A Shining Light by Judith Miller is book #3 in the Home to Amana series. I read and reviewed book #2, A Simple Change, several months ago, so was pleased to get an opportunity to read another of these books.
A Shining Light is a historical fiction novel set in the late 1890's. The book begins in Baltimore where a young mother named Andrea receives the news that her husband has been lost at sea. Andrea has no way to support herself and her son, Lukas, so she makes the journey back to her childhood home and her family's farm. When she arrives, she is shocked to discover that her father has passed away and the farm was sold and now belongs to the Amana village located close to the farm. Andrea and Lukas must accept generosity from the people of Amana as they begin to live and work among them. All of this is a temporary solution as Andrea is not sure that she wants to stay in Amana forever. However, the longer she stays in the colonies, the more content and peaceful she feels.
The setting of the Amana colonies is an interesting and unique feature of this book. There are similarities to Amish fiction, but the lifestyle of these colonists is truly different from anything else I've read about. I really enjoy the rich history portrayed in this book and learned a great deal about the colonists from reading this book. I like the authentic way that the author dealt with Andrea's conflicting feelings about staying in Amana. The book contains more suspense and mystery than I anticipated, although this type of storyline was a part of the other book in the series that I read. Andrea and her son have a great deal to overcome in this book from dealing with an abusive husband and father to finding themselves without a way to support themselves. Much of this book deals with trusting in God for the future in spite of the difficulties we face. I would recommend this book to fans of historical and Amish fiction.
I received a copy of this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.