A Simple Change by Judith Miller

This book centers around one of the most interesting historical religious groups I have found, the Amana colonies. Jancey Rhoder is a young, privileged, very happy young woman. The time is 1881, and although she was privileged to receive a very good education, she is content to teach at an orphanage in Kansas City Missouri. The only child of wealthy parents, she has stylish clothes, a beautiful home and a handsome young beau who wants to marry her.
Her perfect world is turned upside down when mother whose health is very bad, takes a turn for the worse. Her parents decide they want to return their home and roots at the Amana Colony in Iowa where they both were raised. She becomes torn between staying with the children and job she loves or going to be with her dying mother. Nathan Woodward, her boyfriend adds to her confusion by trying to pressure into marrying him and staying. The new development in their relationship reveals a selfish, darker side of him that Jancey had not seen before.
Her heart wins out and she moves to the Amana Colony with her parents. While it is very normal and comfortable to them, their daughter must learn to live not only in severe simplicity but with a multitude of rules and conduct guidelines. Though it is a bit of a social shock she works hard at adapting and accepting a new way of life. She is caught totally off guard when she finds herself falling in love with a young man in the colony that is everything Nathan isn’t.
Trying to live the Amana life but making decisions based on her old way of life puts Jancey in some very difficult and even dangerous situations. To complicate matters Nathan shows up to work with the Amana men and to try and convince her to marry him. Living in the colonies away from all the trappings the world she had once enjoyed, Jancey finds herself renewing her relationship with God and turning to Him for the answers she needs. I loved learning more about life in the colonies and how peaceful it was. This book has suspense, romance, mystery, and surprises! A book you WILL want to read!
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.

A Bride for All Seasons: The Mail Order Bride Collection By Margaret Brownley, Robin Lee Hatcher, Mary Connealy, and Debra Clopton

Mail order brides have always fascinated me. I cannot imagine a woman being so desperate in her circumstances to travel to someplace she has never been and marry someone she has never met. These 4 novellas fed my curiosity about these courageous women from an inside and personal perspective.
Each bride’s story takes place in one of the 4 seasons of the year. The setting is the late 1800’s, a time period I also enjoy reading about. Each bride answers an ad in the “Hitching Post Mail Order Bride” catalogue, owned and operated by Mr. Melvin Hitchcock. Unknown to man and woman, Mr. Hitchcock makes whatever “changes” he deems necessary to help each person find a mate. These modifications tend to leave out some very important information that isn’t discovered until AFTER the bride has arrived at her destination! Each woman is left penniless and homeless. This makes for some extremely difficult and surprising situations for both parties! The stories are both humorous and entertaining as the couples attempt to resolve their unfortunate circumstances
Story one, “And Then Came Spring”, Mary Jo Parker arrives in Colton, Kansas just in time for her finance’s unexpected funeral! As if that wasn’t enough she is met with a leery brother who knew nothing of her coming and the unruly young son of her deceased finance that wasn’t “mentioned” in the letter.
Story two, “An Ever-After Summer”, Ellie Smith hopes she is escaping a life of poverty and rejection when she gets off the train in Honey Springs, Texas. Hoping to impress her new husband, she is dressed in her most fashionable dress and carrying her Bible. Her new groom bristles at the sight of her because he specified he wanted a “practical woman” and no Bible believers. He was a widower that simply wanted a housekeeper and mother to his 2 year old child. This horrible misunderstanding was courtesy of, Mr. Hitchcock, of course!
Story three, “Autumn’s Angel”, Luvena Abbot, shows up in, Grand Coeur, Nebraska, with her sister’s 3 orphaned children to meet a groom that made it clear he did not want a wife with children. Yet another unfortunate “omission” of Mr. Hitchcock’s.
Story four, “Winter Bells”, Megan McBride, reaches Wyoming after spending most of her young life caring for ill parents and then raising her 5 brothers upon their death. She dreams of having a home and a loving husband. She is shocked to find a dying groom didn’t want a wife but someone who would be a mother to his children when he dies. Instead of preparation for a lifetime together her new husband is only interested in preparing her for his death.
I thoroughly enjoyed the historical insights and spiritual lessons in each story. I liked the fact that the novellas were just right, not short in length nor were they too long. Having four authors gave me four different writing styles. It was sort of like getting four books in one! A great read!
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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