by Cindy Woodsmall before. The author information page states that the author has a good grasp on the Amish c This is the 2nd in Cindy Woodsmall's Ada's House series of Amish novels. It's the story of Lena Kauffman, a single schoolteacher in an Old Order Amish community, facing both a challenging "scholar" in her classroom and a hostile school board ready to dismiss her for her independent ways. The trouble is that Lena isn't aware another enemy is lurking at every corner. I haven't read anything by Cindy Woodsmall before. The author information page states that the author has a good grasp on the Amish community because of real-life family connections. So I was quite surprised when her characters didn't seem to fit the Amish stereotype, for lack of a better word, I have in mind. I've read several Amish novels written by another well-known writer, and her characters are vastly different in comparison. Woodsmall's characters seemed informal in their conversations, hardly an actual mention of God, and there were things the characters did that I just couldn't imagine the Amish would condone. I found myself confused for the first 100 pages, too. There were so many different characters who were related to one another in some fashion, and I couldn't keep them straight. I believe it might be best to read the first book in the series before reading this one, in order to know who is whom. Once I caught on to the family and friend relationships, the story finally took off for me and gained momentum. I truly wanted to love this book when I began, but I didn't. The story was somewhat interesting and a bit unpredictable, but I probably won't recommend it to my friends because it just didn't grab me. This one didn't quite compare to other Amish novels I've read and enjoyed. I will probably pass on others written by Woodsmall. I wish to thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a favorable review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristy Griffin

