Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Beside Still Waters" Review

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer was sent to me by B&H Publishing Group as a digital copy through NetGalley. I will be participating in the blog tour for the second book in this series, Along Wooded Paths, on October 12th, and I wanted to read the first in the series. This is the first novel I have read by Tricia Goyer.

Marianna Sommer has plans for her life, which include being baptized into the Amish church, marrying Aaron Zook, and living out her days in her Indiana Amish community.
When her parents decide to temporarily move the family to Montana, Marianna has a decision to make. She is not obligated to go, but with a new baby brother or sister on the way, Marianna decides to make the trip, just until the baby is born and her mother is settled into a routine.
What Marianna finds in Montana, and in both the Amish and English communities, is far more than she ever could have imagined.
When I started this blog a year ago, I was not really a fan of Amish fiction. I had read a couple of Amish novels, but none of them stood out enough to get me to explore the genre. Now that I am doing book reviews on a regular basis, my bookshelf has seen more Amish novels than I ever thought it would. Although I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a ‘fan,’ the Amish fiction genre has definitely grown on me.
Enter Tricia Goyer’s novel Beside Still Waters. If any book would convince me to become a fan of this genre, this one would. Let’s start with the facts that it is well-written, has good dialogue that is easy to follow, and has engaging characters. While other Amish fiction novels have had these things (maybe not all at the same time…) this book goes even further. It is set in a traditionally un-Amish setting: Montana. It also addresses some issues which other Amish novels are lacking, especially in relation to people who are not Amish.
So many Amish fiction books show the English as bad and the outside world as something to be completely avoided. I understand that this is a basis of the Amish belief system; however, since I am not Amish, then it is hard for me to read about the English being ‘bad’ just because we are not Amish! That was the main reason that this novel was so refreshing. Marianna encounters English people in Montana who believe in and are passionate about serving God. Her own faith is stretched in ways she never thought it could be. She comes to realize that believers in Christ are their own community, whether English or Amish.
This is the first in a continuing series by this author, so don’t expect everything to be wrapped up at the end of this first novel!
So, am I a ‘fan’ of Amish fiction? Maybe not a true, die-hard fan…yet…but ask me again when I finish this series.
With a refreshing perspective on the Amish way of life, Tricia Goyer’s first Amish series is off to a tremendous start.
I will give Beside Still Waters … 4 BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from B&H Publishing Group through NetGalley. 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.”

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