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.
A HIDDEN TRUTH is the first in a series from Judith Miller. She has other books set in the Amana colonies, and her knowledge of the sect and time period are sharpened in this new book. Dovie Cates is a girl searching for family history when she requests a visit to the colonies. Her quest is the focus of this book and I don't want to spoil the story. I think, though, a real-life Dovie would have had more challenges fitting in to the atmosphere of the colonies than our character has in her story. I enjoyed the book and will look for the next in the series.
The author gives us an amazing look at the late 1800's Amana Colony. I find it so very interesting, and it almost makes me want to live there. The whole community is built on the Love of God! Karlina Richter lives at the Community, and has a love of Sheep...her Dad is the Shepherd in the East Village. When a young man, Anton, is sent to help her ill father, she figures he is spending his year to get married. Sparks do fly, but is he already in a relationship? Also Dovie Cates mother has recently passed away and her father is moving her to Texas. She writes her mother's cousin, Louise, and asks to come for a visit to the Community. She wants to know why her Mother seemed sad, for so much of her life. Will Dovie get her answers? When she does get some information, will it break her heart? Also will Karlina be able to give up her feelings for Anton. Enjoy this interesting book, and get lost in the Colony life. Once you get started you won't be able to put it down...I didn't!
I received this book through the Bethany House reviewer program, and was not required to give a positive review.
My husband took one look at the cover of “A Hidden Truth”, yawned and said, “it looks really boring.” I promptly told him he should know by now not to judge a book by its cover. I came close to eating my words, but I won’t go so far as to say this book was boring. The story develops around two distantly related cousins Karlina and Dovie, their lives in the Amana Colonies, and the “life changing” discoveries they make. A Hidden Truth did not draw me into the lives of the characters or cause me to connect with them on any universal level. Rather, the two main characters were flat and uninteresting, and the men they ultimately fell in love with were no better developed. Dovie, the first character introduced, lacks emotional depth. For example, there is no portrayal of believable grief about the recent death of her mother, even though a major component of the plot is Dovie’s quest to understand her mother’s past. Indeed, the quest felt robotic and emotionally disconnected. Dovie’s character also lacks realistic internal conflict. Her quick and easy adjustment to the confines and restraints of life in the Amana Colonies is simply unbelievable – could anyone coming from a more free and open lifestyle really adapt so readily to the rigidity and monotony of the Amana way of life? Yet there is never a hint of chafing from Dovie’s perspective. Neither is the developing romance between Dovie and a young man she meets highly believable, as the author does not describe any meaningful dialogue between the two characters or insights into why they are attracted to each other. Karlina, the second main character is also a flat character, primarily because she is simply too good to be true. When the worst thing this young woman has ever done is aid a sick family outside the Amana Colony borders how does the average reader relate? Indeed, the only character in the book that has character flaws is the apprentice shepherd, Anton, who has an anger problem. That flaw is quickly mended though, as Anton mysteriously discovers patience and peace doing a job he hates, alongside a woman who often berates and reprimands him…why he falls in love with her on that basis is also something of a mystery. Aside from weak characterization, the plot is shallow, and to put it bluntly, the story simply lacks excitement. The monotonous daily routine that undoubtedly was an accurate portrayal of life in the Amana Colonies did not help in this regard. Furthermore, Dovie’s search for truth about her mother was completely anti-climatic. I don’t do spoilers, but I will say that the plot was weakened when the ‘secret’ came out, simply because it made no sense why people would go to so much trouble to conceal it in the first place. Finally, the plot was too predictable, particularly Karlina’s ‘discovery’ about Anton. Ultimately, I gained nothing from reading this book – not even a greater knowledge of the Amana Colonies from a purely historical perspective. But, to be fair, it’s worth pointing out that: 1) I never fell asleep while reading 2) I did finish the book 3) You might like it if you are drawn to Amish-style books that emphasize the virtues of austere, hard-working people, and if you are content with a storyline that progresses with very little conflict or surprise, but with lots of descriptive details about food and food preparation. I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House. 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.
A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller is a novel discussing life in the Amana Colonies during the year of 1892-1893. Dovie Cates has just lost her mother to influenza and her father is planning to move to Texas. She has been living in the German part of Cincinnati but she has always wondered about her mother’s family in the Amana Colonies in Iowa but her mother was so secretive about her life there before she married. Now that she was dead there was only one way to find out about her family and that was to visit them. Surprisingly when she asked her father if she could visit them he had said that she could. At 22 years old she was an adult but as a single woman she needed a chaperone to protect her reputation. The short time she spends there she plans to discover what had happened to her mother to make her so sad—what her secrets were as well; as learn to live in the religious Amana colonies.
This is an interesting book and I loved it. The Amana Colonies and their German background is an interesting backdrop to the story. It was a good quick read at 337 pages which easily holds the reader’s attention and it hard to put down. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.
This book was provided by Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for this review.
While "A Hidden Truth" is not a gripping story it is very enjoyable. The writer has an engaging literary style. She incorporates the right amount of tension, mystery and romance to make this an interesting and compelling story. It is clear that Ms. Miller has done a great deal of research on the Amana Colonies and I especially appreciated learning about their origins, society and customs. These are Christian communities of which I had previously known nothing. There is a definite warning about reading this book - you will find yourself experiencing the kitchen life of Amana and all the good foods prepared. I don't bake cookies very often anymore but this book put me in the mood for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I sent them to work with my husband and had a few for myself. This was sent to me by the publisher as a complimentary book for review.
Author Judith Miller has done an outstanding job on her book, A HIDDEN TRUTH, set in the Amana Colonies in the early 1890s. The characters "came alive" for me---especially Dovie and Karlina---the two young heroines of the story. I really enjoyed how the story moved along and kept me wanting to read more, and it's very obvious that the author put lots of time into her research! A HIDDEN TRUTH is definitely a book I'll place on my "Keeper Bookshelf" to read again later on. Five stars!!!
