So delighted to welcome the wonderful Cindy Woodsmall back to the blog today to chat about her new novel, Yesterday’s Gone, and some interesting discoveries in her family tree!
YESTERDAY’S GONE by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall
GENRE: Inspirational Amish Fiction / Time Travel
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: August 30, 2022
Eliza holds a secret that can rewrite the past.
Eliza Bontrager and Jesse Ebersol have fallen in love and are determined to marry, despite the belief of their Amish community and respective families that there’s a hidden curse—one that only shows up when an Ebersol and Bontrager marry.
Before the ceremony on the day of the wedding, Eliza’s great-aunt Rose gives her a family heirloom quilt and tells her that she may use it to change one event in the past. Eliza appreciates the woman’s heart, but she dismisses the strange conversation while keeping the beautiful quilt.
Several years later, mourning the loss of their third child, Eliza discovers her inability to deliver a healthy baby is genetic. Remembering her great-aunt’s strange words, she decides that if she can go back in time and reject Jesse’s proposal, she can save him the heartache of a childless marriage. Her sacrifice will allow him to marry someone else and raise a family. But once she puts her plan into action, she discovers the true impact of her decision—on Jesse and so many others within their community.
For fans of Amish fiction and the beloved classic It’s a Wonderful Life comes a gripping story about faith, family, and starting over from New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall.
Interesting Things I Learned While Researching My Family Tree
by Cindy Woodsmall, author of Yesterday’s Gone
While I was growing up, my family told me numerous interesting stories about my paternal grandfather’s life. Some of the stories had missing information, but the gist of them was fascinating . . . because the interesting stories are the ones that get passed down.
But before I tell a favorite from family oral history, I’ll share what I’ve recently learned through online research.
At eighteen years old, my grandfather married his seventeen-year-old sweetheart. Ten months later, they had their first child. Later, as a young dad with two children, he served in World War I. He returned home to work in the coal mines of the Appalachian Mountains in Alabama, and they had two more children. But in his midthirties, his wife of fifteen years died, leaving him with four children to take care of on his own. He remarried quickly, but the marriage didn’t survive. During the upheaval and separation between my grandfather and his second wife, who was my biological grandmother, the Great Depression took hold of the country. They divorced, leaving my grandfather a widower and a divorcée, with five mouths to feed. He then married a young widow who had two children.
Those are facts that can be found through online research.
But the story that relatives passed down through the years fit with what I’d witnessed and with the online research. The oral history goes like this: My grandfather, in his late thirties and during the Great Depression, had sold “everything that wasn’t nailed down” trying to keep his family fed. He couldn’t get a job. The soup lines were hours long and everyone still went to bed hungry. He had to do something, so he went to a wealthy man in the area and sold most of the land he owned to that rich man. The man didn’t pay with money, but with a shotgun. My grandfather knew that if he had a shotgun, he could keep himself, his wife, and their now seven children fed.
I remember seeing the shotgun as a child. I remember my dad telling this story to his children over the years as we visited the Deep South and sat at my grandparents’ Formica kitchen table or on their plastic-covered couches.
I remember how much my dad wanted to be the one to receive the shotgun, and he did. He was grateful to his dad, stepmom, half siblings, and stepsiblings who loved him despite that he was the only child from a short-lived marriage.
But the most interesting thing I learned also feels like the saddest. In my weeks of research, I’ve uncovered almost nothing about the three women my grandfather married.
In Yesterday’s Gone, a young Amish woman has a hobby of genealogy, and the hardest part for her is tracing the lineage of the women.
Logically, we can understand how that tends to be an issue, but recently I saw it firsthand on both sides of my family—my dad’s and my mom’s.
Having our maternal ancestry erased (or almost erased) leaves us lacking in knowledge and understanding in the wholeness of who we are. My step-grandmother may not have wielded the shotgun, but did she not plant and tend a large vegetable garden each year, also putting food on the table? I say she must have because each summer when we visited her, she had planted a large vegetable garden and harvested from it for every meal she prepared for us.
Life becomes lopsided and unfavorably biased when groups of people are erased or almost erased from our history.
In Yesterday’s Gone, while grieving the loss of a newborn, Eliza finds a way to erase a singular decision she made years earlier. But she has no way of seeing what the full repercussions will be.
From Publishers Weekly: [Eliza] learns that every choice she makes has unintended consequences for the lives of her loved ones. The time travel conceit offers a fresh spin on the Amish romance genre, and Christians will appreciate the message of trusting God through hard times. This is well worth readers’ time.
Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA bestselling author of twenty-five works of fiction and one nonfiction book. Coverage of Cindy’s writing has been featured on ABC’s Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal. She lives in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains with her husband, just a short distance from two of her three sons and her six grandchildren.
Erin Woodsmall is a writer, musician, wife, and mom of four. She has edited, brainstormed, and researched books with Cindy for almost a decade. More recently she and Cindy have coauthored five books, one of which was a winner of the prestigious Christy Award.
Tyndale House is offering a print copy of Yesterday’s Gone by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Yesterday’s Gone by Cindy Woodsmall & Erin Woodsmall? Are there any people in your family tree that you wish you knew more about?