Friday, November 4, 2011

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

Beside Still Waters:

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 English 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:

What if your birth marks the day of huge tragedy in your family?! How would it feel to share your birthday with mixed emotions of a day marked with great loss? This is the reality for Marianna. She was born on a day of a massive tragedy in her family and struggles every day to please her parents in hope that she’ll be the joy in their sad lives. Marianna is excited when her crush Aaron finally declares his interest in marrying her but then she is uncertain of her future when her parents decide they want to move to Montana for a fresh start and new beginning. Marianna is torn between staying and pursuing a life with Aaron or following her family to Montana to help. She decides on a temporary stay in Montana – just long enough for her parents to settle. However, Marianna soon finds amazing things to love about her new home. The people are friendly, the Amish are more conservative, her family is finally smiling again and she struggles with whether or not to stay or go back to Aaron!

What an amazing story!! Beside Still Waters made my list of favorite Amish books of all time! I loved this story and it was so unique and different to all the other Amish books I’ve read. One of the most common things you read in Amish stories is the young person struggling with wanting to leave the Amish ways and seek the worldly ways but this was not the case for young Marianna. She loves her Amish beliefs but it’s when she moves to Montana that she begins to see God in a new and exciting light!

I loved the amazing descriptions and details about the Amish faith in comparison to the English ways. There was a lot I didn’t understand about why the Amish believed the way they believed and Trica Goyer really goes in depth with explaining the reasoning behind their beliefs; for example Marianna sees a guitar and listens to Ben singing for the first time is intrigued with learning to play music and understanding why Amish can’t learn to play instruments, then she explains why they believe that! It is all very enlightening and I really felt like I understand the Amish ways a whole lot better after reading Beside Still Waters!

I was fascinated with Marianna and her story. She lives with feeling the tragedy of her family yet she strives to perfect in every way. I loved the way she grew closer to God and understanding His love her and how she only has to seek 1 person’s approval! The last 100 pages of the book were amazing!! The ending was heart-breaking and then filled with Joy, perfect conclusion and left me desiring more!! I was completely invested in this story and I will be continuing to read the series!!

DISCLOSURE: I was graciously provided a free digital version of this book from B&H Publishing Group in partnership with Net Galley to review it. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

About Tricia Goyer:

Tricia Goyer is an acclaimed and prolific writer, publishing hundreds of articles in national magazines including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family while authoring more than twenty fiction and nonfiction books combined. Among those are 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award winners Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. She has also written books on marriage and parenting and contributed notes to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Tricia lives with her husband and three children in Montana.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book too! I really appreciated how much Tricia delved into the theology of the Amish faith and why they believe what they believe. Also, wanted to let you know that I've given you the Liebster Award over on my blog!