Anyone who knows me knows that I love reading Amish fiction, cookbooks, and non-fiction. My love for the Amish began with traveling in Ohio, but then began to include fiction written by Beverly Lewis. I was then introduced to Cindy Woodsmall last year. Last night I finished a book by Judith Miller titled Somewhere To Belong. Although it does not contain all of the language and descriptiveness that Beverly and Cindy include, it was an enjoyable book. The story was surrounded around two girls – Johanna Ilg and Berta Schumacher. The setting is Amana Colonies, Iowa in 1877.
Johanna has been raised her entire life in Amana as part of the Amish community. Berta was raised in Chicago, Illinois by her charitable works mother and physician father. Her family moves to Amana which is not agreeable to Berta. The antics of Berta, who is used to shopping, extravagence, and parties, sets the entire community on edge. The friendship that develops between Johanna and Berta when Johanna is charged with teaching Berta the Amish ways is heart-warming.
Encompassed in the story are the secrets in each family that come to surface and the endearance of the community upon both girls’ hearts despite the secrets and troubles. Readers can sense the pain of both girls throughout the storyline and will feel a sense of joy when both girls embrace the Amish way of living.