A Shining Light

Written by Judith Miller
Review by Tamela McCann

Widow Andrea Wilson takes the settlement money from her deceased husband’s maritime job and decides to travel home to reunite with her father in her hometown in Iowa. Unfortunately, upon arrival, she discovers that her father has not only passed away, he’d sold the farm to the local Christian group of the Amana colonies. With no hint of what happened to the money from the sale, Andrea and her son are left without a home or money. Agreeing to stay in West Amana until she can decide how she and her son can move elsewhere, Andrea not only begins to love the life but also finds herself attracted to the town tinsmith, Dirk Knefler. Dirk’s attention and his thoughtfulness with her son Lukas slowly work on Andrea’s emotions until their lives are upended with a devastating reveal.

Set in 1890, this story mainly takes place in the Amana colonies, a religious sect I knew very little about. Miller does an excellent job of bringing the people and their beliefs to life without being overtly dogmatic, and while I could see the ending coming a mile away, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. I was particularly taken with Andrea’s devotion to her young son and her determination to better herself after an abusive marriage. I was also very pleased at the nearly seamless way the German dialect was woven into conversations so that the reader is not distracted from the story. This inspirational romance is a cut above the rest and can be recommended for its support for any woman facing difficult choices.