Monday, June 6, 2011

Blogging For Books: When the Soul Mends

When the Soul Mends by Cindy Woodsmall.
Copywrite 2008 Walterbrook Multnomah

When the Soul Mends is book three in the Sisters of the Quilt series by Cindy Woodsmall. The setting and characters are Old Order Amish of Ohio and Pennsylvania. I hadn't read book one or two of the series, but jumping into book 3 was relatively easy. The previous story lines were intermixed well.

The novel has multiple plots with multiple problems throughout the Amish community. The main character is that of Hannah Lapp, a 20 year old rape victim who became pregnant as a result of the attack. She ran away from her family and Amish community after having a still birth and being rejected from her Mennonite Plain boyfriend and scorned by her family and community. The book takes place three years after the attack with Hannah living an English modern lifestyle with her excommunicated aunt in a neighboring state. Now a nursing student, and years after trauma counseling, she returns to her Amish community after a tragic death of a close friend to help her younger sister who suffers from a mental disorder.

The multiple stories are complex psychological and sociological situations, dealing with rape, death, loss, mental illness, and religious taboos. How these issues are dealt with inside the intense pressures of "duty" to the close-knit intentional community one is reared in is the central theme throughout the book.

For me, the book at times had too much "psycho-babble," peppered with "words of wisdom." Personally, I felt like the book was a series of psycho therapy sessions in the guise of friends just talking over coffee as they rocked in chairs on sleepless nights by a wood stove. However, overall I enjoyed the characters, the description of the Amish simple life juxtaposed to the Englisher life of Hannah Lapp. I did enjoy it, and do recommend it.
'Three Stars

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