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?
My Ranking: 9 out of 10
Ages: 13 & up
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. You can buy The Bridge of Peace HERE!
I received this free book in return for an honest review from Waterbrook Multnomah. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.