Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller is a story of two young women trying to figure out what they are looking for in life. When Berta Schumachers parents move her the Main Amana colony she is certain that her life is over. Berta is used to the Chicago city life and she doesnt know if she can settle in to life in the religious village. Johanna Ilg was born and raised in Main Amana, but she sometimes wonders what it would be like to live somewhere else. Johanna is given the job of teaching Berta her new duties in the kitchen and the way of life in Amana. Johanna has her hands full with the willful girl, who is determined to find a way to return to her home in Chicago. Johanna had always believed her roots were in Main Amana, but after she stumbles across a family secret, she begins to wonder exactly where she does belong. I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House.
Set in the 1870s in the Christian cooperative community of Main Amana, Iowa this is the story of two young women, Johanna Ilg and Berta Schumacher.Johanna is a kind, compassionate, and respectful young woman who has grown up in Main Amana. Though she longs to see the outside world she knows her home is Main Amana. She is given the task of training Berta Schumacher in the ways of life in the Amana Community.Berta is a spoiled and rebellious daughter of a physician who is forced to move to Main Amana when her parents decide a simpler life would be best for all of them.Berta antics were good for few laughs, but nevertheless the plot was fairly predictable - with one exception near the end. The characters were rather flat and I really had a hard time connecting with either one of them.It is clear that the author put a considerable amount of research into this book. There is great detail in the political structure of the colonies. She clearly understood what the gender roles were and how they all worked together as a community. However, there was very little detail in regards to the theology of the people, which would seem to be more important in a Christian Community.Overall, it was a decent book, but not great.I must mention that I did receive a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House, but that in no way influenced my opinion of it.
In Somewhere To Belong, the quiet and very conservative village of Amana is turned upside down with the arrival of Berta Schumacher. Accustomed to big city living, Berta thinks that shes just visiting Amana with her parents. When the realization hits her that shes going to be living there Berta intends to make her parents pay. Sassy, strong willed and impulsive, Berta sends the plain people into a tailspin with her forward behavior and rude manners. Amana resident, Johanna Ilg and her family have the unfortunate responsibility of housing the Schumacher family. When Johanna is put in charge of training Berta in the ways of the plain people, it proves to almost be too much of a task to control the very wily, rebellious newcomer. With tricks up her sleeve and a mischevious spirit, Berta is difficult to get along with. Add to that her meddling ways, eavesdropping and lying and you begin to understand why Johannas patience is tested to the brink in this fun, fast moving story.This book is different from other plain people fiction that Ive read in that the families live in a co-op type setting and are Inspirationists. (For more background you can visit http://www.amanacolonies.com/history.htm)I liked that the plain ways were interwoven into the story very naturally and yet this novel did have some contemporary feel to it. Berta is a far more rebellious character that you usually see in typical plain people fiction which made it very entertaining to read. I really enjoy historical fiction that piques my curiosity and this book did just that. The people of the Amana Colonies are not Amish although very similar. If youd like to read further about these colonies, visit: http://www.amanacolonies.com/ For the historical background on how the colonies were started and what the name Amana means visit: http://www.amanacolonies.com/history.htmHow fun to read about a real place that is still in existence today!
Somewhere To Belong, is set in one of seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative Living, a rather simple type of lifestyle, while integrating their Faithful services to God. There are two main characters throughout the story, Johanna Ilg, and Berta Schumacher. Johanna has lived in the village of Amana, Iowa, her entire lifetime, always longing to see the outside world, she truly knows that she is grounded for life in Amana. Berta on the other hand, is the total opposite of Johanna. She has lived a rather privileged life of sorts, so coming from the big city of Chicago, to settle into a much simpler lifestyle in Amana, she is very resistant and rebellious! Johanna sets off with the difficult task of helping Berta become accustomed to the Amana waysof living. Berta is resistant of course, as she was not expecting to stay forever, she was only expecting to stay for a visit! During this journey, the two girls develop a friendship and learn many life changing secrets about each others families. This story is about the power of faith, love, forgiveness, and not letting circumstance rule your future. I really enjoyed how the author alternated the characters throughout the chapters, it gave a new perspective in each chapter, and kept one wondering what was going to happen next in the story, and also kept the story interesting and the reader coming back for more. I will definitely read more from Judith Miller! As per FTC Guidelines, I must state that I was given a review copy to read from Bethany House Publishers. My opinions are my own, and are in no way positively or negatively influenced, due to receiving this copy to review.
I have received a review copy of this book from Bethany house publishers and enjoyed reading it very much. Johnna Ilg has grown up in the High village of Amana colony. A steadfast community of hardworking, faithfulChristians who live simply serving God and one another. Ever since Johnna's brother left the community, Johnna has secretly dreamed of visiting the places Wilhelm has written of. While Wilhelm is visiting his parents, Johnna learns a shocking secret that leaves her angry and confused. She decides to visit with her brother in Chicago and her parents are afraid she will never return. Berta Schoumacher has lived an easy life as the daughter of a doctor. When her parents decide to relocate to Amana Colony to live a simpler life, the spoiled girl rebels against everything she is told to do. Until an accident happens and she is forced to look at her selfish actions and begins to see that God cares for her if she will only seek forgiveness.