Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beside Still Waters: A Big Sky Novel - Tricia Goyer

Summary from Good Reads: 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.

Marianna's life began from a miracle of a tragedy.  Her two older sisters died in a buggy accident causing her mother to go into labor early for her.  Marianna has always felt the need to be the perfect daughter since she was replacing two daughters.  Her family in Indiana has always been looked at differently since that accident and the family feels that life cannot be bright with that lurking over them.  Her older brother Levi, left the Amish community to live amongst the English and is having a negative influence over Marianna's younger and influential brothers.  Her father decides to move west to Montana at his brother's suggestion.  Marianna does not want to go since she is has feelings for Aaron and they want to begin courting.

So the family leaves via train heading for Montana.  It is beautiful and she cannot help but like the place.  The people in her town are nice but she feels uncomfortable about working along the side of the English.  She starts to trust them as time goes on and she makes friends with Ben, an Englisher with strong religious conviction.  She starts to have feelings for him but cannot stop thinking about Aaron and going back home after her mother has the baby.  She realizes that Montana and taught her family to live again and be happy and she has not seen that in a long time.

Marianna has not been baptized into the Amish church yet.  Her brother left the Amish faith and her best friend Rebecca is challenging it during her rumspringer.  Marianna knows that she wants to be Amish and is grateful to be born into her family.  There is no question about her faith.  When her father decides to leave Indiana to move to Montana, she is heartbroken since Aaron has just admitted his feelings for her.  She is determined not to like Montana but cannot help but fall in love with the mountains, forests and rivers in her area.  Meeting Ben brings all sorts of feelings into question as she gets to know him although it is forbidden since he is English.  After living there for six months, Marianna decides to head home to live with her aunt and to reconnect with Aaron.  She is unsure about leaving Montana since she also discovered another wonderful relationship, the new relationship she has with God.

This was a wonderful book!  At the end of it, there is a short letter from Tricia Goyer explaining how she was asked to write an Amish story which she has never done before.  Ms. Goyer did an amazing job of writing this novel while keeping it true to Amish traditions.  I have read several Amish novels by various authors ans Ms. Goyer will become one of the best ones!  I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, Along Wooded Paths which is due to release in October 2011!

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