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Somewhere to Belong (Daughters of Amana #1)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,657 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews

Critically acclaimed author Judith Miller enthralls millions with her CBA best-selling historical novels. It's 1877, and Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, Iowa—one of seven villages inhabited by devout Christians who believe in a simple, cooperative life of service to God. But when she discovers a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shatt

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Published April 14th 2011 by Recorded Books, LLC (first published March 1st 2010)
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Jun 28, 2010 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't wait to read this book. I live in Amana and I am a direct descendant of the leader Christian Metz who told our group in Germany to come to America and settle in New York first and then finally in Iowa.

I think she she did a great job of telling how it was back in the communal days of Amana. Yes, they were strict but that's just the way it was. Everybody helped each other out.

Just to make clear, we are not Amish as one reviewer might think we still are. Never was and never will be. The
Feb 16, 2010 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Johanna decides to marry Carl, after her trip to see Chicago and her birth mother, Louisa--her mother's sister. Berta decides to follow God's lead for her life, after trying to do it her way and making a mess of her life and learning of her parents' mistakes.
Susan Hollaway
If you've never read a Judith Miller novel, you've missed a great read. Judy has yet again woven a story that once you pick up her book, you’re hooked. You won’t want to put it down until you’ve consumed the whole thing! Remember the coffee commercial … good to the last drop? Well, this book is MORE than good! It’s soooooo good! Once again, her history is impeccably researched, her story extremely well-written, and her descriptions make you feel as if the book is literally unfolding before your ...more
Amanda Morgan
Jul 29, 2011 Amanda Morgan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Award-winning historical author Judith Miller tends to write her books in a series of three novels featuring a common family or location. Her newest novel, “Somewhere To Belong” kicks off her Daughters of Amana series.
Initially, I chose this book because of the proximity of the setting. I love going to Amana, I love eating and shopping there, I find it a nice little getaway close to home.
However, how boring it is made out to be in the year 1877, as depicted in this book. Miller’s historical a
Margaret Metz
Feb 19, 2010 Margaret Metz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this a couple days ago and will get a review up on my blog soon. It was a different book than I expected in more ways than one. I was really pleased with it.

I will confess I'm not the biggest fan of Amish fiction. It's not because it isn't well-written or the stories don't grab my heart either. I just find that a lot of them either have sad endings or tend to leave you hanging at the end without knowing what will happen with the main character and their love interest. I'm not a big fa
Jun 01, 2010 Wendi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In the Amana Colonies in 1877, two very different young ladies are about to learn more than they ever bargained for. Johanna Ilg is hardworking, faithful and responsible. Her only unfulfilled desire is to visit her brother in Chicago and see the world beyond the borders of her village. Yet her parents are deadest against it and she longs to understand why.

Thrust into this strange new world when her parents suddenly gave up all their possessions and move to the colonies, Berta Schumacher is angry
Jun 01, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the late 1800's in a communal village, we find Johanna Ilg, a young woman who is devout in her faith, and looked upon as a suitable young lady to help train a new member into their village. Johanna is not so sure about this, once she meets Berta Schumacher. Berta is an only child who has been pampered and catered to all her days, living in a communal village, and having to work is something Berta rebels against strongly. The things she manages to get into is amazing. She is a trouble make ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a free download for my nook. I tend to like Amish novels, and I could tell by the cover picture that this was not about Amish, but along the same lines. It turns out it is about two girls in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, which were cooperative living communities settled by German Lutherans in the 1800s and early 1900s. The people of Amana dressed "plain" and lived simply and communally, several families to a house. The village leaders assigned each person a job... working in the gardens, ...more
Sep 09, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I should be upfront and mention that this isn't the sort of book I normally go out of my way to read, but it was a free Kindle book offering and, hey, free is good. The book follows two young girls living in the Amana colonies in the 1870's. I researched the Amana colonies after reading this and found them interesting from a historical perspective. They were seven towns in Iowa, founded by a Christian German sect. They were completely communal towns, everyone ate together, everyone was assigned ...more
May 31, 2010 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time with this book, it takes place in the Amana colonies. I am unfamiliar with this religion (the author does not even explain what religion this is) and so was confused why any one would want to join these people. Also, it said that being single was better then being married, however it was not forbidden. One of the girls was punished for not keeping the other girl in line~ seems unkind. I wished the author explained more about the religion.