    It kept me on my toes and made me feel strong for Lena as she was dealing with so much.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Title: THE BRIDGE OF PEACE Author: Cindy Woodsmall Publisher: Waterbrook August 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4000-7397-9 Genre: Inspirational/Amish Lena Kauffman is the school teacher in an Old Amish community. She has a huge birthmark on the side of her face, which she feels mars her beauty. This has been compounded by the fact that over the years, no one has ever wanted to court her. This year is difficult. There is a new family in the community with a teen that is difficult to teach. He keeps flinging insult Title: THE BRIDGE OF PEACE Author: Cindy Woodsmall Publisher: Waterbrook August 2010 ISBN: 978-1-4000-7397-9 Genre: Inspirational/Amish Lena Kauffman is the school teacher in an Old Amish community. She has a huge birthmark on the side of her face, which she feels mars her beauty. This has been compounded by the fact that over the years, no one has ever wanted to court her. This year is difficult. There is a new family in the community with a teen that is difficult to teach. He keeps flinging insults at Lena, and she stands up to him, but soon finds herself the target of even more vicious attacks. Grey Graber is struggling with his marriage. He wants to get help, but his wife wants their issues kept private. But Grey doesn’t know how to reach her. When they begin to make strides toward healing tragedy strikes the family. Will Grey find the strength to move on? Grey & Lena have been life-long friends, but circumstances are crumbling their friendship. Will they be able to face their secrets and restore their friendship? THE BRIDGE OF PEACE is book two in An Ada’s House series. I was hopelessly confused in the beginning of the book, as I didn’t remember reading book one at all. I had, but apparently it didn’t make a strong enough impression on me that I remembered it almost two years later. But once I got into Lena’s story, I was captured. I was horrified by Dwayne’s actions, seriously that boy needs help, and I don’t think I’d want my daughters to read this Amish book…it didn’t leave that feel-good feeling that a lot of Amish books leave. However, I totally adored Jonathan, and Ephraim, and even Grey, though he had his issues as well. And Lena, Deborah, and Cara were strong characters. Realistic. I’m giving this book five stars with reservations, mainly due to Dwayne, and the confusion in the beginning of the book. $13.99. 342 pages.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This second book in the “Ada's House” series picks up right where the first one left off. While the central character in this novel is schoolteacher Lena, others that we've come to know and love in “The Hope of Refuge” continue their stories through these pages as well. Lena is plagued by self-consciousness because of the birthmark on her face. She is convinced that no one can see past the blemish into her warm and fun-loving heart. Despite her fears she is quite a spunky lady and has come under This second book in the “Ada's House” series picks up right where the first one left off. While the central character in this novel is schoolteacher Lena, others that we've come to know and love in “The Hope of Refuge” continue their stories through these pages as well. Lena is plagued by self-consciousness because of the birthmark on her face. She is convinced that no one can see past the blemish into her warm and fun-loving heart. Despite her fears she is quite a spunky lady and has come under the censure of the school board for following her own instincts and not the Old Ways to reach the children under her care. Someone in the community does not like Lena at all. A dark plot to destroy Lena's reputation and even her life takes form. Tragedies begin happening in the schoolyard. The community is soon polarized over this woman whose best efforts seem to fall flat on their face time and again. Cindy Woodsmall is an excellent writer, and while her stories do not ring completely true with my own experience of living near an Amish community in the Midwest, my interest was definitely held all the way through. It was a little confusing keeping all the characters straight and I thought it would have been helpful to have had a recap of who was who at the beginning. I had to chuckle when I turned the last page and saw there was indeed such a cast of characters, only it was placed after the story when it was too late to do the reader any good. Oh well. I've enjoyed this series and will be watching for the final installment coming in Fall 2011! WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review. This review originally appeared at http://wwww.reviewsbyerin.livejournal...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    'The Bridge of Peace' is Woodsmall's second book in the Ada House series and follows the story of Lena Kauffman. Lena is in her early twenties and is an Old Order Amish schoolteacher with a visible birthmark on her cheek, which she feels is the reason that she has never been courted. Taunted mercilessly as a child, she is unable to see her own beauty. Grey Graber grew up with Lena and always admired her. However, being 7 years older, he never pursued a relationship with her. Instead her married Elsie, 'The Bridge of Peace' is Woodsmall's second book in the Ada House series and follows the story of Lena Kauffman. Lena is in her early twenties and is an Old Order Amish schoolteacher with a visible birthmark on her cheek, which she feels is the reason that she has never been courted. Taunted mercilessly as a child, she is unable to see her own beauty. Grey Graber grew up with Lena and always admired her. However, being 7 years older, he never pursued a relationship with her. Instead her married Elsie, a beautiful Amish girl with a dark cloud over her soul. Their first child, Ivan, was born with a birth defect. This causes Elsie to become withdrawn and depressed. The stillbirth of their second child sent her into a downward spiral of bitterness and hate. When tragedy strikes, Lena and Grey's lives seem to draw them to each other. But Lena feels as if no man could truly love her and Grey has his own issues that he must work through. Meanwhile, storylines from the first book are being explored and developed. Cara and Ephraim are still working on their upcoming marriage and Cara's conversion to the Amish. Deborah is coming to terms with Mahlon leaving and learning how to move forward with life. Also, there are some new characters that are introduced, including Dwayne, a troubled Amish boy who has a dangerous obsession with Lena. I'm giving the book 5 stars because the characters were so real. I loved Lena's spunk, Grey's faith in his son, Cara's blunt ways, Deborah's journey to healing. I feel as if Woodsmall captured their very soul and brought them to life. It would be hard to dislike the characters in this series!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Have you ever picked up a book that you couldn't put down but had to because you couldn't bear to read any more but then you picked it right back up again because you couldn't bear not knowing what's going to happen? LOL. Maybe I'm the only one who gets so emotionally involved with the characters that sometimes it just plain hurts to read. Anyway this was that kind of book for me. It's the second in the Ada's House series, and while reading the first book, The Hope of Refuge, isn't completely nec Have you ever picked up a book that you couldn't put down but had to because you couldn't bear to read any more but then you picked it right back up again because you couldn't bear not knowing what's going to happen? LOL. Maybe I'm the only one who gets so emotionally involved with the characters that sometimes it just plain hurts to read. Anyway this was that kind of book for me. It's the second in the Ada's House series, and while reading the first book, The Hope of Refuge, isn't completely necessary, it would enrich your enjoyment of this one. Be prepared for an edgy read, though. This isn't your typical Amish romance as Woodsmall introduces a darker element to the plot. A definite page-turner. Lena is so much fun! I really enjoyed her character, her mischief-making and delight in sharing laughter with those around her. She's definitely a different image of what you might think a stereotypical Amish woman would be. And I adored the relationship she has with her father. So loving and gentle, with lots of teasing thrown in. He is such a haven for her as more and more difficulties arise. I also appreciated the recurring roles of favourite characters, Cara, Ephraim, Ada and Deborah (not to mention Better Days) from the Hope of Refuge. Woodsmall deftly wove their stories in and around Lena's, making this book a rich and satisfying read. !

