Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller - Review of the 1st book in Home to Amana series

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


  1. Wonderful review! =)
    I learned alot about this Community from your review.