Reviewed by Cheryl Russell
When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall
"Written with the same rich detail and life-like characters [as the first book in the series], When the Morning Comes is a book difficult to put down."
Hannah Lapp leaves her Amish home to forge a new life among the Englischers.
Days after Hannah Lapp buries her premature daughter in an isolated grave on a wind-swept hillside, she flees the whispers and condemnation of the Old Order Amish community in Owl's Perch, Pennsylvania. She boards a train, bound for Alliance, Ohio. Her father's twin sister, a woman she knows as Zabeth, lives there. Aunt Zabeth is also an Old Order Amish outcast. Hannah's discovery of her unknown aunt's letters was a secret she'd kept to herself and now it is her lifeline.
When Hannah arrives in Alliance, it is dark and the village is gripped by winter. Expecting the depot to be open, she is stunned when the conductor tells her the station shuttered its doors long ago. No one is there to greet her, since no one knows she's coming. Left to fend for herself, the girl with limited education and even less knowledge of the ways of the Englischers faces a bitter night on the streets. She huddles in the doorway of a closed shop, seeking shelter from the biting winds. The last thing she sees before her eyes succumb to demands for sleep is a man standing over her.
Hannah's secretive departure has further upset an Amish community in turmoil. No one knows where she has gone and the unknown is affecting her family and friends in different ways. As those closest to her struggle to accept her disappearance, her sister Sarah has the most difficulty. Jealous of her older sister, Sarah's actions and gossip played a large part in driving Hannah away. Now guilt over what she's done is wreaking havoc with Sarah's sanity. Convinced Hannah's baby isn't dead, she begins to roam the countryside looking for the infant. Her actions become more bizarre, endangering herself and possibly those around her.
Conservative Mennonite and Hannah's fiancé, Paul Waddell, is frantic with worry over Hannah's disappearance. Before she could confide in him the events that led to the pregnancy, he'd abandoned her. By the time he understood what she'd gone through, she was gone. No one in her Old Order Amish community will speak with him and his own Mennonite family thinks it's best he move on without her and her Amish heritage.
Things aren't going much better for Hannah. Complications from the early birth land Hannah in the hospital, fighting for her life. When she finally regains consciousness, everything she's accomplished so far may come undone. Days shy of her eighteenth birthday, she is still a minor and her doctor feels legally bound to search out her family and send her back home, something Hannah won't let happen. Like Hester Prynn in The Scarlet Letter, she will be the marked woman, forced to live on the fringes of society and treated as though she didn't exist.
When The Morning Comes is Book Two in the Sisters of the Quilt series, written by Cindy Woodsmall. Her familiarity with the Old Order Amish and Mennonite lifestyles (they are not the same and not as similar as people might think) is apparent in the small details she uses to immerse the reader in a lifestyle steeped in mystery for most people. When The Morning Comes continues the story began in When The Heart Cries. Written with the same rich detail and life-like characters, When The Morning Comes is a book difficult to put down until you're done and the questions that dangle at the end are great hooks.
Cheryl Russell lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Her short stories, as well as a few articles, have been published in print and online. She's loved to read for as long as she can remember and puts all that time to good use writing book reviews for Infuze, Novel Reviews, and Title Trakk. She's also a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, FIRST network, Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's currently working on her first novel. If she could, she'd spend her time hanging out in the thermal areas of Yellowstone in general, Norris Geyser Basin in particular. Another favorite spot is Kennicott, an old copper mining town in Wrangel-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, which is at the end of a 60 mile dirt road, 8 hours west of Anchorage. She and her family are frequent hikers in the national parks, and have pounded the dirt trails in Virginia, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. You can visit her at her blog, Unseen Worlds or at her website.