Explore Amish Country in Cindy Woodsmall’s ‘The Angel of Forest Hill’ [REVIEW]

Amish country

When Rose Kurtz marries a man she doesn’t know, will she ever get a chance at love? (Photo by Raindear60, Flickr)

When a young Amish woman is sent to help a family in trouble, it is supposed to be a temporary assignment. But after she arrives, it quickly becomes apparent that the family needs much more help than she realized. What comes next will irrevocably change her life forever. But is she up for the task? Find out in Cindy Woodsmall’s The Angel of Forest Hill.  

Shy, quiet and more than a little awkward, Rose Kurtz is Old Order Amish. Her Mamm is demanding, unkind and works her only daughter like a servant. So when the bishop arrives to ask for her help, it is to Rose’s relief, although her family isn’t too pleased with the news.



Rose leaves Pennsylvania and heads to the mountains of West Virginia to help Joel Dienner with his children while his wife convalesces in the wake of a difficult birth. When Rose arrives, she quickly learns that the young mother died, leaving her to care for a newborn baby and two little boys while the new widower’s heart breaks into a million pieces.

With no family to help him, Joel’s father urges him to ask Rose to marry him. Not wanting to return to her own family’s farm, she accepts Joel’s proposal, even if it is a marriage of convenience, a practical arrangement that isn’t based on love.

Over time, however, Joel comes to care for his new bride, even if they don’t share a marriage bed. But will he ever be able to break through the wall Rose has built around herself and get to know the woman raising his children? Can she ever trust him enough to give him her body, mind and soul?

The Angel of Forest Hill is a beautiful story about sacrifice, kindness and faith. Reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books, it takes us inside the workings of a world out of time, one where traditional Amish values rule the land, even if the action takes place in the present day.

Woodsmall’s intimate knowledge of Amish life is clearly evident here, and she writes about that little-known culture with obvious affection for the people and their customs. She strips away the assumptions we may have about them, and focuses on our similarities so that our hearts break with these characters caught in the most tragic of circumstances.

Readers will empathize with both Rose and Joel as they struggle to open up to one another, despite the fact that they are strangers living under the same roof. It would be a challenging situation regardless of one’s religion, but the story does a beautiful job of reminding us that with a bit of faith, anything is possible.

Tender and sweet, optimistic even in the face of adversity, thoroughly engaging and lushly romantic, Cindy Woodsmall’s The Angel of Forest Hill is a story that will touch your heart and teach you to look beyond your preconceptions to touch the heart of people in your own life.

Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall


Cindy Woodsmall is the New York Times bestselling author of Fraying at the EdgeTies that BindA Love UndoneSeasons of Tomorrow, and other novels about the Amish. She is also the author of a nonfiction book, Plain Wisdom, which she co-wrote with her friend, Miriam Flaud.

Cindy has been featured on Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary about Amish life. Her work has received numerous awards, including Fiction Book of the Year and Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and been nominated for Christy, Rita, and Carol awards to name a few.

Raised in Maryland dairy country, Cindy now lives with her husband near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains. Visit her home on the Web at CindyWoodsmall.com, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

By Cindy Woodsmall
208 pgs. WaterBrook. $14.99.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: