When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall is an excellent book about facing unexpected challenges and dealing with what life brings, no matter how unfair it may seem. Hannah Lapp has grown up living in an Old Order Amish community, but the rules don’t always match up with what Hannah feels in her heart is right. Should she obey the bishop and other leaders of the community and follow their rules, or should she follow her heart?
Seventeen-year-old Hannah is secretly in love with her neighbor’s grandson, Mennonite Paul Waddell. Before returning to college for his final year, he asks Hannah to marry him. She accepts, even though doing so goes against the beliefs of her family and community. If anyone finds out about her relationship with Paul, Hannah’s fellowship with her friends and family will be ruined, and her life will never be the same. The very night Paul proposes, an unimaginable tragedy happens to Hannah, and her life begins a downward spiral as she endures even more horrifying trials. A resentful older brother, a jealous younger sister, and a community blinded by its own rules only make matters worse as Hannah’s heart begins to shatter. Will she be able to stand up for herself and convince others of the truth, or will misunderstandings and rumors forever separate her from the community, her family, and the man she loves?
The story is very well written, and the fact that it is Woodsmall’s first novel is surprising and difficult to believe. The interaction between the characters is captivating and realistic. The pain and heartache that Hannah suffers is felt by the reader as well, so much so that there are times it is a struggle not to cry. Most of the book takes place through the perspective of Hannah Lapp, but the reader also gets to see the story unfold through the eyes of Hannah’s older brother, Luke, her fiancé, Paul, and her younger sister, Sarah. This structure allows the reader to know and understand the thoughts and emotions of Hannah, as well as other significant characters. When the Heart Cries is the first book of the Sisters of the Quilt series. Although it ends well, some questions are left unanswered. It may be better to wait to read the novel until the next book in the series is for sale. Nevertheless, I highly recommend reading
When the Heart Cries sooner or later. Christian women, especially those who have endured or experienced unfair and unexpected tragedies, will love this novel. – Andrea Burns, Christian Book Previews.com
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.