Monday, February 11, 2013

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer (Review)

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.


Beside Still Waters was a refreshingly new take on Amish fiction. I was hooked after only reading the first two pages. The prologue was so moving and heartbreaking, even though I knew it was going to happened!

Marianna has always lived with being the replacement daughter, because the night she was born her family was in a tragic buggy/car accident in which her two older sisters perished. Shortly thereafter her mother went into labor with her and when she was born. Her father named her Marianna in remembrance of them - Mari for Marilyn and Anna for Joanna.

The story then jumps to when Marianna is 20 years old and her family decided to move to Montana. Part of what is prompting the move is that Marianna's older brother Levi has decided to leave the Amish lifestyle and the other part is that her mother has never gotten over the loss of her two daughters and living in the same home is a constant reminder of all she has lost.

I thought that when Marianna's family moved to Montana, that the Amish lifestyle there was so different from every other Amish book. They interact much more freely with Englischers and aren't as strict about things as I was used to them being - which was refreshing.

I especially enjoyed how this book had a huge focus on the Sommer family getting a deeper relationship with the Lord, unlike the usual Amish fiction where little is mentioned of a personal relationship with Him.

This is a great start to the series! If you love Amish fiction yet are tired of the same old, same old, I highly recommend that you give this book a try - I am sure you will enjoy it!

***I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.***

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Product Details:
  • Paperback: 320 pages 
  • Publisher: B&H Books (April 15, 2011) 
  • Language: English 
  • ISBN-10:  1433668688
  • ISBN-13: 978- 1433668685
  • Product Dimensions:  8.3 x 5.6 x .8 inches
  • Available to purchase at

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a wonderful read. I love a book that grabs me from the start and the fact that the family is seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. Very nice! Thank you for your review.
    I see that you are reading Rebekah. I am looking forward to your thoughts.
    -Gilded Grace