This book caught my attention because it’s based in the Amana colonies in Iowa, very close to the area where my husband grew up. He’s always had great things to say about Amana, and I loved being able to read a story that includes cities/towns that he’s always talked about. I also appreciated being able to ask him questions about things like the distance from one colony to another, or from Amana to another town. That helped a lot with “visualizing” things throughout the story!
The book is about a young woman named Jancey, and is told in the first person. I really enjoyed that part, because not many fiction stories are told through that perspective and it’s a great way to “see” the story through their eyes! She gets a huge shock when she comes home one day and is met by her parents, telling her that they are selling the family business and moving to the Amana colonies, so her mother can be back around people she knows and loves before she passes away (she has been ill for quite some time at this point). They give Jancey the option of coming with them or of staying, but her job is one where she works full-time at an orphanage and isn’t paid – not the kind of job that she can keep if she isn’t able to stay with her parents for free anymore! But if she moves with them, she won’t be able to choose her job – it will be assigned by the community elders, and her whole life will change. She will also have to leave the young man who has been courting her, but she decides that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be with him anyway, so heading off with her parents will be the better choice. Once there, she meets new people, struggles with the changes in lifestyle, has to handle saying goodbye to her mother, and learns a lot about herself and her faith. There is definitely a part of the book that is like a romance story, but that’s not the entire book. It’s much like reading a journal or diary, and you learn a lot about Jancey’s life (and the lifestyle of the entire group within the Amana colonies) while you read it.
It’s a great book that is definitely worth picking up, especially if you like historical fiction, and in particular anything about Amish – while the Amana colonies were not Amish, this is written in much the same vein as those stories, and if you like them, you’ll enjoy this one too! I’ve never read anything by this author before, but do look forward to seeing what she’ll have available next. Her style of writing is one that I really liked!
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way required to write anything positive – the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.