©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Shining Light

It may seem that almost all of the books I review are five star books, and it would appear that I am far too easy on the authors. But, after some serious thought, I've come to the conclusion I choose books by authors I know I will enjoy, I choose content I know I will like, I choose books that appeal to me to begin with. It's easy to give five stars under those conditions, however, sometimes I do miss my own mark. This is not the case with the book I am reviewing today, I chose well with author, content, and appeal.

Judith Miller has written a series of books taking place in the Amana Colonies in Iowa. The residents of the Colonies live simple lives, in community, in cooperation, with each of them working according to their interests and gifting. While living simple is one of the tenets of the Amana Colonies, living efficiently is also one of their tenets, and above all helping out one another.

Andrea and her son Lukas have found their way to the Amana Colonies after hearing that her husband has been lost at sea and presumed dead. Her intent was to reconnect with her father whose farm abutted the Colonies. Upon arrival she finds that her father's farm house has burned down, the land has been sold to the Colonies, and she has nowhere to go. The members of the colonies take her in, give her a place of refuge, and work to do in exchange for her room and board. They gave her dignity and friendship, especially a young man named Dirk--the tinsmith, who becomes her shining light.

But, . . .

Andrea's husband, Fred, shows up, ill and injured, and just as nasty as he'd been before. He takes his time to overcome Lukas' fear of him and make an ally of him, for reasons of his own making.

There is so much more to this story than the few words I've written here. There's growth in faith, overcoming fear, growth in love and friendship, and on the flip side, deception, and evil intent. Judith presents just enough conflict to keep the reader engaged, enough sweetness to let the reader relax, just enough gospel to show a realistic growth in faith, and just enough of everything to make this a five star book, with two thumbs up, and a place to be when there is no other place.

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