I have read many of the Amish books and gotten rather tired of what seemed to be a repetitive theme of Amish vs Englisch or the Amish character leaving their family and community for a different lifestyle. After reading other reviews , I decided to get all 3 books I hate starting to read a series and having to wait for the next book! I just completed BESIDE STILL WATERS, and am eager to go on to the next one in the series. Tricia Goyer portrays a more accurate insight into the spiritual struggles among themselves as her Amish characters meet non-Amish who show Gods love in their lives. Marianna struggles with her perception that her life has to make up for the 2 sisters who died the same day that she was born. She also struggles with leaving the life she has known in Indiana all her life and moving to Montana, where the Amish group has many different ways than what she has been taught. She battles emotions between leaving Aaron and his promises of love and the feelings that she has when Bens attentions and his kindness show her a different kind of love for God and love for her. I am very interested to see how this author will resolve these conflicts as I read more in this series.
Marianna Sommers was born early due to a freak accident that killed her two older sisters, Marilyn and Joanna. Her parents and older brother survived but her mother went into premature labor and her dad named her Marianna after the older sisters that were killed. She lived her life in Indiana and planned on marrying Aaron Zook once they started courting and both joined the church.
The family was blessed with three more boys and a daughter. Levi, her brother that survived the accident, left the Amish when he got older. Marianna spent her life taking care of the younger siblings, doing chores and working for a neighbor taking care of kids. She had little time to herself and always seemed sad but kind, didn't express any anger over her situation. She did wish she had been able to know Marilyn and Joanna to know what they were like and wondered how her life would be different if the accident never happened. Even though she and Aaron weren't courting she knew that he planned on marriage too and was even starting to build a house for them.
Things changed when her dad decided to move his family to Montana, she thought about staying in Indiana with her Aunt, after all she would be 20 in about a month. When she was told that her mother was in the family way again, she decided she didn't have any choice but to go with them. She couldn't explain to Aaron why she had to go, it wasn't her place to tell that news. Her mother was reluctant to move too but her dad wouldn't let her talk him into staying in Indiana.
How do you think you would handle thinking that you weren't good enough your whole life? Your birthday brings back the memory of two dead sisters that you're named after and your parents always talk about how 'good' each of the girls were. Would you feel like you were forgotten yet you're right in front of them, like you don't even mean anything to them? The whole community seems to look at you with sympathy because they know the whole story and see how it's affected your family throughout the years.
What a good book this was and Tricia makes you feel the sorrow within Marianna's heart. Through it all she stays true to her faith. I've had this book for quite some time and finally pulled it out of my 'to read' pile and have started the second one, Along Wooded Paths, as I'm anxious to move ahead in Marianna's life with her. There is one more book in the series, Beyond Hope's Valley, I now have to get that so I'll be able to finish her story. Tricia did a wonderful job.
What a wonderfully pleasant surprise! A tale of the Amish that ends up taking place mostly in Montana was a breath of fresh air to me ... one who reads all things Amish. This was the first book of Tricia Goyer's I've read and I have to say that I really, really enjoyed it.
After hearing her interview with Suzanne Woods Fisher on her radio blog, this book was high on my list to read. I'm not sure how much is based on truth and how much is fiction, but it is truly a story that will take old of your heart and give you a hard time about putting it down.
I love the characters and the setting(s). I love the style of writing and the commitment the author shows to the integrity of the story and its details. I found myself vested in what Marianna would do and hoping my daughter would one day find her "Ben".
I love how human these "characters" are as well. I do find myself often forgetting that while our faiths are lived out differently, the Amish are just as human as I am and just as vulnerable in the world as anyone.
It will be a week or so before I can start book two but I am eager to get to it and simply can not wait! Highly recommended as a great read!