Book Review ~ Christmas in Apple Ridge by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall
Contemporary Fiction/Amish

Back of the book:

Experience the holidays with the Plain folk of Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania, in these touching novellas centered around love, romance, heartache, and restoration from best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy, but when she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds. Determined that her niece meet the gifted artist, her aunt tracks him down, but it’s not that simple – will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love?

The Christmas Singing
Mattie thought her childhood sweetheart adored her until he abruptly ended their engagement on Christmas Eve. Brokenhearted, Mattie moves away and pursues her longtime dream of becoming a cake decorator, and even finds a new beau. But when Mattie is forced to return home three years later, will learning the truth behind Gideon’s rejection restore her Christmas joy – or open the door to even deeper heartbreak?

The Dawn of Christmas
Sadie enjoys her freedom away from home and her mission trips to Peru, but after four years, her Old Order Amish family insists it’s time to come home and settle down. Levi, a bachelor who distrusts women after a family heartbreak, also has no desire for romance. To keep their families from meddling in their lives, Sadie and Levi devise a plan—but soon discover that the walls around their hearts are breaking down. Can they let go of their prejudices, learn to trust each other, and embrace a future together?

My thoughts:

I have come to look forward to reading Cindy Woodsmall's Christmas novellas. This year I picked up Christmas in Apple Ridge which is actually a three-in-one collection of these novellas. I have previously read The Sound of Sleigh Bells and The Christmas Singing but I had yet to read The Dawn of Christmas.

What a thrill it was to quickly read through the first two tales and remind myself where the ongoing stories left off. It was a good reminder of the little details that I had so enjoyed on the first read through. By the time I reached the last story I was completely enmeshed in the people and place of Apple Ridge. I liked the flow of the stories and how each one was actually a stand alone novella, yet they flowed from one to the other introducing us to new characters while updating us on the ones we had already met. It was interesting to begin with the account of Beth and Jonah and continue through the story of Mattie and Gideon and finally being introduced to Sadie and Levi.

For an added treat there is some bonus material included. After book two there are a couple of cake recipes from Sherry Gore that are delicious (my book club tried them). After book three there is a recipe to make your own oatmeal and honey soap from fellow blogger Kristin Lail of 

For all you Christmas story lovers out there this is one to keep around to enjoy again each year. I have a special bookshelf for Christmas books and this will definitely go on it. It is a paperback but I still think it would make an excellent gift for the book lover on your Christmas list.

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