The story is about two young women. One
Shari Larsen
This story takes place in the Amana Colonies in Iowa, in the 1890's. It is told alternately between the points of view of Johanna, who has lived her life in the community, and Berta, who has just moved there with her parents from Chicago. Berta is only 17, and making the adjustment to a new way of life is very difficult for her. 21 year old Johanna is assigned to train her to help with the kitchen duties and to help her learn the rules of the community.

The two girls seem to be complete opposites
I loved the setting of Amana for this story. It was a nice change of pace from the more common Amish stories. That gave me more patience than I typically would have for the degree of melodrama, hidden secrets, etc present in this book. Still not sure that I want to continue this series as the next story seems to be another heroine struggling with the forbidden.
Helen Pickering
Jun 11, 2017 Helen Pickering rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere to belong

Wonderful story I loved how it paraded God love forgiveness and second chances and how misconceptions can cause so much needless pain
May 29, 2017 Kuulei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the riveting plot and the wonderful characters! An inspiring book-
Dec 28, 2012 Yiya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere to belong tells the story of two young women that come together when the Schumachers move to Amana from Chicago, where they have lived a life of comfort and luxury; looks, things, trips to the mall and self gratification were taken for granted. They meet the Ilgs, who have lived in Amana since it was established. Johanna Ilg is assigned the task of helping Berta Schumacher to understand the Amana way of living and her role in the community. But Berta does not fit in, and she keeps tryi ...more
Somewhere To Belong by Judith Miller

I graciously received the entire Daughters of Amana series from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. I am under no obligation to write a positive review, just an honest one.

Somewhere To Belong is the first book in Judith Miller's series, The Daughters of Amana.

While similar to the Amish in some ways, this book is set in one of the Amana colonies and follows Johanna Ilg, who has always lived in the Amana colonies. It is also period fiction, which
Rachel Thompson
Sep 03, 2011 Rachel Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This story follows two different girls, both searching for somewhere to belong. Johanna has lived in Amana her entire life, but has always longed to see the outside world, especially Chicago where her brother lives. Berta's family has just moved to Amana to try a simpler life, but Berta has no interest in learning how to coexist within the rigid structure of the community. Berta and Johanna are thrown together as Johanna much teach Berta the rules of their society. Both girls work within the com ...more
Trinity Rose
Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller is a good book, but not one of my favorites. The book is written from each girls' standpoint, which I find interesting.
This story is about two girls who have very different lives, but who find themselves thrown together. Each takes a different path, but they end up finding out that secrets hurt everyone involved.
Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller is the first book in the Daughters of Amana series. I like the cover as it shows the dress of the Amana peop
Kevin Bowser
I am always looking for new books to read from different genres. And only having been a "reader" for the last year and a half, I am still exploring and fining my favorite genres.

Somewhere to Belong is the story of two young women - teanagers really.

Johanna Ilg, the one just beyond her teen years, has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven Amana villages. Similar to the Amish or Mennonite, Amana is inhabited by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyl
Christy Lockstein
May 07, 2010 Christy Lockstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller is the first book in the Daughters of Amana series. Johanna Ilg has always been the ideal daughter for her parents in Amana, Iowa. Living on a religious commune that focuses on work and prayer is often a austere existance, and Johanna has long desired to see the world outside of their small community. When Berta Schumacher moves to Amana, she's in for a rude awakening. The spoiled and petted daughter of a Chicago doctor and his wife has been forced to give up ...more
Jae Roth
Jun 06, 2011 Jae Roth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Johanna and Berta are two very different young women. Johanna is a life long resident of the Amana colony and a model of young womanly behavior. For this reason she is chosen to help newcomer, Berta, to adjust to the communal, collective, God-centered life of the Amana colony after having lived her life as the daughter of a prominent Chicago physician. And to say the spoiled and selfish Berta is not happy about her new living arrangements would be a gross understatement.

