Book Description: Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages inhabited by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she's always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in the community. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered and she is forced to make difficult choices about a new life and the man she left behind. Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, and when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, Berta's rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?
My Review: Growing up I had the privilege to travel with my parents and siblings. We saw quite a bit of the United States over the years. One place that we stopped to see was the Amana Colonies in Iowa. I was twelve years old at the time and the history didn't impact me. I remember my dad was extremely excited to visit the building where appliances where being made. I love bakeries and to this day that's all I really remember about Amana Colonies is the wonderful smell. When I had the chance to read this book by Judith Miller I was excited because I had a memory to go with her story. To my knowledge this is the first fiction book to be written about the Amana Colonies. I didn't realize they were a group who lived, worked and worshipped together, somewhat like the Amish but more communal. I enjoyed getting entangled in the lives of Johanna and Berta. Both longing for so much more and yet both girls are so alike. There's a secret that is revealed and affects the decisions Johanna will make. This is the story of a journey of two girls from two different worlds that come together in one common place. I do hope that there is a Book 2! This is a wonderful 5 star historical read!
* I reviewed this book for Bethany House Publishers*
About the Author: Judith is an award winning and best-selling author of historical fiction for Bethany House Publishers. With a love of history, a dash of romance and a touch of mystery, Judith transports her readers to another time and place. Her passion for history and love of God keep her inspired. Judith and her husband are empty-nesters who live in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Judy blogs with four other historical novelists at www.writespassage.blogspot.com