Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway Info: Beside Still Waters

About the book (from back of book): 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 thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, right up until the end.  However, I was a bit disappointed in the number of "loose ends" after I finished the book.  The story focuses mostly on Marianna Sommers and her internal spiritual journey.  At the tender age of 18, she is discovering who she truly is and developing her own testimony of her religious beliefs.  She had grown up a devout member of the Amish faith, but she is now discovering that there are things in her religion that she questions.  I enjoyed following her story as she walked the road that helped her distinguish between what she was doing because it was expected of her and what she was doing because she believed it was right.  The loose ends at the end of the book had to do with several supporting characters.  I do not want to give away too much of the story so I will simply say that I hope there is a sequel that will answer many of the unanswered questions I have.

My recommendation: This is a great book for someone who enjoys following others on their search for their spiritual identity.  It is also a great book for anyone who enjoys reading about the Amish lifestyle, as you will get to read examples of both rigid and less rigid Amish communities.  There is also some romance in the book, but not enough for me to consider it a true romance novel, but if you enjoy romantic stories, you will likely enjoy this book.

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 for more info.

About the giveaway:
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.
Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life:

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from Litfuse Group in exchange for my honest review.   No other compensation  was received for this review.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for doing the review.