Set just a few years aft
A J Hawke
Mar 15, 2010 A J Hawke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere To Belong by Judith Miller is a well-written novel with well characterized people, and compelling conflict. The seven villages of the Amana colonies in Iowa are not well known by most people. This book opened up a world that I was not familiar with from a region that is not often written about.

More than a historical novel, this is also a coming of age story of two very different girls. Johanna Ilg has lived her whole life in Amana, and Berta Schumacher who has lived a privileged life i
Aug 09, 2010 Carly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-favorites
Somewhere to Belong is the first time I have heard about the Amana Colony and I was really looking forward to traveling back in time and enjoying the peace and tranquility of this community. While life in Amana was exactly what I was expecting, the story that Judith Miller told, far exceeded my expectations. I have a couple of Judith’s books prior to this one and I have always enjoyed her writing, but Somewhere to Belong really captured my heart. Johanna and Berta were two young women from very ...more
Somewhere to Belong is about a virtuous young lady named Johanna who lives in a Christian commune with a group who share a hard-working simple life. Based on a real community, this story takes place in Iowa during the 1870s.

Berta is a rich girl from Chicago. Her mother and father take her to visit the community but because of her stubborn impetuous ways, they don't tell her until they're there that they have actually moved there, not merely visiting. Berta is furious.

Johanna is everything Berta
Feb 17, 2014 Lorrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This genre isn't my favorite, but it's ok between novels that require more of my attention. It is different from any Amish reads, but there are some similarities. The Amana Colonies were small villages where a specific group of people settled after coming from Germany to escape the dogma of the Lutheran church and other religious groups. The Amana group settled in Iowa after outgrowing the land holdings in other states. In the colonies, everything was done communally. The had one large kitchen i ...more
Apr 01, 2011 Radella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Johanna has lived in the Amana Colonies in Iowa all of her life. Berta is newly arrived in the colonies and is used to the good life in Chicago, and is not at all happy about her new life. Johanna is tasked with showing Berta what is expected, and welcoming her into the community. Neither is happy with the situation, but Johanna does her best to help Berta understand not only her job in the kitchen, but how their life reflects their belief. Through love, betrayal, secrets, and hard work, the two ...more
I finished this book today. I read it on my Kindle in about 5 days or so and really liked the story line. It has piqued my curiosity about the community of Amana. I will definitely read the other books in the series. The story was uplifting in that the main characters, Berta and Johanna have big decisions looming in their lives and learn to trust God's leading with their futures. The backdrop of the community and how it works and supports all members was very interesting; All things working toge ...more
Sep 21, 2011 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
c2010. This was a free Kindle book that I snapped up as the topic was all about the Amana Colonies in Iowa. As I have been intending to visit the Colonies every time I have gone to Iowa City (Go Hawks!) and never got there, I thought this may be the book to persuade me to take some action. Sadly, not! I did not realise that this fell under the heading of Christian literature and I found the writing to be plodding, stodgy and plain. The plot line also did not have much going for it being very sac ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things I love about Judith Miller's books is her level of attention to detail in researching historical time periods. She pays attention to the easy things, like clothes & technology, and she pays attention to the more difficult concepts, like attitudes, economics & surrounding culture. She always looks at her target group (in this case, the Amana Colonies) and how the target group relates to the larger surrounding society.

Another thing I like is that while she does often have
Janalyn Voigt
Jul 14, 2010 Janalyn Voigt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What does it mean to belong? Judith Miller explores this question in a story set in the Amana Colonies of 1877. Two very different girls find themselves thrown together. Level-headed Johanna takes rebellious newcomer Berta under her wing and teaches her to embrace life in Amana. This task proves difficult. Each girl grapples with family problems, potential betrayal and life-changing decisions. Will Johanna and Berta surrender their pains and dreams to God and find the courage to truly live?

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Judith McCoy Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.
More about Judith McCoy Miller...

Other Books in the Series

Daughters of Amana (3 books)
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