Synopses & Reviews
When Hannah dares to love across the boundaries of tradition, will she lose everything?
Despite being raised in a traditional Old Order Amish family, seventeen-year-old Hannah Lapp desires to break with custom, forgo baptism into the faith, and marry outside the cloistered community. She’s been in love with Mennonite Paul Waddell for three years, and before returning to college for his senior year, Paul asks Hannah to be his wife. Hannah accepts, aware that her marriage will change her relationship with her family forever.
On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes and in one unwelcome encounter, all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed. As she finds herself entangled in questions that the Old Ways of her people cannot answer, Hannah faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community– and in the heart of the man she loves.
When the Heart Cries is book one in the Sisters of the Quilt series.
"In this debut inspirational novel, Woodsmall takes readers inside a contemporary Amish family where the eldest daughter, Hannah, has fallen in love with her neighbor Paul. The trouble is that he's a Mennonite, and if those two faiths look similar to outsiders, they don't to Hannah's father, who would never permit his daughter to marry outside the Amish community. Yes, this is a familiar setup, with shades of the movie Witness. But the star-crossed romance is only the backdrop to the central events of the novel: in the very first chapter, Hannah experiences a trauma, setting in motion a chain of events that sometimes seems incredible. Woodsmall's prose is undistinguished; she too often flatly describes emotions ('Disappointment and anger formed a knot in Luke's chest'), and the Pennsylvania Dutch sprinkled throughout the book can be distracting. Still, this novel shows potential. Most of the characters are likable, and Woodsmall depicts both the appeal and the potential myopia of secluded Amish life. An emotionally subtle subplot involving Hannah's younger sister's envy adds some depth. Better yet, the surprising conclusion sets Woodsmall up for a sequel but she'll need some fine-tuning if she wants a truly lasting series. (Sept. 19)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The first book in the Sisters of the Quilt series finds 17-year-old Hanna Lapp faced with questions neither family, nor fianc, nor even faith can easily answer after life among her Amish community is brutally interrupted.
About the Author
Cindy Woodsmall and her husband of twenty-eight years have three sons, whom Cindy homeschooled for a number of years. During that time, she was an active member of Gwinnett Christian Home Educators and enjoyed working, laughing, and growing older with women of true character. After attending public high school, her two oldest sons are now in college and her youngest entered public school a few years ago. With two children grown and the youngest settled in a good routine, Cindy began pursuing her desire to write. The first chapter of When the Heart Cries won second place in the Noble Theme Contest-a contest for unpublished authors sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Cindy and her family live in Georgia.
Reading Group Guide
1. Hannah Lapps family believes that since she was born into an Amish family, it is Gods will that she join the Amish faith. Do you agree or disagree with that line of thought? What Scripture or Biblical principle do you base your thoughts on?
2. At the beginning of the book, Hannah faces a tragedy that would shake most peoples foundational beliefs. If you could have talked to Hannah at that time, how could you have encouraged her? What would you have done differently from the choices both she and her parents made?
3. As a Beachy-Amish Mennonite Paul had to gain special permission from his parents and local church to attend college. If his motives had not been based in helping others in a way that required a four-year degree, his request would have been turned down. Should parents have the right to dictate their childs future? If so, when is it the childs place to resist the desires of their earthly parents in order to pursue the dreams of their own heart? Discuss Matthew 10:37 in light of Pauls situation: “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (NIV)
4. Sarahs jealousy toward Hannah would have been easily seen and labeled as wrong had the people around her known her inner thoughts. But Sarah hid her true feelings and motivations under piousness as she pretended to only want to keep Hannah from going farther into sin. Can you remember a time when someone tried to gossip to you, using the façade of being concerned? Discuss ways that such a conversation could be kept from taking place. If you will, take a moment and, just between you and God, ponder the next question. Have you participated in spreading gossip under such a guise?
5. At one point, even believing in her innocence, Matthew avoids Hannah for months because to do otherwise might stir rumors and/or cause Elle to think hes interested in Hannah. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22 it says to “abstain from all appearance of evil.” (KJV) Discuss times when abstaining from the appearance of evil is proper and times when it is just a copout.
6. Matthew was Hannahs strongest supporter during a time when every other male in her life had washed their hands of her. For his effort he received no earthly reward. Can you imagine reaching out to someone that almost everyone else has turned their back on?
7. The bishop was a strong leader, but in his strength he had a tendency to rule unfairly. Discuss some of the spiritual leaders in your life. During what circumstances, if any, do you think a person should pull away from their spiritual leader? What Biblical principals or specific Scriptures do you use to help form your foundation for those beliefs?
8. Hannah was honest about how she conceived the child, but her dishonesty over other things eroded her fathers faith in her. If your child was caught telling some lies and then needed you to believe them on other things, what would your reaction be? Would you be more interested in finding peaceful ways to work through the issues or in finding absolute truth? If peace is your goal, how would you go about attaining that? If truth is your goal, what are some things you could do to try to discover what really took place?
9. Pauls grandmother agreed to keep Hannah and Pauls friendship a secret and even allowed her U.S. Postal address to be used as a way for Hannah and Paul to correspond. Do you think a person who is not a parent has the right to override what a parent wishes? If so, is this belief limited to certain ages of the child? Or certain circumstances?
10. Because of what people believed to be true about her, Hannah was trapped in a community that had no respect or compassion for her. Discuss ways a person could cope with the prejudice from rumors and the unjust anger it stirs in others without leaving the situation.