Sunday, June 6, 2010

Book Review – Somewhere to Belong, by Judith Miller

imageThis story is set in the late 1870’s in the Amana Colonies in Iowa.  Having visited the Amanas Colonies several times, I was very excited to read this book!  It did not disappoint.

The story centers on two young women, Johanna and Berta.  Johanna has lived in Amana her entire life.  Her brother, upon reaching adulthood, left the Amana way of life and moved to Chicago, and this has left Johanna curious about life outside of the colonies.  Her parents are very protective, having lost one son to the outside world, and another son to an ice-skating accident that ended his life. 

The other girl, Berta, is from Chicago and used to the privileged lifestyle of her wealthy family.  She is all about fun, not rules.  Her family has moved to Amana for reasons Berta can only guess, and she struggles with the rebelliousness in herself and the many rules of community life that she encounters in Amana.

These young women are on a journey to discover themselves and although they are on much different paths, the friendship they form is a help and encouragement to them both.  There is a bit of mystery playing out in each of their families… for Johanna it has to do with the circumstances of her brother’s death and why her other brother moved away.  For Berta, the mystery surrounds her father and why the family moved to Amana in the first place.

There is also a welcome bit of romance for both girls.   But the main story is how each of them comes to an understanding of who they are, what they believe, and where they belong. 

I enjoyed this book, but felt it was geared towards teenage girls and young women who are suffering from a lack of peace within themselves… wondering what God has to do with them and what life has in store for them.  It was a quick and entertaining read, and I would recommend it to young women (16 to 21) as a wholesome alternative to many secular books.

Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free copy of this book to review.

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