  8. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    The metaphor of this story if what grabs me every time I read this book and this is the second time I have done so. The symbol of the “bridge” between two of the characters always makes me take a moment and savor the power of it. There are several of such moments in this book, I wish I could share them all, but you’ll have to read the book to find them. Suffice it is to say I stop, dwell on the words, their rhythm and impact. I love how Cindy’s books move with a very easy quality. There aren’t a The metaphor of this story if what grabs me every time I read this book and this is the second time I have done so. The symbol of the “bridge” between two of the characters always makes me take a moment and savor the power of it. There are several of such moments in this book, I wish I could share them all, but you’ll have to read the book to find them. Suffice it is to say I stop, dwell on the words, their rhythm and impact. I love how Cindy’s books move with a very easy quality. There aren’t a lot of hundred dollar words, but she paints a picture of life in an Amish community that could very easily be any other community amongst you and I. All the plots in this book make it an interesting read, but never a confusing one. Lena, Grey, Cara, Deborah, Jonathon, they all are painted with depth and precision and I am looking forward to book three getting here in a few months. It promises a fabulous conclusion. I would suggest reading this series in order. I think above all the story is a prevailing one. It speaks to the heart with the characters and the words that make them dance across the page. This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charmaine

    If you're looking for a sweet little story about the good and simple Amish people, this will not fit the bill. There are some pithy issues dealt with in this story and the Amish are not portrayed in a perfect and idealized way. This is a romance novel, at its core and there are a lot of "misunderstandings" between people that one can expect from the romance genre. But it does all work out in the end (which is also to be expected from a modern-day romance). I enjoyed it, for the most part, with o If you're looking for a sweet little story about the good and simple Amish people, this will not fit the bill. There are some pithy issues dealt with in this story and the Amish are not portrayed in a perfect and idealized way. This is a romance novel, at its core and there are a lot of "misunderstandings" between people that one can expect from the romance genre. But it does all work out in the end (which is also to be expected from a modern-day romance). I enjoyed it, for the most part, with only a wee bit of eye-rolling at all of the confusion between the would-be couples. Clean readers: 100% clean.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tina Watson

    I love the fact that my county is the back drop in this series. Even a local doctor is featured in the first book with a few lines. I went to school with his children and graduated with his oldest son, who at 32 yrs old is going back to college to be a doctor too. Enough about that. Cindy Woodsmall as always writes an excellent book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Excellent writing. Good information about Amish in modern times. It shows that no matter your faith or denomination, we all go through the same struggles, have the same things affect us. Sin is not new! Those who have true Faith know how to deal with it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall is the second book of a three book series: Ada's House. This trilogy reminded me how much I enjoy books by this author. Ms. Woodsmall creates tales with emotional dynamics that pulls me in, keeps me reading intently without wanting to put down the book, and connect with the well-developed characters so that I feel I have a vested interest in the outcome. Cara and Ephraim's story is continued from the first book into this one. We also get to know Deborah, The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall is the second book of a three book series: Ada's House. This trilogy reminded me how much I enjoy books by this author. Ms. Woodsmall creates tales with emotional dynamics that pulls me in, keeps me reading intently without wanting to put down the book, and connect with the well-developed characters so that I feel I have a vested interest in the outcome. Cara and Ephraim's story is continued from the first book into this one. We also get to know Deborah, Ephraim's sister a little better since she, Cara and Ada live together in Hope Crossing now. Cara is helping Deborah recover when her fiance leaves her and his mother without support. It seems he even left the Amish lifestyle behind him. The three women eventually establish a good business as a bakery in their new setting in spite of a rough beginning, while Ada continues to mentor Cara. Meanwhile back in Dry Lake, where the story originated, Teacher Lena is having difficulties in school with a rebellious and angry student, a bull in the neighboring pasture threatens the school children, Grey is having marital difficulties, Jonathan is attracted to Deborah, Israel is beginning to see Ada, and Dwane is being downright creepy. While we don't know these characters now, this authors manages to capture our interest in them quickly as our sense of community grows. Suspense builds, and so does the drama. I recommend you bring along a box of tissues when you read this book. The drama in this tale is just as heart-wrenching and touching as those in the first book. Midst all the emotional valleys and mountain tops, this author holds it all together with great humor and meaningful life lessons. I found it helpful to read this book right after book 1 of the series. The three books together run seamlessly into each other, building on the storyline right at the beginning. You can read them independently, but you would lose some of the references to the action that went on before. Because of that, I recommend purchasing these books together. One other thing really attracts me to this author's works. She weaves into her stories examples that steadfastly demonstrate God's involvement in our everyday lives. These stories are like word pictures in action. We're not preached at, but we see God's principles enacted throughout the book in such a way that it has to touch our hearts. Whenever I read her books, I find myself delving into deep thoughts of spiritual meaning, how God can live through me more effectively, showing how much He loves His children. All this comes so naturally to the author's pen, that we barely notice it while reading these tales. This is why Cindy Woodsmall is one of my top favorite authors. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing). I was not required to write a review, positive or otherwise. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rosemarie

