by Cindy Woodsmall

October 2009
ISBN: 978-0-307-44653-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Waterbrook Press
Trade Paperback

Beth Hertzler is unable to let go of a past tragedy. Worse yet, she blames herself for it, and to punish herself she vows never to participate in a single event for the Amish community. She’s wearing all black, like a widow, and has even refused to go on buying trips for her business, a store that services both Englischers and Amish.

When Beth’s family starts pushing she agrees to plan a business trip and has brochures made. While on the trip, she discovers a quaint little store with a carving hidden in it – a carving that calls to Beth. She wants to find the carver and help him sell his goods, but unfortunately her bishop refuses to even consider letting her sell them since the Bible says no graven images. When Beth discovers that the carvings are made by an Amish man, she hopes her bishop will change his mind.

Beth’s aunt, Lizzie, goes on the trip to meet with the Amish carver, Jonah, hoping to see what has her niece so captivated. When she discovers that the carver is a young, handsome, single Amish man, Lizzie decides to encourage Beth and Jonah to form a penpal relationship, hoping they will fall in love. But is Beth even capable of letting go of the past?

The Sound of Sleigh Bells is a wonderfully written Christmas story with a different twist. Beth is a realistic heroine, but stubborn beyond belief. She refuses to share what has bothered her and caused her to withdraw to the point where her family is concerned she might take her life. Jonah has also suffered a tragedy but unlike Beth, he has mostly let it go. There is one area he’s holding on to. Kind and gentle, he is the stuff dreams are made of.

I loved reading this Amish book. I literally couldn’t put it down. Cindy’s voice is different than other Amish authors, but that doesn’t make the stories any less wonderful. Beth and Jonah are both characters that are real, and will help warm your heart this holiday season. This is one Christmas-themed story you don’t want to miss.

Reviewed in February 2010 by Laura.

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