Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review: Somewhere to Belong

Somewhere to Belong is a fiction novel by Judith Miller. It centers around a young woman named Johanna Ilg who has lived in the Amana villages in Iowa her entire life. The Amana people are very similar to an Amish or Hutterite group. Johanna has grown up living a simple life and has always been very comfortable with that simplicity.

Berta Schumacher is a young, vivacious woman who comes to Amana with her family thinking that it is a short trip when, in fact, her family has decided to relocate to the Amana colonies. This does not sit well with Berta who takes pride in her worldly possessions and enjoys the freedom of flirting with boys and having unlimited personal freedom. But for her parents, the colonies are exactly what they need to feel like Berta is being kept safe away from outside influences.

As Johanna gets to know Berta and is placed in charge of her difficult adjustment into life in the colonies, Johanna begins to see that life outside the colonies might not be as threatening as she originally believed. And Berta begins to see that life inside the colonies might hold more excitement than she hoped.

But Berta and Johanna's family situations hold much more than either of them bargained for, and the story takes many unexpected and exciting twists and turns as the girls learn more about the secrets that families keep.

The story was interesting for me. I had some trouble getting into the novel early on, but once I got to know the characters it was an exciting read. I look forward to possibly reading other books in Miller's Daughters of Amana series. Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Note for Full Disclosure: While I do not receive any monetary compensation for my book reviews, I am provided with free complimentary copies of each book. That being said, this review is completely my own, and free from the influence of Bethany House Book Publishers.

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