A Season for Tending by Cindy Woodsmall is an excellent story which entwines Amish communities, the English with the Amish and a mix of story lines which makes the book hard to put down. One of the main characters, Rhoda, is, at bare minimum, looked at as odd and feared by some due to a gift she herself does not completely understand. Certain members of her community, who have unfortunately not benefitted from her gift, use it as a means of making her life miserable. Because of the mix of English and Amish, she is also harassed by Englishers who really know no more about her than the rumors they have heard. Her own family loves her and tries to protect her, but they too are dealing with some of life’s twists of their own which have resulted in a very over-crowded living arrangement and an ever growing family at the home which she too shares.
The story begins after a tragedy involving Rhoda’s sister. Rhoda is riddled with guilt as she feels she could have prevented the incident. Along with her special gift, Rhoda is also gifted in the area of horticulture, specifically berries and herbs and, with the help of her English friend Landon, runs a business called Rhode Side Stands which she started with plants her father had given her each year from when she was a young girl. For the most part, she lives for her garden, loving every moment she spends in it. One day she finds a young girl asleep in her garden and from that point on, her life takes on twists and turns that she could never have foreseen.
After vandalism which renders her berry farm useless, she partners with a large and well-known apple farm, meets two men she is attracted to - after having thought she would never find love, helps to start yet another profitable business and meets more tragedy involving a devastating tornado. Rhoda and her partners do not give up however, but consider not only investing in a somewhat abandoned orchard, but starting a new Amish community in a nearby state. This story has about as many plots as a tornado has twists, but all in a good way. I have only covered a few of the story lines, but this book ends with the potential for a great series with many interesting characters each going through their own experiences with life. I cannot wait to read the next book and see where everything and everyone is going to grow.
I received this book for free from Water Brook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.