Book Description: Raised among the Amish of Indiana, 18-year-old Marianna Sommer plans to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and set up life in the only community she has ever known. But when her older brother chooses the world’s path following his rumschpringe, and a younger sibling begins showing interest in Englisch ways, Marianna’s parents move the family to Montana.
Although she is also in her rumschpringe years and not obligated to move, Marianna makes the journey to dutifully help her mother who is expecting another child. Surprisingly, from strangers on the cross-country train ride to the less rigid stance of the new Montana community, many Englisch influences awaken within Marianna—and even her father—the desire to pursue a deeper kind of joy and love for God.
After an accident, Marianna tells her friend Ben a defining story about the Sommer family, and his response further illumines the active relationship God seeks with His followers. In due time, she learns the move from Indiana was not about losing anything, but finding out who God really is. Despite all the shake-ups, Marianna feels a sweet peace, like still waters, in her soul.
My Review: I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Tricia Goyer's writing so jumped at the chance to read this novel, Beside Still Waters. She had me at page one.
The prologue begins with a sweet Amish family riding along on a calm evening. Then disaster hits! The family is hurting and devastated (so is the reader)!
Then the story jumps to chapter one where we meet Marianna and her Amish family. We get a glimpse of Marianna's life as her family makes the decision to move Indiana to Montana-from a place where they know everyone and everyone knows them to completely starting over. A decision that Marianna is not happy with. She knows/plans to move back to "her" community as soon as she can save enough money. She hurts at the thought that she must leave the "only" man she has ever loved but yet Aaron, her one and only, has yet to ask her if she wants to marry him.
Interestingly, Marianna doesn't have to move because she is in her rumschpringe (running around years) years and could stay if she so wished. However, being a dutiful daughter and seeing how her older brother's rumschpringe to follow the world and not the Amish community has hurt her parents Marianna decides to move with her family and help her pregnant mother.
In Montana, of course, everything is very different but the Sommer family digs in and begins to adjust. Marianna meets Ben. Ben is patient, kind and forgiving. Ben has a story all his own too. A story that allows Marianna to catch a glimpse of what forgiveness and love is all about.
Marianna finds herself attracted to Ben and his peace. But clings to to her love for Aaron Zook. Unbeknowest to Marianna Aaron is fighting his own personal wars at home and learning that a long distance love is just that v.e.r.y long distance when there are other more willing girls right at his doorstep.
There are also some great Amish recipes posted in the back of the book. The Haystacks look like a a fun and easy meal. Can't wait to try them!
This is was a wonderful 5 star read! Not just another Amish read but a thought provoking based on a real life story of Saretta and her family. This book is not to be missed and you don't even have to be a fan of Amish reads!
*This book was provided for review by Litfuse Publicity Group*
About the Author:
Tricia Goyer has published over 150 articles for national publications such as Guideposts for Kids, Christian Parenting Today, and HomeLife, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia has founded programs to assist teens and teen moms through the Hope Pregnancy Center in Northwestern Montana, where she and her husband, John, live with their three children.