    Picking up where book 1 in this series left off, the story concentrates on Lena Kauffman, the community's school teacher. She loves her job and loves the children - and assumes she will be teaching for a long time as she has no prospects for marriage. She believes it's because of the large birthmark on her face, and she's made peace with it. But several things happen that get her into trouble with the school board, and she's eventually fired. Her one advocate on the board has no idea what happen Picking up where book 1 in this series left off, the story concentrates on Lena Kauffman, the community's school teacher. She loves her job and loves the children - and assumes she will be teaching for a long time as she has no prospects for marriage. She believes it's because of the large birthmark on her face, and she's made peace with it. But several things happen that get her into trouble with the school board, and she's eventually fired. Her one advocate on the board has no idea what happened because he is in mourning over his wife's accidental death. When he does learn of Lena's situation, he discovers it's worse than anyone realized and he finds himself saving her life....in more ways than one. Another excellent novel by Cindy Woodsmall.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather Bridson

    I love Amish stories. This one is no exception, however, this book was a bit more intense than the usual books. It had some disturbing events, a couple so disturbing I had to keep reading until the images were out of my head. One messed up character for sure! But, I did love the story otherwise! And the characters other than the one were just wonderful. The story was well written and just a great read! I have not read the first in this series, but I am hoping to in the future. I found this onein I love Amish stories. This one is no exception, however, this book was a bit more intense than the usual books. It had some disturbing events, a couple so disturbing I had to keep reading until the images were out of my head. One messed up character for sure! But, I did love the story otherwise! And the characters other than the one were just wonderful. The story was well written and just a great read! I have not read the first in this series, but I am hoping to in the future. I found this onein a thrift shop and picked it up like I do most amish stories I find.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Well, I wasn't sure about this one at the beginning. It seemed that some of the characters were making foolish decisions and it frustrated me. But this book picks up steam as it goes along and by the end, the suspense was incredible. This is definitely not your usual Amish literature. And since it's part 2 of a series, be sure to read the first one before you start this one. I listened on audio; the narrator was OK. I was glad to find all three parts on audio because I was running out of commute Well, I wasn't sure about this one at the beginning. It seemed that some of the characters were making foolish decisions and it frustrated me. But this book picks up steam as it goes along and by the end, the suspense was incredible. This is definitely not your usual Amish literature. And since it's part 2 of a series, be sure to read the first one before you start this one. I listened on audio; the narrator was OK. I was glad to find all three parts on audio because I was running out of commute literature! Now on to Part 3.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mirandajo

    This second book in the series continued the path of the first book and added a few more characters. The storyline is good, but with a few situations that are a little on the silly side. With that said, this book held my interest, as did the first, and I look forward to finishing the third book soon. A good light summer read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Insight This book gives much insight into the many Amish rules about how things are supposed to be in Amish life especially of Old Order Amish. It is an excellent book. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it to all who love reading Amish stories. I do advise the trilogy be read in order.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda

    Great Read!! This was an amazing book, just like the first one. It is full of love, excitement, and intrigue. Cindy Woodsmall is a very talented writer. I look forward to reading more of her books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vikki Vaught

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. The characters are complex and the plot is intriguing. There’s a good deal of suspense as well. I’m so glad the MCs found their happy ending. Happy reading/listening!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Larisha

    This book has you going through a lot of emotional turns with the characters in the book. I didn’t like the sections where one of the characters abuses some animals and his other deranged behavior.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megan Rang

    A great second book in this series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily Ste

    Love this series!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn V

    kept my interest through complete book, full of suspense when two older students in the amish school bully the teacher. Will Lena overcome on her own when the community isn't helping her. kept my interest through complete book, full of suspense when two older students in the amish school bully the teacher. Will Lena overcome on her own when the community isn't helping her.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    I really enjoyed this story and the issues of following the Old Order Amish ways. It has suspense, love and romance.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rena

