Book Review: The Dawn of Christmas

The Dawn of Christmas
Cindy Woodsmall

In the interest of full disclosure, and as means of a personal mea culpa, I must make a confession before I begin reviewing The Dawn of Christmas. I read Cindy Woodsmall’s most recent Christmas novella as soon as it was in my hands, and loved it. I did not, however, take the time to sit down and write a review until now, months later. Without going into detail, the Christmas season and subsequent New Year have proved challenging in far too many ways, and as a result, many things that I had on my to-do list found themselves waiting indefinitely to be done, this review among them. So, that being said, coupled with my sincerest apology to Cindy Woodsmall as well as the fine people at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, and the folks at Blogging for Books (Ashley and Chris) in particular, I give you my review . . .

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 planbut 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?

Cindy Woodsmall crafts stories that draw readers into fictional worlds where they meet characters who become like friends. She’s done it again in her novella, The Dawn of Christmas. From the first lines of chapter one, we feel the panic and pain that threaten to suffocate our protagonist. Sadie is humiliated and devastated by the actions of her fiancé and her own cousin. Worse, these two characters lie to the family and friends who surround Sadie, creating doubt and innuendo. Thanks to Sadie’s loving and understanding father, she is allowed the freedom to move to a different community, far enough away from her family’s home that she can move forward with her life without her past getting in the way.

Dawn of Christmas weaves Sadie’s life with another character named Levi. They form a friendship based on a respect and appreciation for each other’s strengths. Sadie and Levi face obstacles to their friendship, not the least of which are the pressures from their families for them to find mates and settle down. And nothing could be further from their thoughts.

Woodsmall’s characters are rich and realistic. The reader roots for the main characters while wishing to punch the antagonist right in the kisser. Ironic, I suppose, since we’re talking about Amish fiction here. This author’s ability to craft believable and beloved works of fiction is what brings me back time and again to her books. Whether it’s December or April, reading The Dawn of Christmas will satisfy someone who is looking to make new fictional friends and share a bit of their life’s journey.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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