by Cindy Woodsmall

Waterbrook Press, $14.99, 208 pages

Akin to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is a romantic tale of two families; one Amish and the other Mennonite. These families take us on a journey of faith through conflicts, love and everyday life. Annie, who is Mennonite and Arden, who is Amish grew up together as childhood friends. They both have well-intentioned, loving, albeit dysfunctional families. Annie’s family moves away and they lose contact. Later, she moves back to live with her grandfather and back into Arden’s life. Roman is Arden’s disabled twin brother and depends on Arden to care for him. Annie’s grandfather has a special cherry orchard that becomes Annie and Arden’s place to secretly meet because of their forbidden love. They instinctively knew they were meant to be together even as kids.

This story is only 208 pages, but it is a stirring and fascinating story of young love and a growing faith of the families involved. This is different than most recent Amish tales in that there’s religious diversity within the community in the story. The author, Cindy Woodsmall, is a master at creating a normal person with weaknesses and drawing out the strengths of characters to where you love these two young adults and their faith in God.

Mary Church