The Solace of Water
By Elizabeth Byler Younts
Have you every read a book that stays with you… for a looong time? This is one of those books. It’s deep, heavy, reminiscent, and reflective but full of acceptance, love, joy, grace and forgiveness. It’s the story of how grief covers you and takes over your being and won’t let you go sometimes. The words make you feel their loss. They make you hurt for their pain. They pull you in and won’t let you go.
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 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, and custom—and has the power to transform a broken heart.” (Amazon description)
To be completely honest, at first, I thought the story was a little slow, reflective, and lyrical and I wasn’t sure what the point was. But the writing was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. The farther I got into the story the more I loved it. Not because it became so much more active, but because I could feel the story happening. The author is brilliant at writing how people feel, how they respond to the events in their life, and how they relate to those around them because of it. It’s the story of two totally unrelated people groups drawn together; African American and Amish together, helping each other, grieving with and for each other, becoming friends in the deepest unexpected way. It is so unique. It’s unlike any other Amish fiction book I’ve read. She doesn’t paint a perfect picture of the Amish. I’m glad for that. There’s no romanticizing them in this book. They have issues just like the rest of us. I loved how the author didn’t shy away from that.
I loved the metaphor of the water. Christ is our healing water, the one who can quench real thirst and give forgiveness for even the worst things. Christian references were very minimal but powerful. They don’t detract from the story at all. Very tastefully included. I put this book right up there with pulitzer prize winning All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale: A Novel. Excellently written literary work of the highest quality. Definitely worth the time it takes to read it. It’s not an easy read but it’s so so good. Give it a chance and stick with it!
I received a copy of this book from BookLookBloggers. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own.
For more information about the author visit her website https://www.elizabethbyleryounts.com/
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