I always enjoy Judith Miller’s books and this one was exceptional. She does an amazing job of not only writing a wonderful story but also giving such insight in to the beliefs and daily lives of the Amana Colonies during the late 1800’s. I had not heard of this fascinating religious group until a few years ago. They were a communal group that lived by very strict guidelines and shared all their resources and possessions.
Dovie Cates is a young woman who has recently lost her mother. She knows her mother grew up in the colonies but is confused that she never spoke of her life there. Wanting to feel closer to her mother and learn more about her past, she persuades her father to let her go live her mother’s cousin, Louise, who still lives in the colony. Her cousin, Karlina, Louise’s daughter is excited to have Dovie come because she wants to learn more about the world outside. While thrilled to be there, Dovie does find some of the rules and guidelines in the colony difficult to follow. She discovers herself in situations where she feels she must choose to follow God or the rules the colony implements for the protection of the members.
Much to Dovie’s disappointment her cousin Louise is very secretive about her mother’s past. No amount of questioning loosens Louise’s lips, so Dovie takes matters into her own hands, snooping and doing a little detective work, even in places she shouldn’t be looking. From the bits and pieces of information she gathers Dovie writes her own story of her mother’s past, but is all she imagines true? She finds herself struggling with staying, fitting in, and breaking her heart and the heart of one she has grown to love.
This was an excellent book! I had trouble finding a stopping place when I was reading. The author’s detailed description of life in an Amana colony enabled me to put myself in that time and place! I was also reminded of the valuable lesson of not assuming all I see or hear is true. There may very well me important facts missing that can totally change what appears to be the truth. Also, the wisdom in not making emotional and impulsive decisions based on circumstances which could result in causing me or others harm. I highly recommend this book to everyone! You won’t be disappointed!!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255