Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review: The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall

Can an Amish man help Cara find safety in a strange community with complex, unspoken ties to her family history?

Cara Moore has been raised in the foster care system of New York and is still struggling as an adult. Widowed and poor, she is alone with her young daughter Lori. When a stalker finds them again, fear makes her desperate and she is forced to flee. Vague memories bring her back to an Amish community in Dry Lake, PA where there are secrets from her past and the possibility of a new beginning in her future. But answers don't come easy when you're an outsider and unwelcome.

One man, Ephraim Mast, dares to help although it threatens his way of life. His family doesn't approve of an Englischer interfering and they fear for Ephraim's status in the community. His father is suffering from serious health issues and can't tolerate the stress. His sister is already worried about the man she plans to marry and his difficulty adjusting to a loss. Ephraim is torn between his responsibilities and Cara's desperation. She has fought to survive her whole life and doesn't plan to quit now but she has nowhere left to turn. How can he turn his back on them, especially when he knows their community bears some responsibility?

When I started this book the stalker aspect was a little deceiving. I thought it was going to be more of a suspense or thriller. It wasn't and I didn enjoy it, I was just anticipating something different. That was only one aspect of the story though. The characters and their relationships was what drew me in. Cara has had such a difficult life with little hope for improvement and few ties to others yet she is a wonderful mother. Ephraim lives his life opposite of hers where the connections to others in his family and community affect everything he does. The Amish lifestyle has very structured rules and the faithful live in accordance of them.

As the story builds more details of the Amish way of life are introduced and it is evident that the author has her own connections. She notes in the Acknowledgments that friends who belong to the Old Order Amish provided her with honest answers and insight that helped her write an authentic story. I was so impressed with the details and learned interesting facts rather than the often used stereotypes. Woodsmall even provided a list of characters and a glossary for the Amish terms she uses that were very helpful (although I didn't find that until half way through the story!). This book is the first of the Ada's House series and I look forward to reading more.

Thank you to Waterbrook Press for this book and allowing me to participate in the blog tour.

Publisher: Waterbrook Press

Release date: 8/11/09

Pages: 352

Price/format: $13.99/Trade paperback

Type: fiction/contemporary


  1. I've seen this around a bit and was wondering if it was any good. It's pretty far out of my normal reading range.

  2. Great review, but not sure it's for me.


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