Monday, September 12, 2011

"beside still waters" by tricia goyer

I think this may be the first book review I've written that I didn't have to write!

Marianna Sommer's birth is intertwined with death--on the night she was born, her two older sisters died in an accident. She has spent her life trying to follow the rules of the Ordnung to the letter in an effort to lessen her parents' pain--pain that was exacerbated when her brother decided not to be baptized into the Amish church. When her father moves their family from their Amish community in Indiana to a small town in northern Montana, Marianna encounters a new world--one where Amish and Englischer live in friendship and harmony, one where her parents finally seem happy, and one where she meets people who seem to have a much more real relationship with God than she thought possible.

While Amish fiction isn't my favorite genre, I've read my fair share. And while I've enjoyed most of the Amish books I've read (save this one), Beside Still Waters is the first one to stick with me beyond the final page. One of my biggest problems with most Amish fiction is that it paints the Amish lifestyle as idyllic. Everyone (or most everyone) loves God above all else. Those who leave the faith do so because they're running from God and family. Sometimes (as in the book I didn't enjoy), outsiders even become Amish because that lifestyle allows them to fully worship God. So I appreciated that Goyer presented the Amish (at least the community the Sommers family came from) as rigid, imperfect, and legalistic. Those in the Montana community had a much more vital relationship with God--and they were regarded by the Indiana Amish as progressive and liberal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Marianna's struggle to reconcile what she had been taught with what she learned in Montana, and I loved the transformation that took place in both her life and her father's life as they learned to let go of the past and embrace a loving Heavenly Father.

I purchased Beside Still Waters because I'll soon be reading and reviewing the second book in the series, Along Wooded Paths, which picks up right where this book ends. I'm so glad I read it, and I can't wait for my copy of Along Wooded Paths to arrive! If you'd like to read a sample of this book, go here.


  1. This looks like a good one! Amish fiction isn't necessarily my favorite either...I try to limit the amount I read. But this one looks like it would be worth checking out!

  2. It really was good! It was one of those stories that made me stop and evaluate my own faith--something that doesn't happen with most fiction I read!

  3. I just read another Amish book by Tricia Goyer, and this sounds just as good, if not better. Thanks for reviewing it!


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