Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog Tour: Besides Still Waters (Review)

Let me say first, that I am, not a huge fan of Amish fiction. At times, the genre seems well, over populated, with authors jumping on the bandwagon just for sales.

With that said, I know this doesn't reflect the entire line, because at least two authors have mangaed to wiggle a few well-written Amish novels onto my reading list.

Tricia Goyer is one of those authors.

I'll admit, I picked up the novel because I've been very impressed with Goyer's previous works of fiction - especially The Swiss Courier. I like how she crafts her novels, weaves strong story lines into the pages, and sometimes leaves me "thinking" after I put it down for the last time.

I found Besides Still Waters different than other Amish books for a variety of reasons.

First, the setting moves from the midwest and Montana - most Amish novels are set in Pennsylvania, Indiana or even Missouri (which has a growing Amish population). I found Goyer's descriptions of Montana to be vivid and made me want to travel there.

Second, the storyline is different, in that while it takes place chiefly among an Amish family, it could honestly take place among any family. The struggles that Marianna Sommer faces in terms of her faith, family and personal identity, are all to real for most teenage girls (and guys).

This was an interesting first Amish novel for Goyer. I'm not sure where she plans to take the series, but she definitely left me wanting to know more about Marianna and her family.

On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, I give this novel a solid 3.5 to 4. It's definitely one I could recommend to others.

More About The Book
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. 

Although she is also in her rumschpringe years and not obligated to move, Marianna makes the journey to dutifully help her mother who is expecting another child. 

Surprisingly, from strangers on the cross-country train ride to the less rigid stance of the new Montana community, many Englisch influences awaken within Marianna—and even her father—the desire to pursue a deeper kind of joy and love for God. 

After an accident, Marianna tells her friend Ben a defining story about the Sommer family, and his response further illumines the active relationship God seeks with His followers. 

In due time, she learns the move from Indiana was not about losing anything, but finding out who God really is. Despite all the shake-ups, Marianna feels a sweet peace, like still waters, in her soul.

About The Author
Tricia Goyer is the author of 26 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.

Goyer's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Goyer writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family.

Goyer 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, Ark., where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. Visit www.triciagoyer.com for more info.

 Online Resources
Watch the book trailer on YouTube

More from the publisher - B&H Books
Check it out on Tricia Goyer's Blog
Find it online at Amazon.com
Read reviews at Goodreads.com
Follow the blog tour here!

It's A Contest
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. (photo attached)

Details at Tricia’s blog, It’s Real Life: http://triciagoyer.blogspot.com/2011/04/beside-still-waters-giveaway.html

BONUS! Each person who enters the giveaway will receive a FABULOUS Montana Amish Calendar. Hurry, it’s only available while supplies last!

Note: As a freelance journalist, I was provided a copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group. This review was not influenced by a free book - just in case you (or the FTC) were worried about this detail. 

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