While I don’t mind the occasional Amish novel, they aren’t my first choice either. Yet I couldn’t resist the draw of the wonderful stories I’ve read by Tricia Goyer before and had to give Beside Still Waters a chance.

You cannot take back the past. And going into the future you cannot work hard enough to make up for it.

Book Description from GoodReads

Beside Still WatersRaised 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.


What I Thought

What happens when life shakes your foundation? What if your foundation isn’t the foundation that God really wants you to have? These are tough questions, and Tricia Goyer captures the struggle between our dreams and life’s realities beautifully in this novel.

I most appreciated the struggle within the main character as she was challenged about her deep-seeded beliefs. She was forced through circumstances to question why she always did things a certain way, and if another way was okay. Or even, perhaps, better. It made me stop to consider my own life–and that is always a sign of a good book!

I enjoyed this story immensely and can recommend it for all ages. You should note, though, that this is the first book in a series of three, and from the descriptions of the other two books, you need to read them all to find out who Marianna chooses to marry.

The Bottom Line – 5 stars

This is a clean story that focuses more on characters and their relationship with God than the gentle romance budding in the background. If you like Amish stories,  or historical fiction, this one is worth trying!

About the Author

Tricia GoyerTricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as GuidepostsThriving FamilyProverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.

In addition to writing and family time, Tricia enjoys sharing Jesus’ love through volunteering and ministering to others. Her vision is to be a voice of hope and possibility for teenage girls, pregnant teen girls, mothers, and wives. Her intention is to serve ordinary women by encouraging them to do extraordinary things with God’s help.

To read more about Tricia Goyer and her books, click here.


If you’d like to read more of my book reviews, please click here.


DISCLOSURE: I purchased this book on my own and was not asked by the author or publisher for a review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in 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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