Elizabeth Byler Younts. The Solace of Water. Thomas Nelson, 2018. See here to buy the book.
The Solace of Water is set in 1950’s Pennsylvania. Delilah Evans is an African-American woman and the wife of a pastor. They have a teenage daughter, Sparrow. Delilah is coping with grief because she lost a son, Carver. She blames Sparrow for this because Sparrow was making out with a boy while Carver drowned.
Emma Mullet is a reclusive Amish woman. She, too, lost a child, but through a miscarriage. Her husband is prominent in the community but is a drunk. Emma took birth control herbs for years because she did not think that her husband would be a good father to a new child. They have a son, Johnny, who is a bit of a hell-raiser but has a good heart.
The two families intersect with each other. Emma meets Sparrow, and Delilah feels replaced. But Emma and Delilah, though they are from two different worlds, can empathize with each other as they hear one another’s stories. There is also a romance between Johnny and Sparrow.
In terms of its prose, the book was heavier than other Amish fiction books that I have read. It alternates among the perspectives of Emma, Sparrow, and Delilah. This is telling because, although Delilah can be a mean mother, we still get to read her perspective on the world. The book gets deeply into characters’ emotions, from different standpoints. Delilah’s husband, for instance, is disappointed that Delilah is seeking support from an Amish woman rather than the ladies in his church, and he wishes his wife could be a good pastor’s wife, despite all that she has been through. The book has somewhat of a To Kill a Mockingbird feel.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers. My review is honest.