THE SOLACE OF WATER by Elizabeth Byler Younts, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney
"It was like lamenting over thirst while the solace of water was close at hand."
Grieving terribly over the loss of her young son, Delilah Evans agrees to move away from the place where Carver had taken his last breath. The wife of an African American pastor, she goes through the motions of her faith, while aggressively shunning the daughter whose juvenile distractions had, in her mind, caused the death of her son. Arriving in Sinking Creek, Pennsylvania the Evans family finds themselves residing in a small town that includes members of a devout Amish community. As providence often does, the change of location places Delilah and her daughter Sparrow across the woods from another grieving young woman, Emma Mullet, the wife of an Amish deacon.
Emma and John Mullet's personal secrets are not only destroying their marriage, the deep, dark roots of deception have nearly squeezed out any semblance of hope for their future. When Emma is introduced to her new young neighbor, a bond of friendship begins to form, whose eyes see beyond the color difference of their skin and penetrate to the guilt-ridden closets of their hearts. So much hurt. So much pain. So much loss. Would it all begin and end in the depths, where "water pulls at us . . . drawing us together . . . . wraps coolness around us . . . .plunge into the deep"?
An outstanding expose on grief, its many forms and the kind of relationships that can make a difference. 4.5 stars
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated are entirely my own.
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 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.
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