Book Review | Beside Still Waters
Author: Tricia Goyer
About the Book:
Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she’s ever known.
When Marianna’s family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.
As Marianna struggles to find “home”, she also encounters God in intimate ways.
About the Author:
Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-six books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference in 2003. Tricia’s book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit www.triciagoyer.com for more info.
This wasn’t my first time reading an Amish Fiction novel, but it was my first time reading any of Tricia Goyer’s work. Beside Still Waters was amazing and I was drawn into the story from the very first page. Tricia Goyer is a gifted writer and I was able to visualize vividly in my mind’s eye as the story unfolded. Her characters were all believable and I felt very connected to them especially Marianna, the main character.
The book follows Marianna as she prepares to move across the country from her home in her Amish community in Indiana to Montana and a town that had more of an English influence than she was accustomed to. Marianna didn’t want to leave Indiana because of the relationship with Aaron Zook, that was just finally beginning to take shape. Another reason was her older brother Levi still lived there among the English after leaving the Amish community months before. I could literally feel what Marianna was going through. She wanted to please her parents, but was upset to leave her life behind in Indiana. She is a girl who puts others first before her own wants and needs and didn’t make much of a fuss when she realized she was going to move. I know I wouldn’t have been that calm if I was Marianna! It just shows you the kind of character she is putting everyone else above herself.
The book is full of emotion and is sad in parts especially when Marianna is reflecting back on the night she was born and her two sisters dying in the buggy accident. She grew up always feeling inadequate and that she wasn’t good enough to replace her two sisters lost. She always felt her mom’s sadness and I could feel Marianna’s pain when it came to her relationship with her mother.
When Marianna gets to Montana, she meets an English man named Ben and you could feel the immediate connection between the two of them. I was rooting for them to get together and forget Aaron back in Indiana. However, I knew Marianna’s devotion to the Amish community and that it wouldn’t be proper for her to be with an Englisher. The book ended with the story not completely unfolded so I’m excited that there will be a sequel coming out in October 2011. I am so buying that book!
To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers. Visit her blog to enter the giveaway.
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*I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel.*