Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Christian Novel Surprisingly Raw, Authentic, and Moving

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In a time of grief and heartache, an unlikely friendship provides strength and solace.

After leaving her son's grave behind in Montgomery, Alabama, Delilah Evans has little faith that moving to her husband's hometown in Pennsylvania will bring a fresh start.  Enveloped by grief and doubt, the last thing Delilah imagines is becoming friends with her reclusive Amish neighbor, Emma Mullet—yet the secrets that keep Emma isolated from her own community bond her to Delilah in delicate and unexpected ways.

Delilah's eldest daughter, Sparrow, bears the brunt of her mother's pain, never allowed for a moment to forget that she is responsible for her brother's death.  When tensions at home become unbearable for her, she seeks peace at Emma's house and becomes the daughter Emma has always wanted.  Sparrow, however, is hiding secrets of her own—secrets that could devastate them all.

With the white, black, and Amish communities of Sinking Creek at their most divided, there seems to be little hope for reconciliation.  But long-buried hurts have their way of surfacing, and Delilah and Emma find themselves facing their own self-deceptions.  Together they must learn how to face the future through the healing power of forgiveness.

Eminently relevant to the beauty and struggle in America today, The Solace of Water offers a glimpse into the turbulent 1950s and reminds us that friendship rises above religion, race, custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.*

As you can probably surmise, The Solace of Water by Elizabeth Byler Younts tells a beautiful, touching story about the power of friendship, forgiveness, and faith.  Although technically a Christian novel, it's surprisingly raw.  There's no sap, no preachy-ness, just a gut-wrenching honesty that gives the story a refreshing authenticity you don't usually find in religious novels.  With an Amish background, Younts uses her inside knowledge to create Plain characters that come alive just as much as their non-Amish counterparts.  In fact, all her story people are complex and sympathetic, with struggles that are relatable and real.  Although this is a character-driven novel, Younts doesn't skimp on plot.  There's plenty going on in the story to keep the reader engrossed.  All of this, coupled with the author's vivid, engaging prose, combines to weave a lyrical, memorable tale about grief and grace, suffering and salvation, fear and faith.  I loved The Solace of Water and recommend it highly to anyone who's looking for a novel that's uplifting and hopeful while remaining honest and true. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing is coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

  
for violence, blood/gore, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Solace of Water from the generous folks at Thomas Nelson via those at TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!
*Plot summary from publisher

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For more reviews of The Solace of Water, please follow along on the book's blog tour by clicking on the links below:

Monday, July 9th: @hollyslittlebookreviews
Tuesday, July 10th: What is That Book About – author Q&A
Wednesday, July 11th: Write Read Life
Thursday, July 12th: Jenn Blogs Books and @jennblogsbooks
Friday, July 13th: Books & Spoons
Monday, July 16th: @createexploreread
Tuesday, July 17th: The Book Diva’s Reads – author guest post
Wednesday, July 18th: Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, July 19th: All of a Kind Mom
Monday, July 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 24th: Bookchickdi
Wednesday, July 25th: Splashes of Joy
Thursday, July 26th: The Christian Fiction Girl 
Friday, July 27th: Time 2 Read
Saturday, July 28th: Fiction Aficionado – author Q&A
Monday, July 30th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, July 31st@girlandherbooks
Tuesday, July 31stBloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Wednesday, August 1stGirl Who Reads
Thursday, August 2nd@novelmombooks
Thursday, August 9thPatricia’s Wisdom
Friday, August 10thOpenly Bookish

14 comments:

  1. This one does sound good. I'm going to suggest that my library acquire it. :-)

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    1. I really enjoyed it, so much in fact that I just ordered an Amish historical novel trilogy by Younts. I can't wait to read more from her!

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  2. It is rare indeed for a religious novel not to be preachy. I love the cover too!

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    1. That's why I loved this one so much. It didn't feel like a typical Christian novel, although it does have religious themes.

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  3. Great review! And I agree with Jenny. Preachy novels can feel so insincere sometimes.

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    1. Totally! I've also read Amish novels (and Mormon novels, come to think of it) where the characters are pretty much perfect and never struggle with their faith or any really big problems, which is totally insincere and unrealistic. I liked this one so much because the characters' problems felt true-to-life. I could relate to them in so many ways!

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  4. Great review! It sounds amazing and wroth adding to the TBR. And the cover is great!

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  5. Just put a hold on the book at my library, it sounds wonderful. I've always found the Amish people to be a very intriguing people. Maybe it's because Mormons can relate to feeling like outsiders at times - a peculiar people. One of my favorite MG books that I read when I was about 10-11 years old was about an Amish girl who becomes friends with a Christian girl at school and they end up trading clothes because the Amish girl wanted to know what it feels like to wear the beautiful pink dress her friend owns. The entire story was about family and faith crises. Her older brother leaves home for "the world" and comes back home at Christmas like a prodigal son and it's also (in the background) about the Amish girl's father's growth and change as he accepts his children for who they are and their questions about their life and faith, etc. That book has to be from the 70s and yet it has always stayed with me.

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    1. Yes, I definitely see similarities between our two religions/lifestyles. Peculiar peoples, indeed!

      PLAIN GIRL sounds like a book I would really like. I'll have to snag myself a copy. Thanks for the rec!

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  6. P.S. Had to go look up this book online! It's called PLAIN GIRL by Virginia Sorenson and was published in 1955! I had no idea it was an old book when I read it in the 70s! Of course, the Newbery-winning author Virginia Sorenson wrote it! I read a lot of her books growing up.

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  7. This looks really good! And I love the cover.

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  8. This sounds really lovely. I am all about friendship stories. Love them! My experience with Christian books has been very positive. They were never religious or as you said, preachy, they were just cleaner (cussing, sex, etc).

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