The widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore is struggling against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When her stalker ransacks her home, Cara and her daughter, Lori, flee New York City for an Amish community, eager for a fresh start. But she discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it's no place for an outsider. One Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God—"Be me to her"—despite how it threatens his way of life. While Ephraim tries to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything—including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?
A complete opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim's sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose—or will it push Mahlon away forever?
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Gr
- Date: Aug 2009
From the book
Pr o l o g u e
Mama, can you tell me yet?" Cara held her favorite toy, stroking the small plastic horse as if it might respond to her tender touch. The brown ridges, designed to look like fur, had long ago faded to tan.
Mama held the well-worn steering wheel in silence while she drove dirt roads Cara had never seen before. Dust flew in through the open windows and clung to Cara's sweaty face, and the vinyl seat was hot to the touch when she laid her hand against it. Mama pressed the brake pedal, slowing the car to a near stop as they crossed another bridge with a roof over it. A covered bridge, Mama called it. The bumpiness of the wooden planks jarred Cara, making her bounce like she was riding a cardboard box down a set of stairs.
Mama reached across the car seat and ran her hand down the back of Cara's head, probably trying to smooth out one of her cowlicks. No matter how short Mama cut her hair, she always said the unruly mop won the battle. "We're going to visit a...a friend of mine. She's Amish."
She placed her index finger on her lips. "I need you to do as the mother of Jesus did when it came to precious events. She treasured them in her heart and pondered them. You've grown so much since you turned
eight, and you're a big girl, but you can't draw pictures or write words about it in your diary, and you can't ever tell your father, okay?"
Sunlight bore down on them again as they drove out of the covered bridge. Cara searched the fields for horses. "Are we going to your hiding place?"
Cara had a hiding place, one her mother had built for her inside the wall of the attic.They had tea parties in there sometimes when there was money for tea bags and sugar. And when Daddy needed quiet, her mother would silently whisk her to that secret room. If her mama didn't return for her by nightfall, she'd sleep in there.
Mama nodded. "I told you every girl needs a fun place she can get away to for a while, right?"
"Well, this is mine. We'll stay for a couple of days, and if you like it, maybe we'll move here one day—just us girls."
Cara wondered if Mama was so tired of the bill collectors hounding her and Daddy that she was thinking of sneaking away and not even telling him where she was going. The familiar feeling returned—that feeling of her insides being Jell-O on a whirlybird ride. She clutched her toy horse even tighter and looked out the window, imagining herself on a stallion galloping into a world where food was free and her parents were happy.
After they topped another hill, her mother slowed the vehicle and pulled into a driveway. Mama turned off the car. "Look at this place, Cara. That old white clapboard house has looked the same since I used to come here with my mama."
The shutters hung crooked and didn't have much paint left on them. "It's really small, and the shutters make it look like ghosts live here."
Her mama laughed. "It's called a Daadi Haus, which means it's just for grandparents once their children are grown. They only need a small kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. This one has been here for many years.
You're right—the shutters do make it look dilapidated. Come on."
Seconds after Cara pushed the passenger door shut, an old woman stepped out from between tall rows of corn. She stared at them as if they were aliens, and Cara wondered if her mama really did know these people.
The woman wore a long burgundy dress and no shoes. The wrinkles covering her face looked like a roadmap. The lines took on new twists as she frowned. Though it was July and too hot for a toboggan...
"What a beautiful story of hope and renewal! Cindy Woodsmall's The Hope of Refuge is an honest and moving portrayal that rings with authenticity. It warmed my heart long after I finished reading and reminded me that new beginnings are possible, truth frees, and love can make all things new, if only we can learn to trust again." - Marlo Schalesky, award-winning author of If Tomorrow Never Comes and Beyond the Night
"Cindy Woodsmall's The Hope of Refuge takes the reader on an emotional journey into the heart of Amish country and the heart of a very human heroine. A compelling novel of love lost and found with realistic characters from two very different worlds which become, beautifully, one." - Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Deep Down
"A skillfully written story of forgiveness and redemption. Woodsmall's authentic characters illustrate beautifully how wounded souls can indeed be mended." - Susan Meissner, author of The Shape of Mercy and White Picket Fences
"Cindy Woodsmall writes real--real people, real conflicts, real emotions. When you open her book, you enter her world and live the story with the characters." - Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of Where Willows Grow and Waiting for Summer's Return
"Reaching deep into the heart of the reader, Cindy Woodsmall pens a beautifully lyrical story.... She paints a vivid backdrop of Amish and Mennonite cultures with fascinating detail and memorable clarity. Fans of this genre will be thrilled to discover this new author." - Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of Rekindled
"Like the stitches on a well-loved quilt, love and faith hold together Cindy Woodsmall's When the Soul Mends, the brilliantly written third story in the Sisters of the Quilt series. With deft plotting and characters that seem to jump off the page, this novel offers the timeless truth that forgiveness is the balm which heals all wounds and a blanket for the soul." - Kathleen Y'Barbo, author of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper
"What a vibrant, strong, emotional story!" - Gayle Roper, author of Allah's Fire and the Seaside Seasons series
"Cindy Woodsmall' s characters wrapped themselves around my heart and wouldn't let go." - Deborah Raney, author of A Vow to Cherish and Remember to Forget