Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller
Daughters of Amana Book One
Bethany House Publishers
Johanna Ilg was raised in the Amana Colonies. Why wouldn't she belong there? It's a peaceful life in 1877, where a community of Christian believers work and worship together. She and her parents embrace the doctrine and cooperative style of living. Johanna expects to remain in Amana, perhaps even marry and raise a family.
In contrast, seventeen year old Berta Schumacher came to Amana thinking she was only visiting. Upon finding out that she and her parents will stay and not return to Chicago, Berta knows that she doesn't belong in Amana. She wastes no time throwing a fit, revealing her temper and spoiled nature.
Johanna is assigned to teach and monitor Berta at work in the Kuche, or community kitchen. Unaccustomed to work of any kind, Berta is not only slow to learn, but very uncooperative. This unlikely pairing tests Johanna's mettle as interesting situations unfold. Will Berta ever settle down? Can Johanna's faith survive her unruly charge?
Meanwhile, Johanna's parents think that it might be time for her to settle down and get married, now that she's reached her 21st birthday. Does Carl Froehlich, a newcomer from a neighboring Amana settlement, have anything to do with this plan? How does Wilhelm, Johanna's older brother who left the colony to live in Chicago; factor into all of this? Johanna thinks she belongs in Amana, but does she really?
Miller's story unfolds in an entertaining and amusing way. I never knew what Berta might try next and how Johanna and the Amana community would react. I was pleasantly surprised at the layers of secrets that came to life through the course of the book. If you want to find out who really belongs in Amana, you will need to pick up this book. It's a good read for any day, rain, shine, or in between.
*This book was provided for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. No compensation was received.
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Elana Johnson's Book!
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