The Solace of Water
Elizabeth Byler Younts
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
“Younts has set herself apart with this exquisite story of friendship and redemption . . . I’ll be talking about this book for years to come.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Dress
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.
“The Help” to my usual “You’ve Got Mail” read
"The Solace of Water" is quite the counterpoint to other books I've read lately. It's the drama to the romcom I usually read, "The Help" to my "You've Got Mail".
This is not a book to be read before bedtime. Not because it's not a good book; it's masterfully written, in fact. Not because it's not engaging; it's quite that. Not because it's confusing with three points of view; sure, maybe I had to do a little juggling, but it was unbelievable how the three distinct voices were equally well written and shone throughout the book. That is a testament to the author's skill as a writer. No, it's not bedtime reading because it's not light, sleep-inducing reading material. The subject matter will keep you up, begging one more chapter like a drip of water on a thirsty tongue. It's heavy, but it so needs to be told. Not much has changed since the time period the book was set in -- it could be set in 2018 just as easily as the early 1960s.
Younts is a new-to-me author that I hope will keep writing for a long time. She is a truly gifted writer and has presented a book that will linger in my mind and heart for a good while.
I received a free copy of the book from the author as part of the street team. All opinions are my own.
Women’s fiction with deep symbolism
4.5 stars for women’s fiction with deep symbolism and thought provoking themes.
The Solace of Water was more than I thought it would be in the best way possible. I was drawn to the blurb and beautiful cover but was hesitant as I generally avoid books with Christian themes. The Solace of Water strikes a beautiful balance and can be enjoyed by readers seeking a strong Christian redemptive theme, as well as by readers who want to read about redemption without feeling one needs to subscribe to a certain belief system.
At its core, The Solace of Water is set in the mid 1950’s and is about two women and a girl on the cusp of womanhood all carrying deep guilt and a need to forgive and be forgiven. Delilah and her family moved from Montgomery, Alabama to rural Pennsylvania after the death of her youngest son. A black family used to segregation finds itself in a mixed town with less clear rules. Delilah blames her oldest daughter Sparrow for the death. Sparrow befriends a nearby Amish neighbor, Emma who has her own secrets. The book is told in alternating viewpoints from all three women.
This book really addresses how race was addressed in the 1950’s, in both the segregated South as well as in rural America. There is a really powerful scene in the grocery store and several moments that might make one uncomfortable. It was done incredibly.
The themes of friendship and what makes a friend were interesting since all three women were different on the surface but felt more comfortable with each other than with women from their own communities.
The themes of forgiveness and guilt were developed slowly. Delilah was occasionally difficult to like but she delivers important lessons. Sparrow broke my heart time and again. Emma was an amazing character to show how racism is taught as she has not had exposure to the idea that races should be kept separate.
For my romantics, there is a touch of romance, just a sliver but it is there.
Touches the heart
Incredibly touching story involving loss, forgiveness, secrets, guilt, blame, love and more. The autahor writes with such emotion that I feel the anguish and pain of the characters. I feel their love for each other and their heartache. This is an amazing story. I received and ARC of the book and this is my personal honest opinion. No review was required.