    Not a bad book. Character development was good but more predictable than I like. I thought the story was a bit intense when the violence happened. Worth reading but it is not worth a second read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A good read that reflects the faith, romance and love that readers can expect from Cindy Woodsmall. I liked that the story was complete and not an unfinished story based on a sequel.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I would love to find the rest of the books in this series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    I just finished another wonderful Amish fiction book! The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall I received a copy of The Bridge of Peace through the Blogging for Books program run by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing. I am under no obligation to write a positive review, just an honest one. The Bridge of Peace is the second book in Cindy Woodsmall's An Ada's House Novel series. I have not read the first, and I will start by saying that The Bridge of Peace can be read alone, but if you have a chance to rea I just finished another wonderful Amish fiction book! The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall I received a copy of The Bridge of Peace through the Blogging for Books program run by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing. I am under no obligation to write a positive review, just an honest one. The Bridge of Peace is the second book in Cindy Woodsmall's An Ada's House Novel series. I have not read the first, and I will start by saying that The Bridge of Peace can be read alone, but if you have a chance to read The Hope of Refuge first, I think it would give better background to some of the characters in this novel. That being said, I play to read The Hope of Refuge, but at no point was confused or baffled by the events in the book. The Bridge of Peace focuses on the stories of several Amish people, but mainly Lena "Lennie" Kauffman. She is a member of the Old Order Amish and the local school teacher. Lena is very self-conscious due to a birthmark she has on her cheek which she believes makes her ugly and is the reason that at an "old" age (old for the Amish) she is still unmarried with no real prospects. So, Lena pours herself into teaching her scholars. However, she has a strong personality and is not one to give in easily to the ways of her people if she feels one of her students truly does need help. This quickly causes problems with the local school board who begin to blame her for a strange series of events such as a pet cat being found dead, a bull escaping from its pen and endangering and eventually killing someone, a student getting harmed when the chains on the swings break, and more. Only one member of the school board stands up for her, Benjamin "Grey" Graber who was trapped in a loveless marriage to his wife Elsie. He and Lena have been lifelong friends and when tragedy befalls him and his son as his wife, Elsie, gets killed by the escaped bull, Grey is unsure how to move forward with his life. Lena has always been in love with Grey, but he did not return the feelings, instead going off and marrying beautiful Elsie with her flawless skin. Yet, Grey finds himself more and more attracted to Lena as he begins to recover from the loss of his wife. However, as his feelings for her begin to come to light it is far too soon as the requisite mourning period of at least one year has not yet passed, and a series of events causes Lena to doubt that Grey actually cares for her, rather she believes he has just begun to pity her, and is only kind to her out of pity. When Grey is finally ready to reach out to Lena, circumstances aside, she is no longer ready to reach out to him. Will they be able to build a bridge healing both of their old wounds after the secrets of their pasts come to light? Read The Bridge of Peace to find out! I have to say, it's hard not to immediately fall in love with Lena. She is clearly a sweet soul with such a pure heart who truly wants to help her scholars in any way possible. I found myself rooting for her throughout the whole book, and it was almost frustrating because several characters just did not like Lena and I wanted it to be discovered that they were behind the mistreatment befalling her. I thought this was a very unusual book, not quite like so many other Amish romances because though it was about the same length, I felt like a lot more happened, and the relationship felt more "real" and less perfect and idyllic. I think that part of why we love this genre is we idealize the lives of the Amish thinking they have these simple romances, fall in love and live happily ever after, when in reality as humans, just like the rest of us, they have problems not unlike our own. The Bridge of Peace truly showcases the hearts of two people who have been damaged. One by her looks and lack of belief in her self-worth, and the other by a horrible loveless marriage that he was unable to save. I think it is a beautiful unique book and I look forward to reading the first book in the series to find out more about these characters, especially Cara. I say 4.5 out of 5 stars! I really hope there is a third book in the series because though the ending was beautiful, I really hope to find out more about many of these characters! :)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    I was excited to receive a review copy of this book which is the sequel to The Hope of Refuge. This story continues the story line of Cara and Ephraim. Cara is a woman who was raised outside the Amish Community and returned to discover her family heritage. In the meantime, she met Ephraim and fell in love. Ephraim is Amish and is willing to wait for Cara to learn the Old Order Amish ways so she can join the church. Then they could marry. What I liked most about Cara was her passion to do the rig I was excited to receive a review copy of this book which is the sequel to The Hope of Refuge. This story continues the story line of Cara and Ephraim. Cara is a woman who was raised outside the Amish Community and returned to discover her family heritage. In the meantime, she met Ephraim and fell in love. Ephraim is Amish and is willing to wait for Cara to learn the Old Order Amish ways so she can join the church. Then they could marry. What I liked most about Cara was her passion to do the right thing and at the same time, be true to herself. She slips up every now and then or discovers a new rule she knew nothing about; and the elders would quickly find out she’s slipped again. Like when Cara was all excited about the bike she brought home for her daughter to enjoy...“What’s so wrong with a bike?” Ephraim explained, “It’s one of those old rules we’ve stuck by. They’re a bit flashy, and they allow a person to travel a lot longer distances than a foot scooter…I never said that I agree with all the Ordnung. I just trust that for the most part the regulations are needed to protect our ways and help us stay close and accountable.” I enjoyed Cara and Ephraim’s courtship and the journey Cara and her daughter were on to learn and discover their family roots. I found it fascinating and funny to watch Cara and her daughter learn the Amish ways and yet struggle with what they loved from their old life. Lena Kauffman is new to this series. She is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher, who has a passion to teach, despite the many challenges she faced in doing her job, and living life in general, because of the noticeable birthmark on her face. Lena is asked by Elsie and Grey Gaber to evaluate their son. Elsie thinks he’s slow and Grey disagrees. Lena agrees to test the boy and tells them, “We all have a handicap and every one of us had to figure out how to get work done in spite of it.” This didn’t mean their boy was slow. I liked Lena’s out look on life and how creative she was in her teaching style and zest for life.Everyone in the community couldn’t get over what Lena did on her rumspringa, it was unheard of. I was surprised too! Lena not only had a passion to teach, but she had a heart to help her community anyway she could. Deborah and Ada are in the story line as well in a big way. It was fun to read about how creative they were in running their business. Deborah surprised me as I learned how she liked pulling pranks on others in the Amish community. It was funny to think of the Amish women pulling pranks. It cracked me up, it wasn’t something I ever pictured. Cindy Woodsmall shows that everyone in the Amish community is not happy and life isn’t always simple for them. It was interesting to read how Grey and Elsie dealt with their marital struggles. Once again, this author writes a heartfelt story about the Amish community with several twists and turns; a novel that is about patience, love, joy, hate, forgiveness and suspense. The conclusion of this series comes out in the fall of 2011. I look forward to reading it and you will too! Nora St. Laurent The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kaity-Jane Culbertson

