Monday, August 8, 2011

A Less than Graceful Plot

The Harvest of Grace
Cindy Woodsmall
Pub. 2011.  342pp.

Set admist the Amish, The Harvest of Grace centers around Sylvia Fisher,  a young Amish woman with a skill for dairy farming, and Aaron Blank, a man not yet entered into the Amish church who struggles with alcoholism.  Sylvia leaves her family, an act which is frowned upon for single women, and goes to work on the failing Blank farm.  The Blanks take Sylvia in and treat her as their own daughter, much to the chagrin of their son who has just returned from rehab and is set on convincing his family to sell the farm.  At first clashing with each other, Sylvia and Aaron soon discover a connection that serves as the saving grace for them both.
The Harvest of Grace is the third book in a series by Cindy Woodsmall.  If you have not read the previous two books, I highly recommend doing so as the characters from them are interwoven into the plot of this story (and not skillfully).  The plot jumps are sporadic and I came away from the book feeling as if I had whiplash I was thrown from one plot to the next so abruptly.  Though the book offers a list of characters in the back, there are far too many protagonists to make this story work.  While Harvest of Grace is about Sylvia and Aaron, their story only fills about half of the book, while the other half is used to tie up the loose ends Woodsmall left in her previous two books.
The Harvest of Grace left me confused and a little annoyed with the lack of character development and the way that Woodsmall tried to weave three individual stories into one.  If Woodsmall wanted to give her readers whiplash and a feeling of frustration then she greatly succeeded.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review.