Dovie Cates informs her father that she did not wish to move to Texas with him. She wishes to visit her mother's cousin in East Amana. Since the recent death of her mother she has become obsessed with wanting to learn more about her mother's past life in East Amana. Her father gives her permission to visit Cousin Louise, in the Amana Colonies but just until he can find them a house in Texas. So she sends a letter requesting a visit to her Cousin Louise. When Dovie arrives in East Amana she is not sure if she is welcome. Mainly because she did not wait for a return answer from Cousin Louise so her arrival was a surprise.
When she tries to work information about her mother from Cousin Louise she is given just basic information she already knew. So Dovie assumed Cousin Louise must be hiding something about her mother's past. Dovie was determined to find out what that something was.
While she is visiting in East Amana she helps in one of several group kitchens in East Amana. The one she is working in is in Cousin Louise's home. Cousin Louise is the kitchen boss of this group kitchen. She thinks this will give her a better chance of talking to Cousin Louise about her mother.
Cousin Louise has a daughter, Karlina that is about the same age as Dovie and they have become friends. Karlina helps her father with the community sheep. It is uncommon for a girl to work with the sheep. Since her father's failing health the Elders have assigned a young man, Anton to help with the sheep. He has never worked with sheep before and Karlina will help her father to train the young man. Anton seems to have no interest or patience with the sheep.
Dovie meets a local young man, Berndt that delivers bakery goods to the community kitchens. He has become very smitten with Dovie and she him. He invites her to go ice skating with him at a near by pond. They end up going ice skating several times with Karlina and Anton. But Dovie seems to be more focused on finding information about her mother's life in East Amana and Karlina is more interested in caring for the sheep.
Just what is it that Dovie expects to find out about her mother? Just what is her relationship with Berndt?
Will Karlina trust Anton to care for her precious sheep? Does Anton have a past to hide? Will he learn to care for the sheep with love and patience?
I saw Dovie as a manipulitive young woman. She broke rules, and went beyond sensitivities to find out about her mother.
The author managed to keep me guessing about Dovie and her mother's past. I can usually figure out the mystery of a story but this one I was surprised with what Dovie uncovers. I was also surprised as to what Karlina uncovered about Anton. This made for a very interesting read.
I throughly enjoyed all the scriptures through the book. Some that inspired me to claimin my daily life.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure I received a copy of this book for review from the author. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.
Historical Fiction is not usually my genre of choice. However, I’m happy I opted to read this one. I was captivated with the story from the first chapter. I’ve long been intrigued with the Amana Colonies - part of it stems from the fact that they were a German speaking Christian Community just like the Hutterites. For that reason, quotes like, “I am free to leave, if I should become unhappy. Nothing holds me to this place, except my desire to be here,” struck a familiar chord in my heart. Furthermore, when the Hutterites first came to America, the Amana Colonies, who had been here quite a few years, were able to help them on a number of occasions. Reading this book, I couldn’t help thinking how appreciative the Hutterites must have been coming in contact with like-minded people -“All of the people who live here contribute their skills and work for the good of all.”
It’s quite obvious Judith Miller spent a considerable amount of time researching this piece of American history and has woven a fascinating and believable narrative. One of my favourite characters is Cousin Louise, who staunchly adheres to the Amana ways but still shows an understanding heart for the sometimes impulsive Dovie, a distant relative who comes for an extended visit. I appreciate the journey into the Amana Colonies history this story took me on. Now, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to continue the journey in a book that would follow this one. I hope so!
"A Hidden Truth"written by Judith Miller, is a delightful book introducing readers to "Home of Amana" series#1
The story begins with Dovie Cates, desiring to seek information about her Mother's life, as a young girl/woman in the Amana Colonies. This can only be achieved by Dovie writing to her mother's cousin, Louise, seeking an invitation to stay with her relatives in the Amana Colonies. Dovie is desperate to unearth the "Mystery"(which she believes exists) surrounding her Mother's sudden departure to the "Outside" world!
As an avid reader, "A Hidden Truth" truly captivated my interest, which didnot waiver throughout the entire book. To me, it portrays the simple, disciplined (but not without sensitivity) lifestyle of Dovie and her family. I was impressed by the manner in which the "Grossebruderrat" handled a delicate situation with their decision, thereby reshaping the future of Dovie and her cousin, Karlina.
As a reader of Judy's books, I feel she has provided an interesting insight into the lives of the people in the Amana Colonies and furthering my knowledge.
For those who are historical enthusiasts, this book is both engaging and colourfully presented.
" A Hidden Truth," by Judith Miller is an absolute MUST to read!
A story of the Amana colonies set in 1892. I suggest you read the book as Inspirational Historical Fiction. Because there was a time when those who imigrated here and lived in religious groups existed. I personally would have a problem with elders making decisions where people work, live, who they marry, etc. Freedom was missing during this time to make your own decisions. All the money belonged to the colony and the elders decided how it was spent. It was a very good history of the colonies and gives you a view of how things were. But I would not want to live like this myself. However I still enjoyed the read. The parts where Anton learned how God is the Good shepherd and the faith shown is good. Karlina makes a decision to help a family which should have according to Bible been okay as helping your neighbor. But to Colony the people outside the colony were not considered their neighbors. So she was punished for it by the elders. Dovie was sent from the Colony for a year because of her part in the decision. Which I think was totally wrong but one did not question the elders. Dovie wanting to find out about her Mother I enjoyed but fact it was hard to get any information I would not like. So much work and so little family time in the colony. That bothered me. But then it is a story from the 1800s. Was a good read.