In the romantic novel, Along Wooded Paths, Tricia Goyer reminds her reader that God can be heard in unexpected places. The grey-eyed Amish girl, Marianna Sommer, isn’t always confident she knows the Lord’s leading. Struggling to decide whom to marry, where to live, and how to express her faith, Marianna’s story reminds us that while in their hearts humans plan their course, the LORD establishes their steps (Proverbs 16:9).
The author structures the narrative so the inner struggles of numerous characters are laid bare. Despite the reader’s full awareness, the characters still manage to hide most of their affections and quandaries from each other, which helps to build tension throughout the story. In most romances, it is easy to favor the most suitable male and predict who the female will choose. Goyer’s writing is distinctive, creating two respectable, godly male suitors. This technique created a more enticing story and built to a surprise ending.
These two male suitors are the primary cause of Marianna’s unrest. She is torn between an acceptable Amish life with Aaron Zook in Indiana or a life with a guitar-strumming man named Ben Stone in Montana. However, the plot doesn’t only center on romantic notions. Marianna works in a local restaurant in Montana where she interacts with her Englisch neighbors. These relationships influence Marianna and cause her to renew her faith and reevaluate Amish traditions. Marianna’s emotional pains about looming decisions and proper expressions of faith are soothed with prayers for direction. The reader will chuckle at her constant nerves and grow frustrated with her inability to decide which man she loves. However, her genuine desire to please God and her family is endearing and saves her from ridicule.
Along Wooded Paths is a character-based novel. Those looking for a simple love story that is centered on the desire to please God will enjoy this book. – Tamara Peachy, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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.