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Reviewed by Bernadette Acocella for Readers' Favorite
Ties That Bind by best-selling author Cindy Woodsmall follows Ariana Brenneman, an obedient Amish girl who dreams of opening her own business and settling down with a man she loves. Though her heart still stings from the betrayal of her two best friends five years earlier, Ariana takes comfort in her new relationship, looking after her large family, and following Amish traditions. Just as Ariana seems poised to reach her seemingly impossible goal of running an Amish café, secrets and betrayal threaten everything she loves. Is Ariana strong enough to face what lies ahead for her? Will someone from her past tear her family apart? Or will her family ruin her life by forcing her to learn the shocking truth about the night she was born?
Ties that Bind offers mystery, romance, and realism to readers who enter Summer Grove, the Amish community created by author Cindy Woodsmall. This novel deals with many themes that will intrigue Englisch, or non-Amish, readers who often wonder about the Amish way of life and the stigma associated with leaving the traditional way of life. Readers will feel for all of Woodsmall’s characters as they navigate the complexities of love, family, religion, and community. As I followed Ariana’s journey, I found myself eager to see what twist Woodsmall’s story would take next, and how her characters would meet the challenges that arose when two very different worlds collide. If you have never read a contemporary Amish novel, Ties That Bind is an excellent introduction to the genre and will leave you anxious for the rest of the series.