The review of books on this site, are my own opinions. I have either bought these books, borrowed these books or been given an advanced reader's copy to review. I never receive any money for my personal reviews.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Bridge of Peace by Cindy Woodsmall

The Bridge of Peace tells us the story of Lena Kauffman, an old order Amish school teacher. Lena has had to deal with the stares and hurtful comments about her appearance. She has a large noticeable birthmark on her cheek. In her class this term, she has a disruptive student who will not listen to her. Parents are complaining and questioning her ability to control her class and also the decisions she makes about the students. This book also tells us about other friends and neighbors in the community. Grey Graber and his wife Elsie are having their own problems, but are trying to keep others from learning about their private life. They have a son who may be in Lena's classroom in the next term, but even this is causing problems for Grey and Elsie. Tragedy strikes and things will change for these characters. There are also other people in this story, such as Cara and her daughter Lori who have moved from New York to join the Amish community, Ada who is a widow and along with Cara, is trying to get a business going to support herself and Cara and Lori too. The Blank family have a lot of influence with the school board and their sons Peter and Dwayne cause a lot of troubles for Lena. Dwayne in particular is real bad news.
If you have a sensitive nature and don't like cruelty toward animals or humans, then you should be cautioned about this book. Some of what occurs in this book is rather upsetting and not the usual stuff I read in Amish Christian type stories. Perhaps the author felt that such strong descriptions were necessary to make her point about how mentally ill some people can be, while those closest to them may not even notice or want any help for their family member. One other thing that I found to be irritatiing was finding the list of characters at the end of the book, rather then at the beginning. Since I hadn't read the first book in this series, it took awhile for me to figure out who everyone was and what motivated some of them. I'm sorry that I didn't look through the whole book first, before reading it. That may have helped me to understand some of the characters a little easier. Other then the criticisms that I offered, I did enjoy the book very much.

If you would like to read the first chapter, please follow this link.

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Journey to Riverbend by Henry McLaughlin

Journey to Riverbend follows the western adventure of Michael Archer as he travels to Riverbend to carry a message and the cross of Ben Carstairs mother to his father. Ben Carstairs has been alienated from his father and now he has run out of time to reconnect with his dad. Ben has been executed for a crime that many people felt he did not commit. Sam Carstairs, Ben's father never answered any of the many letters that Ben had sent to him. Michael Archer had stood by Ben and tried to save his life, but there just wasn't any evidence to prove his innocence. After arriving in Riverbend, Michael meets quite a few nice people including Rachel Stone who has turned her life around from a very dark past. Sam Carstairs is kidnapped and the local law and volunteers form a posse to go in search of him. Michael joins them. The search for Sam leads to adventure and understanding of how things were done in the old west.
I enjoyed reading this lively story, but really felt left wanting when it ended. Somehow I was really looking forward to the homecoming of all the men who went out in search of Sam Carstairs. It wasn't important to the story to have a reunion, I just would have liked to read about the various reactions of the townspeople. In spite of my slight disappointment with the abrupt ending, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good, clean old west stories.

This book was provided to me to read and review by Tyndale House Publishers.