January’s Selection — The Bridge of Peace

9 Jan

Lena Kauffman is a young Old Order Amish schoolteacher who has dealt all her life with attention raised by a noticeable birthmark on her cheek. Having learned to move past the stares and whispers, Lena channels her zest for living into her love of teaching. But tensions mount as she is challenged to work with a rebellious young man and deal with several crises at the schoolhouse that threaten her other students. Her lack of submission and the use of ideas that don’t line up with the Old Ways strengthen the school board’s case as they begin to believe that Lena is behind all the trouble.

One member of the school board, Grey Graber, feels trapped by his own stifling circumstances. His wife Elsie has shut him out of her life, and he doesn’t know how long he can continue to live as if nothing is wrong. As the two finally come to a place of working toward a better marriage, tragedy befalls their family. Lena and Grey have been life-long friends but their relationship begins to crumble amidst unsettling deceptions, propelling each of them to finally face their own secrets. Can they both find a way past their losses and discover the strength to build a new bridge?


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured onABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim and became a best seller. Cindy was a 2007 ECPA award finalist, along with Karen Kingsbury, Angela Hunt, and Charles Martin.

Her second book, When the Morning Comes, hit numerous best-sellers lists across the US, including edging into the extended list of the New York Times, coming in at number thirty-four.

Her third book, When the Soul Mends, hit the New York Times best-sellers list, coming in at number thirteen, as well as making the USA Today’s best-sellers list.

Cindy continues to write and release best-selling works of fiction, and she’s also written a nonfiction work with an Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud. The book is titled Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. It will release March 11, 2011.

By The Book will be meeting on 1/14/11. If you would like to join our discussion, leave a comment about the book or answer the following question(s). *Spoiler Alert*:  if you have not read the book yet, you may not want to read the following questions!

How well do you feel the emotional problems of the characters were handled?  And do Christians tend to deny these problems exist or are afraid to seek help?

Elsie  – grief/depression/fear

Aaron – alcoholism

Peter – suicidal thoughts/depression

Dwayne – violent behavior

What would you be willing to give up for your husband?  Is there anything you would not give up?



Our book club met tonight.  All of us agreed The Bridge of Peace was a great book and can’t wait for the next in the series to be released.  Although we liked the sense of family and community depicted in the Amish culture, we didn’t think we could live that kind of life.  Too much stifling of independence, not to mention no electricity or cars!  One member thought the pies and cakes would be good.  Seriously we liked looking into a different culture and their ways of living and seeing the world.   5 Stars from our group.

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