Married (a land surveyor and engineering company executive); children: three sons.
When the Heart Cries (novel), WaterBrook Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2006.
Cindy Woodsmall draws on her personal knowledge of Amish and Old-Order Mennonite life in her first novel, When the Heart Cries. The first volume of a planned trilogy, the book tells the story of Amish teenager Hannah, who falls in love with Paul, a Mennonite. Their happiness is marred by the disapproval of Hanna's father, who will not consent to his daughter marrying outside of the Amish community. Nevertheless, Hannah secretly consents to Paul's proposal, only to be raped by a stranger as she walks home. When the community turns against her after this trauma, Hannah must come to terms with who she is and what kind of a future she will make for herself.
Though she is not Amish herself, Woodsmall developed a close and long-standing friendship during her childhood in rural Maryland with an Amish girl whose customs and beliefs Woodsmall learned to respect. Years later, when she began writing, Woodsmall felt compelled to make her protagonist an Amish woman because she understood how such a character might feel and act. Indeed, many reviewers found Hannah a particularly sympathetic and believable character and admired the book's informed descriptions of Amish daily life. A writer for Publishers Weekly observed that Woodsmall captures "both the appeal and the potential myopia of secluded Amish life" and creates characters with emotional depth. Comparing Woodsmall favorably to Beverly Lewis, author of a popular series of novels about the Amish, Booklist reviewer John Mort called When the Heart Cries an "irresistible" book. "My goal," Woodsmall explained in a ChristianBook.com interview, "is to write in a way that helps people see life from a perspective that helps renew their strength to keep pressing on and gives them refreshment in the true value of living."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2007, John Mort, review of When the Heart Cries, p. 58.
Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of When the Heart Cries, p. 51.
ChristianBook.com,http://www.christianbook.com/ (April 18, 2007), interview with Cindy Woodsmall.
Cindy Woodsmall Home Page,http://www.cindywoodsmall.com (April 18, 2007).
Times Herald-Record Online,http://www.recordonline.com/ (April 18, 2007), review of When the Heart Cries.