Everything changes with the arrival of two people with secrets in their pasts. Anton is the new shepherd sent from another Amana colony to help Karlina's father tend the sheep. Something that has always given Karlina pleasure.
Dovie Cates comes to Amana in search of answers regarding her mother.
This book deals with secrets and choices, and what life might have been like to live in an Amana colonies. It was interesting to learn more about the customs and traditions of communal life.
One thing that was just a teeny bit hard to keep up with was how there were two points of view, both in first person, so I had to remember to read the chapter heading or I would end up really confused!
While there were plenty of intriguing characters and situations, this was a hard book for me toget into because I didn't feel like I was there in the moment with the characters, it was more like after the fact, and then they were telling me their thoughts on what had happened. And that was tough because it led to a lack of dialogue, which made it hard for me to feel like the romantic relationships were really developing because I never really got to see much interactions.
Overall, a well researched book that definitely left me better informed about communal living and the people of Amana, there were plenty of secrets and characters. An interesting read.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
A Hidden Truth is the first of the Home to Amana series and Judy has penned another winner. Mystery, intrigue, and romance are all included in this historical fiction story set in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. Judy's story will keep you hanging on through every twist and turn with a few surprises. I love those "I did not see that coming" moments.
If you like historical fiction, I think you'll love Judy's books. She is impeccable in her research and you feel as if you're living in the setting of the book right alongside the characters.
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
Dovie Cates's mother has passed away without sharing much of her life story. When Dovie's father gets transferred to Texas she decides that this would be a good time to go to visit her mother's family in the Amana Colony East in Iowa. Just maybe she'll find out why her mother would never share anything about her younger life, why her grandparents moved from there and never looked back. Her mother used to write to Cousin Louise Richter but stopped suddenly, Dovie really wants to learn more about her mother's family and why she never talked about her past.
About the same time Dovie arrives in Amana East to spend time at Cousin Louise's home, the Richter family is getting a new shepherd to help with the sheep. Karlina, Dovie's cousin who is about the same age as her, is upset because she thinks she'll no longer be allowed to care for the sheep, after all that isn't a woman's job. Anton has been sent to East because he can't control his temper, so the Grossebruderrat sent him away from his home to learn some control.
Dovie and Karlina become so close they are like sisters. Karlina helps Dovie learn the ways of the church as she's helping Anton learn to care for the sheep. As time moves on Dovie finds her self being disappointed when Cousin Louise refuses to answer her questions about her mother. Even when Cousin Louise lets her read some letters she saved, she doesn't learn anything. One day while dusting Dovie finds some different letters from her mother that Cousin Louise didn't share with her, she takes a chance and starts reading them. She doesn't get through all, but does get some clues so now she tries to discover the rest of the story.
When Dovie tries to help a family that is suffering from the influenza she convinces Karlina to help by taking medicine and going daily to care for them. The problem is, they do not belong to the church and live off of their property, it is against the rules for them, especially women, to leave the property and go into a non-member's home alone. When Karlina becomes sick with the flu, Dovie tells Cousin Louise the truth about what they'd been doing and now the whole family has to go before the Grossebruderat to find out what the punishment will be.
Will Dovie have to leave the community and never find out about her mother's past, will Karlina have to give up caring for the sheep and how bad will the punishment be for Dovie's caring for an outside family and dragging Karlina into the situation with her.
Very interesting book, I learned a lot. I am from the midwest and always thought, don't ask me where I got the idea, the Amana Colonies were Amish. But the more I read, they seemed more like Quakers than Amish so I looked it up and they were part of a religious movement called Pietism. Their belief, one shared by many other Pietists, was that God, through the Holy Spirit, may inspire individuals to speak. This gift of inspiration, or prophecy, was the basis for a religious group that began meeting in 1714 and became known as the Community of True Inspiration.
So, not only did Judith keep me interested by the story, I was also intrigued with their faith, I didn't do the research until I finished the book so I could see if I could figure it out. Thank you Judith for giving my a learning experience as I read this book, wonderful job.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing me this book to review. 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
This book by Judith Miller takes place in the Amish Amana colonies in Iowa in the 1890's. The plot centers around two young women, Dovie and Karlina, along with their families. It is Christian romance with some mystery thrown in there as well. The book included some interesting history and it was neat to think about how life must have been back then in the colonies. The story was really hard to get in to at first... but it picked up about half way through and I did finish the book in it's entirety. The story line was kind-of flat and I felt like their were some loose ends that never quite got tied up. For example, one of the main characters, Dovie, had two men who were interested in her. She fell in love with one but the other story line involving the other man just drops and the reader never gets any resolution with that relationship. Why include that in the story if it never comes to resolution? Anyhow, A Hidden Truth wasn't a bad read, but it wasn't that great either.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.