The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall

91CUuKxr0gLFiction — print. WaterBrook Press, 2009. 195 pgs. Library copy.

Elizabeth “Beth” Hertzler’s fiance died tragically over a year ago but even though her prescribed period of mourning is over, Beth refuses to wear anything other than her black mourning clothes. Her Aunt Elizabeth “Lizzy” Hertzler, an old maid in their Amish community, fears that Beth will wind up alone like her and sets out to help her beloved niece find someone to love. The opportunity presents itself in the form of Jonah Kinsinger, a crippled carver whose carving of Amish children playing the snow has captured Beth’s heart.

Lizzy asks Jonah to write to her after presenting herself as Beth, and Jonah finds himself falling for the woman he’s writing to. Beth, on the other hand, thinks she’s writing to an old man, and is in the dark as to Jonah’s real age. As the story unfolds, the darkness Beth holds in her heart over the death of her fiance and the mystery surrounding Jonah’s accident come to light.

A bit of a cliché of a plot, Woodsmall’s standalone novel is extremely short and is missing the character development I’m accustomed to with her novels. The story progresses slowly so such a short novel, but I still feel like it was rushed simply because not enough focus was placed on the characters. Given the little development, I still really liked the characters of Beth and Jonah, but would have liked quite a bit more information and focus on Jonah simply because he was the most underdeveloped character there was.  I liked the story but not nearly enough as her other novels.

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