In a community where conformity flourishes, seeds of Rhoda’s odd behavior were planted long ago. Can she cultivate her relationships with the same care and tenderness that she gives her beloved garden?
Old Order Amish Rhoda Byler’s unusual gift and her remarkable abilities to grow herbs and berries have caused many to think her odd. As rumors mount that Rhoda’s “gift” is a detriment to the community, she chooses isolation, spending her time in her fruit garden and on her thriving canning business.
Miles away in Harvest Mills, Samuel King struggles to keep his family’s apple orchard profitable. As the eldest son, Samuel farms with his brothers, the irrepressible Jacob and brash Eli, while his longtime girlfriend Catherine remains hopeful that Samuel will marry her when he feels financially stable.
Meanwhile, Samuel’s younger sister Leah is testing all the boundaries during her rumschpringe, and finds herself far from home in Rhoda’s garden after a night of partying gone badly. But Leah’s poor choices serve as a bridge between Rhoda and the King family when a tragic mistake in the orchard leaves Samuel searching for solutions.
Rhoda’s expertise in canning could be the answer, but she struggles with guilt over the tragic death of her sister and doesn’t trust herself outside her garden walls. As the lines between business, love, and family begin to blur, can Rhoda finally open up to a new life? And what effect will this odd, amazing woman have on the entire King family?
Rhoda Byler is an independent businesswoman living in an Old Order Amish world. Her family and church tolerate her unusual ways until she maneuvers a young Amish man, Rueben Glick, into admitting his infidelity to his girlfriend. That ignites Glick's determination to destroy Rhoda's business and any standing she has among not only her Amish community but with her English neighbors as well. When Rhoda finds Leah King passed out drunk in Rhoda's berry patch, her concern for the girl leads to an unusual bond. Leah's brother Samuel, who comes to retrieve his wayward sister, becomes intrigued by Rhoda and her horticultural skills. With his orchard teetering on the brink of disaster, Samuel comes up with a plan to rescue Rhoda from Glick's attacks and save his own business, too. Woodsmall (Plain Wisdom) uses this first book of a new series to introduce readers to the large Byler and King clans, along with a generous cast of peripheral characters. Her knowledge of Amish practices is evident in the details. Much is left unresolved, however, and readers will need to check out subsequent books in the series to find out what happens.
Easy reading for relaxing.