I received a copy of ALONG WOODED PATHS by Tricia Goyer, from B & H Books. I was thrilled to see the cover and realize the novel is about the Amish (the cover depicts a young Amish woman walking along a path, surrounded by a misty sky, towering trees, and a homey wooden fence). I planned to only read a few chapters this morning, but ended up reading the whole thing – I literally couldn’t put it down except for lunch. All of the characters cook and eat plentiful meals, so it made me hungry. The back of the book includes recipes, and I am eager to make them. Some of them include meat, but can easily be transformed into vegetarian versions.
This story is the sequel to BESIDE STILL WATERS, and is the second in the BIG SKY series. I never read the first book, but now feel the overpowering urge to. You don’t have to be familiar with the first to enjoy this one, although some parts confused me. The back of the book contains an excerpt from the next BIG SKY novel, and it sounds just as exciting as this one. I look forward to reading that one as well.
ALONG WOODEN PATHS tells the story of Marianna Sommer. She lives with her family in a small Montana community, where the Amish dwell side-by-side with the English. Marianna must deal with the loss of her sisters and her brother, who decided to leave the Amish faith, while coming to terms with her own love of God. She questions reading English Bibles and going to prayer meetings. She also questions her love for two men. Ben is an Englishman who loves God, but because he isn’t Amish, her family frowns on their relationship. Aaron, her other interest, used to be her beau before her family left Indiana for Montana. He is now visiting her, and she wonders if when he leaves, she should go with him. While she lives in Montana, though, she works at an English restaurants and befriends her English coworkers.
The story shows a different side to the Amish than most novels I have read. The love story brought a smile to my face.