Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Unique Amish Fiction That's Guaranteed to Please - Along Wooded Paths by Tricia Goyer

Until I got my hands on the two novels currently in the Big Sky Series by Tricia Goyer, I'll confess...I wasn't a huge fan of her work.  Now, before you go bashing me on the head because I've lost my marbles, let me be clear.  She's a good author, but up until a week ago, her books didn't have that "zing" or "snap-crackle-pop" that I love to experience when reading.  And now....we've got a "snap-crackle-pop," a "zippa-de-do-dah," and a "wowza!" all rolled together thanks to her latest offering--Along Wooded Paths--the second book in the Big Sky Series. 

I love Amish stories that take me beyond the borders of Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Indiana (where most Amish stories are set).  This series just happens to take place in Montana, and thanks to the majestic mountains and the small-town folk, the little town of Kootenai is almost a character by itself.  Everyone loves to stop by the little store where Marianna works so they can get a good meal, maybe a slice of cake, and some good conversation.  You may even find Ben there once in awhile, participating in an open mic night of sorts.  But what sets this one little place apart from all the other Amish communities is the ordinary interaction between the Englisch and the Amish.  In most Amish novels, the Englisch are pictured in one of three ways:  as a mode of transportation, as a trusted doctor that they visit regularly, or as a temptation to some young boy or girl during their rumshpringa.  But when your car is stuck on the side of the road, or when your cabinets are void of food...everyone helps each other.  That quality alone makes this series different from any other Amish series I've ever read, and ya know...I'd love to see a whole lot more of 'em.

If all that wasn't enough to really make Tricia's Amish novels unique, she's got one more little trick up her sleeve--their interaction with God.  Now, if you're a regular to Amish books, you know that they are pretty much "by the book" when it comes to matters of church, faith, and their Ordnung.  Just like every other facet of their lives, there is a system and order to things that has been there for hundreds of years.  While I understand most of it (although I couldn't ever physically do it all), I've always wondered about the religious side of things.  Why don't they believe in reading the Bible on their own?  Why do they almost blindly trust every word from their bishop's mouth?  Why do they believe in praying silently versus praying aloud?  Do they believe that they're the only chosen group going to heaven?  What about outsiders that say they're Christians, too?  In Along Wooded Paths, Marianna has many of those same questions, too, and I'm on pins and needles waiting to find out how she comes to terms with her new relationship with God, and how it's so special to her.

And good grief, you'll smack me upside the head for sure if I don't give you the best morsel of all!  Yep....there's a love triangle, too!  And sweet mercy, it's a good 'un...one of the very best I've read in a long time.  :o)  Now, Marianna hasn't sided with the right guy yet, in my opinion, but I'm still hoping for things to work out the way they're supposed to...there's still hope.  I just don't think she's truly happy with her decision at this point.  (Oh, and there's not one triangle, but two...geez, could this book get any better?!)

Not since book 3 of Cindy Woodsmall's first Amish series have I been so impatient to read the last book in a series!  How many days 'til April 1, 2012, Tricia...because I promise, I'm countin' them down!

5 Stars

Southern?  No
Sass?  No

Summary for Along Wooded Paths:

All she wanted was a simple Amish life . . . But now Marianna Sommer finds herself depending on Englisch neighbors. Although proud of living apart from the world, she and her newly relocated Amish family have discovered that life in the remote mountains of Montana requires working together.

As Marianna begins helping those different from herself—and receiving their help—her heart contemplates two directions. She’s torn between the Amish man from Indiana whom she has long planned on marrying and the friendly Englischer who models a closer walk with God than she’s ever seen before.

Who should have young Marianna’s heart? What is God asking her to sacrifice? Her traditions? Her community? The answer is found along the wooded paths.

**Many thanks to Wynn-Wynn Media for providing a copy for review.

1 comment:

  1. Christy, I agree with absolutely everything you said! I reviewed this book for Litfuse, and Oh. My. Goodness. I bought the first book so I wouldn't be lost when it came time to read this one, and I couldn't put either book down--and now I anxiously await the next! I tend to get so tired of Amish fiction (for all the reasons you named), and these books are like a breath of fresh air! Also, did you know that Tricia Goyer interviewed the couple who inspired this series on her radio show? You can listen to it here: http://toginet.com/podcasts/livinginspired/?s=livinginspired--just go to the podcast for April 14, 2011.


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