A Bond Never Broken by Judith Miller is the third book in the Daughters of Amana series, but each book is a stand alone, so you don't need to have read the previous two to enjoy this one. Jutta Schmidt is put into an impossible situation when she is forced to spy on the people of the Amana colony looking for signs of treason in the heated days of World War I when German ancestry was enough to create suspicion. If she refuses, the family bakery will be destroyed, her parents thrown into jail, and a worse fate awaits Jutta. She goes to work in a hotel run by the Redlich family in South Amana. Their daughter Ilsa is angry that her brother Albert has been forced to join the military and is fearful that her boyfriend Garon may follow him. Ilsa had prayed again and again for Albert to be able to remain home, and when her prayers go unanswered, she starts to question God. Jutta feels as though her prayers have also been ignored, so the two women quickly bond, but when pressure is placed on Jutta to provide some information, she has to decide what matters to her more: her parents and their livelihood or the Redlichs who have treated her like a daughter. Miller's Amana series gives readers a wonderful look into this enigmatic religious group who was known for their quality goods and communal property. But during WWI when sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage" and German measles "liberty measles", people began wondering about this unusual group who spoke a form of German and refused to serve in the military. Miller really brings to life the horror of people using power and suspicion to attack others during wartime. It took a bit of doing for me to swallow my disbelief at the Iowa Council of National Defense's blackmail of Jutta, but once I did, I was sucked completely into the story. Readers can't help but be outraged at the unfairness and humiliation the Amanan people face. Jutta and Ilsa's friendship is natural and the foundation of the book. This story of bravery and friendship is a terrific read for fans of historical fiction or Christian fiction.
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Christy Lockstein (ChristysBookBlog1)
I'm a happily married mother of three. I review books daily on my blog Christy's Book Blog. I love to read, and I love the Lord. Those four things really define my life.
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For many years, Ilsa Redlich has helped her parents run a hotel in South Amana, but as the United States enters the Great War, she can feel her world changing. The residents of the towns surrounding the Amana Colonies used to be accepting of their quiet, peaceful neighbors, but with anti-German sentiment running high, the Amana villages are now plagued by vandalism, threats, and insults. Things get even worse when Ilsa finds out her family won't be allowed to speak German in public--and that Garon, the childhood friend she's long been smitten with, has decided to join the army. Jutta Schmidt is shocked when several members of the Council of National Defense show up on her family's doorstep. Sure, the Schmidts once lived in the Amana Colonies, but that was years ago. She's even more surprised when the council demands that she travel to Amana and report back on any un-American activities. Not daring to disobey the government agents, Jutta takes a job at the South Amana hotel, befriends the daughter of the owners, and begins to eavesdrop every chance she gets. When Jutta hears Ilsa making antiwar remarks and observes Garon assisting a suspicious outsider, she is torn at the prospect of betraying her new friends. But what choice does she have? And when Garon is accused of something far worse than Jutta could imagine, can the Amana community come to his aid in time?