From the publisher:
Marianna Sommer believes she knows where her life is headed. Nineteen years old and Amish, her plan is to get baptized into the church, marry Aaron Zook, and live in the only community she's ever known.From the letter that came with my book is a quote:
When Marianna's family moves from Indiana to Montana she discovers life and faith will never be the same. As she builds an easy friendship with local guy, Ben Stone, Ben not only draws her heart, he also gets her thinking about what loving God and living in community is all about.
As Marianna struggles to find "home", she also encounters God in intimate ways. Click here to watch the book trailers.
"A few years ago I was asked if I'd ever consider writing an Amish novel," Tricia said. "The truth is I hadn't. But later that day, I remembered that my daughter had a friend, Saretta, whose parents were raised Amish. They had moved from an Amish community in Indiana to Montana where we lived. The family had lost two girls in a buggy accident. I saw Saretta the next day and said I think I am supposed to talk to her parents. To hear their story."
I don't know where to start. I've read a lot of Amish fiction/Amish romance lately. Almost all of it as review products. And I enjoy the genre in general -- a fairly light read that does make me think a bit about issues that are brought up in the story.
This story was, well, different from many of the others. Okay, so it was still a fairly light read, and it definitely made me think. A main theme of this story is letting go of the past, while another has to do with real relationships -- with others, and with God.
It was refreshing to have the Amish-Englisch interactions in this story being ones where the Amish characters were learning something too. All the non-incidental characters were well developed by the end of the story. Some, like Marianna's parents, were fairly flat characters through much of the story -- but it was because we were viewing most of the events through Marianna's eyes, and she saw her parents as pretty one-dimensional for much of the time.
I loved watching the mother, Ruth, develop as a character. I identified with her almost immediately -- the prologue is the day Marianna is born. There is a buggy accident in which Ruth's four and six year old daughters are killed, she goes into early labor, and Marianna is born. I was right there, totally immersed in that scene. It was easy, as I had some reference points in my life. Only in my "buggy" (okay, an SUV) accident in a remote location, my two boys were totally safe, my husband was slightly injured, and I was Flight for Lifed to the hospital where they stopped the premature labor.
Back to this story, though. One aspect I really loved was the multiple ways the story was told... Marianna has a group pen pal situation, and the story is sometimes moved along by what she writes to this group of girls her age and by what they write to her.
About the Beside Still Waters Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of the first book in the Big Sky Amish series Tricia is giving away 10 copies of Beside Still Waters and a pair of super cute antique Amish salt & pepper shakers. Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life.
BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!
Disclaimer: I received this book through the LitFuse Blog Tour. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.