    I have read a book by Cindy Woodsmall before and while I enjoyed it, I didn't find it exceptional - The Bridge of Peace was exceptional. I was immediately drawn into the character's lives, feeling their own pains and sufferings as if they were there with them. The story was well written and very easy to slide into, though part of a series, and while it took me a few chapters to get in mind who each of the characters were, once I had that figured out I fell in love with each of them. Grey was prob I have read a book by Cindy Woodsmall before and while I enjoyed it, I didn't find it exceptional - The Bridge of Peace was exceptional. I was immediately drawn into the character's lives, feeling their own pains and sufferings as if they were there with them. The story was well written and very easy to slide into, though part of a series, and while it took me a few chapters to get in mind who each of the characters were, once I had that figured out I fell in love with each of them. Grey was probably my favorite character. Yeah, you may think I am just saying that because he's the hero(who doesn't like the hero?), but I personally really loved his character and personality. He reminded me of a very close friend of mine. He was caring and considerate, but at the same time he had a very funny sense of humor. The way he interacted with Lena during some of the scenes had me laughing out loud - they were hilarious together! His carefree attitude and longing to fix the broken relationship between him and his wife made me love him from the get go. And not only all that, but his name is cool and has been added to my favorites list. ;-) Lena was also a very likeable character. Like Grey, I instantly fell in love with her playfulness and sense of humor. Lena was a lot like me - a prankster. ;-) I couldn't help but laugh at some of the things she did to her friends and family...it was very funny! I loved the amount of realisticness( I don't think that's a word but oh well) that was displayed in Lena's character by her feeling somehow marred by the birthmark on her cheek. The lessons Lena learns throughout the book were great examples and really made me stop and reflect on my own life. Jonathan, Deborah, Cara, and Ephraim were all also excellent characters in the book. I loved each of them and their personalities. Lori and Ivan were also cute and I loved having them added to the story. This book was actually very clean. I only have a few things to point out, the first being that it is made known that Grey and his wife haven't been together for two years and have been sleeping in different rooms. This is a very minor, minor thing but I wanted to point it out. Also Grey sees a woman in her pj's with her hair down. While that isn't a big deal for modern Englishers, it's a big deal for the Amish, where men aren't allowed to see a woman's hair down until matrimony and the women wear long dresses that cover all of their skin. It mentions that he sees some flesh on her shoulder, and then a few sentences later mentions desire filling him. Other than that all I have to point out are kisses that take place between several different couples in the book. All in all, this was an excellent book that I highly recommend for Amish fiction lovers. The Bridge of Peace was a great read and I will not soon forget it. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Woodsmall's work.

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