Saturday, May 24, 2014

Book Review: A Shining Light, A Home to Amana Book 3 by Judith Miller

The kind people of Amana have been her guiding light, but her greatest trial is yet to come...
West Amana, Iowa, 1890

After Andrea Wilson receives the devastating news that her husband has been lost at sea, she returns home to Iowa with her young son, Lukas. But what she finds there causes more heartache: The family farm has burned and her father has died, leaving Andrea with nothing.

Andrea must rely on the kindness of the people from the nearby Amana village who invite her to stay with them for a time. She discovers much generosity and contentment among the Amanans--especially from the tinsmith, Dirk Knefler, who takes her son under his wing. But is the simple, cloistered life in Amana what Andrea wants for Lukas's future? Is she willing to give up the comforts and freedom of the outside world? And when yet another round of shocking news comes her way, will Andrea ever be able to find the serenity and hope that have eluded her for so long?

My Take:
3.5 Stars
Christian Fiction
341 Pages
It is 1890, and as we read in the description of this book, Andrea, abused and abandoned from her husband ends up getting s a visit (I presume it was from the captain of the ship) with news for her. He had some bad news for her, or was it good news given what he liked to do to her? Supposedly while her husband was working on their ship out at sea, he has now been lost at sea, presumed dead. There was no question about it, according to the crew on the ship, although his body had not been found, so there was nothing to bury. 
Now a widow, Andrea decides to return home with her son, Lukas, in Iowa, only to find her father had died and left her with nothing. Now she and Lukas are on their own, homeless, until she meets up with the Amanas a few miles away from her father's old place. They welcome her in to their community to stay and work until she can figure out what she will do next.
As she is working away, she ends up meeting a nice young man named Dirk. He liked her, and the feeling was mutual. Even her son, Lukas, liked Dirk.
Andrea is working in a communal kitchen, then lo and behold, who should show up out of nowhere? Her husband. How did he find her? She was scared because all he did was abuse her and Lukas. She had a lot of questions, such as how could he be alive when he was supposed to be dead? The story continues on, and these characters have a lot to work out. Now we have some suspense. The quiet little community they were living in gets stirred up, a fire happens in the flour mill, and the rest is for you to find out if you read this book!
I will admit the first chapter did hook me! The story was very enjoyable, very well written with characters you could relate to very easily throughout the book, and I wanted to learn more about the Amanas. I wish the book gave more information about them.
Who are the Amanas? I know the Amanas are not Amish because I have read a LOT of Amish books. I know a LOT about the Amish from real life as well. The religion the Amanas practiced doesn't even match an ounce of what the Amish does. I had to Google to find out who the Amana were/are? I know I never heard of them before, not even in History class back in High School, not until this book. I looked them up on Wikipedia and found them under 'Amana Colonies', in case you would like to learn more about them. It gives all the information you could ever want to know about the Amana's. 
This book happens to be Book 3 in the Home to Amana series. This is a stand alone novel, even though it is part of a series of three. From what I understand, none of these books need to be read in order to enjoy them, and none of the other characters make an appearance in any of the other books, so if this sounds interesting to you, you don't have to worry about missing books 1 or 2, just go ahead and READ!
Book 1 is called: "A Hidden Truth" by Judith Miller (same author for all 3 books.)
Book 2 is called: "A Simple Change" by Judith Miller, again.
These other 2 books sound just as great as this book was! Enjoy!
If you like the 'Home to Amana' series, not only are there these other two I just mentiond, but Judith Miller also has another series of 3 books about the Amana's. called:
"Daughters of Amana". I'll list the names of the books:
"Somewhere to Belong", A Daughters of Amana series, Book One, by Judith Miller
"More Than Words", A Daughters of Amana series, Book Two, by Judith Miller

"A Bond Never Broken", A Daughters of Amana series, Book Three, by Judith Miller
From the inside cover of this paperback book, it shows this extremely accomplished author has at the least twenty-two books in total she has written! She could have more, too, as these are the books in the very front of this paperback. All of her books she has written may not all be listed here. Just by the books listed, it is clearly evident just how accomplished this author truly is! I received this book for FREE from the Publisher, Bethany House through NetGalley in exchange to read and write a review about it. It is NOT required for this review to be either positive or negative, but of my own honest opinion. "Free" means I was provided with ZERO MONIES to read this book or to write this review, but to enjoy the pure pleasure of reading it! I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

One strange thing I came across. This book IS available at Amazon for purchase. When you go to Goodreads, it says September 10th, 2014 is the first publication date? I don't know what Goodreads' error is, or perhaps Judith Miller has MORE books that are going to be published. We'll see! 

I believe I was supposed to be a part of a Blog Tour for this book, so maybe they had had more information about the Amana's, but I don't remember. I need to apologize to whatever company it was who I was supposed to tour with. We had another death in the family, making this the third passing since last August. I would like them to stop now, please. 
Prior to that, my computer crashed. The Geek Squad helped bring it back, but it still was not working correctly, and I lost several days trying to fix it. Then, yep! It crashed again, a second time, just last week just after I wrote my Sunday column. It took me forever to write that column, hours. The next day it was dead. It took us three days on the phone trying this and that to try to get it up and running. Nope. Nothing worked. It is in the shop now, and the hard drive is dead. It needs to be replaced, so I did lose information I had saved on it. Most of my info I keep in the Google Cloud, thank gosh for the Clouds we have now! The unfortunate part is this information happened to be a Word file, so it's long gone. 
Thankfully, I have an account with the Geek Squad! Every computer we buy now we purchase the Geek Squad coverage for them. It pays off a LOT! All I have to pay for is the hard drive and NO labor! I lucked out! The bummer part is the computer is LESS than 1 year old! That doesn't seem right to me. Another thing is Sony (that is the computer I have) kept sending out messages telling us not to put the computer on our laps, especially our skin. The computer DID get extremely hot. I have a separate fan that both of our computers sit on, and regardless of the fan, it didn't even work to keep my computer cool. I have a feeling there is an issue which either the computer getting so hot that it kills the hard drive, or the hard drive causes the heat? It's one of the two, and I will be writing to the company for sure! Thankfully, we have two computers! This one I am using is also a Sony, the SAME computer, same model because we were so happy with this one that is only 2 models below mine. My computer is beautiful, much sleeker and thinner than this one, so I wonder if it being so thin has an issue? I don't know, but Sony is going to be hearing about this! I'll let you know what I find out!
So again, to the Blog Tour company, I apologize for missing my Tour Date.

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