All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.
As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.
Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths.
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Tricia Goyer is the author of thirty 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.
For more about Tricia and her other books visit http://www.triciagoyer.com/
Buy the book here.
Since I knew I would be posting for this blog tour today, I decided to review the first book in this series also. You can read that review here. I really enjoyed the first book, and I will even go so far to say that it is the best Amish fiction book that I have read.
The second book in the “Big Sky” series, Along Wooded Paths picks up where we left off in the first book. Marianna has returned to Montana because that is where she feels she needs to be right now. However, she doesn’t know that Aaron, her beau from back in Indiana, has plans to make a trip out to Montana to visit her. Marianna is still sorting through her feelings for Ben, and having Aaron so close will force her to make a decision between the two.
The elements from the first book that I loved are still present in this one. No other Amish novel that I have read has made the points that these books do. It seems as if most other Amish fiction comes solely from the perspective of the Amish, and it is not often that anyone mentions ‘the elephant in the room’: the fact that there can be salvation if you are not Amish. I loved one particular scene in Along Wooded Paths when Marianna is caring for a four-year-old English girl. The little girl asks if God is mad at her mother because she doesn’t wear a kapp. Marianna replies that no, of course that is not the case. Marianna says, “No, you can love Jesus and not wear a kapp.” Some, not all, of the Amish books I have read seem as if they are saying that there is no salvation outside of the Amish faith.
My favorite line in this novel was in a letter from Marianna to her brother: “But the men and women I’ve been able to know here are different from us by lifestyle, but same by heart.” That sums up my feelings exactly. If you know Jesus, you can be Amish or English by lifestyle, but you are the same in Him.
Another thing I appreciated about this novel is the comparison between what Marianna faces as a young Amish/Christian woman and what Ben faces as a young Christian man. Marianna was raised to avoid certain things, worldly things, and she does sometimes struggle to do so. But, Ben, as a young Christian man, finds that he needs to avoid worldly things as well. We as Christians are called to life a life worthy of our calling, even though we do this differently than the Amish.
Aside from these things that I liked, this second book in the “Big Sky” series seemed to be a little bit ‘long’ compared to the first one. There was not as much action in it (even though there were two car accidents and one buggy accident…very rough place to drive a car or buggy in the winter!). It was mostly focused on the inner turmoil of Marianna trying to decide between Ben and Aaron. It got a little tiring after a while. I am glad that she did make a decision at the end of the book, but I have a feeling that is not the end of the story, since there is at least one more book coming out!
While it was a little bit slower-paced than the first one, Along Wooded Paths is still a great choice in Amish fiction.
I will give Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer … 3 ½ BookWorms.
About the party:
Come to a Facebook Party and Live Author Chat!
Tricia is celebrating the release of Along Wooded Paths with a Fabulous Facebook party on October 18th. She'll be giving away prizes and a sneak peak at the next book in the Big Sky series.
Then during the second half of the party she'll be hosting a LIVE AUTHOR CHAT on her website and announcing something BIG! CLICK the button (below) to RSVP for the party - then go here to sign up for the Live Author Chat.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishing Group and Litfuse Publicity. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”