Friday, July 15, 2016

Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?
Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.
Five years ago, Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.
Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first book in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Amish of Summer Grove series, and is also the first book I have ever read by her. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going in, but I was pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this story is! It captivated me from the moment I first read the synopsis, and I’m still dying to know the whole of the story. Though I am fully aware of a good amount of the secrets that all of the characters hold now that I’ve finished the book, I still want to know how everything works out in the end. I’m already sooooo ready to read the next book in the series, so I’m super glad it comes out next month.
Ariana Brenneman is by far one of my favorite Amish women I have ever been introduced to (in the books I’ve read of course). She is so sweet, and brave, and loving, and always cares for her large family, and I just know if circumstances were different—and if she were real—we would definitely be friends. I absolutely love her relationship with her twin, Abram, as well. They are so, so close, and their bond makes me wish I had a twin of my own. Most of all, though, I love how Ari handles everything that is thrown at her throughout the course of this book. She handles everything, even the worst nightmares, with such an amazing amount of patience and grace, and I cannot help but admire her for that.
I haven’t really come to a decision on what I think of Quill as of yet, so I’m not going to spend very much time on him. I know he seemingly has reasons behind all of the not entirely on the up-and-up things that he has done, and I even am fully aware of some of those explanations, but I still feel like he really seems to throw Ariana under the bus every time he tries to help. I love his devotion to her and his longing to keep her safe, but really all he’s ever done is just cause her pain, so I haven’t decided if I like him yet or not.
All in all though, I really loved this story! It’s so interesting, and there are so many elements woven together to make it captivate me from beginning to end, so I can easily give it all five bookshelves. Cindy has definitely become a favorite author of mine, and I can’t wait to read more of her books—namely the second installment, Fraying at the Edge—in the future!
Happy reading!

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Cindy Woodsmall and WaterBrook Publishing.

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