Cindy Woodsmall writes Amish fiction with a flourish. Her characters have depth that I doubt I have as a person in real life. Her settings are imaginative but believable. Her plots are impeccable. She writes five star stuff, Almost. Every. Single. Time.
Ties that Bind tells a story that has probably happened more than once--babies switched at birth in the busyness of a birth center. Except that at this birth center, the busyness was a fire that allowed two baby girls to be switched. Now the girls are adults and have lived quite different lives which makes them different girls than they would have been.
When I was in college, I had to take a class in special education, primarily for the purpose of understanding what constitutes a special needs child. One of the basic conundrums we encountered in this class is the influence of nurture versus nature. How a child was raised, nurtured, and loved by his/her parents made a huge impact in that child's life. But then there were the genetics of a child that tied into a child's behavior and characteristics as that child grew. The conundrum is--which one has the greater effect? And the answer is, I don't know.
This book and this series take a deep look at the effects of nature and nurture. Arianna believes she's a twin to Abram, she loves her family, loves God, and loves to bake. She works hard to buy a cafe so that she can contribute to her family, serve her community, and use her talents to the best of her abilities.
Skylar is a drama student and she's addicted to drugs. When Arianna's friend Quill sees Skylar performing on stage, he realizes the looks amazingly like Arianna's sister Salome. He does some research to find that Skylar and Arianna could have been switched at birth. When Skylar's parents find out, they threaten a law suit unless Arianna comes to live with them for at least a year. Then they give Skylar the option of living with Arianna's family or going to rehab.
It was hard for me to read this book and then wait for the next one to come out, but each page couldn't be read or turned fast enough. Cindy's treatment of the situation is gentle and compassionate, yet at the same time engaging and compelling. This is a five star book with two thumbs up, and a cup of the best coffee to be had.
Waterbrook/Multnomah put out this book and it holds to the high quality standards of the company.