When the Soul Mends (Sisters of the Quilt trilogy, Book 3)
by Cindy Woodsmall
Home is where the heart is, so your real home’s in your chest.
- Captain Hammer
I do realize that opening a review about an Amish romance with a quote from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is just a little odd. But this quote best summarizes the major theme of When the Soul Mends, Cindy Woodsmall’s conclusion to her Sisters of the Quilt trilogy.
After fleeing her childhood home in Owl’s Perch two and a half years ago, Hannah is returning to help her mentally disturbed sister, Sarah. When she arrives, however, it quickly becomes clear that Sarah needs professional help; although Hannah has been going to school to get a degree in nursing, she can’t heal Sarah’s pain alone. There is someone who can help, but that man is Hannah’s ex-fiancé Paul, the one who abandoned her after learning she’d been raped. However, there is no one else her parents will trust to treat Sarah, so Hannah must put aside the bitterness of the years. As they spend time together, Hannah and Paul work through their tangled emotions and clear up old misunderstandings …and old flames begin to spark anew. But back in Ohio, in her life away from the Amish, Hannah’s in love with a man named Martin and raising his children with him. They are a happy family, full of love and joy. As she shuttles between the two towns, Hannah doesn’t feel comfortable in either place. Where is she meant to be? Where is her heart’s true home?
(See? The quote applies. Captain Hammer’s a secret genius.) When the Soul Mends has several characters searching for their place in the world. Matthew, one of Hannah’s best friends, had his world destroyed at the end of the previous book. His business burned down and his brother was killed in the fire. An old girlfriend encourages him to give Baltimore a try, but Matthew has always been content in his Amish ways. Meanwhile, Paul wants to break free from his love for Hannah, but the girl who wants to replace her just doesn’t appeal.
There’s also a strong emphasis on integrating modern medicine to such a conservative group. Hannah’s sister needs psychiatric help, unheard of in Amish society, while her best friend Mary refuses to see an Englischer doctor because of how poorly she was treated in the past, but her troubled pregnancy demands attention. In the story, Amish recognize the need they have for a doctor; never once is it suggested they are too ignorant or backward to understand this. For them it is a matter of trust: trust that the doctor can understand the community and won’t take advantage of them.
This is definitely a book series that you have to read in order; without knowing the history in the first two books you will hopelessly confused. But it’s definitely worth it. (So’s Dr. Horrible if you haven’t watched it yet.)