Friday, September 21, 2012

A Hidden Truth

a Home to Amana novel
by Judith Miller
Released September 1, 2012
In the closed communities of the Amana Colonies, hidden truths are about to change everything for two young women...

When Karlina Richter discovers that a new shepherd will be sent to her village, she fears she'll no longer be allowed to help her father with the sheep. She'll be relegated back to kitchen work, stuck inside all day. Her fears increase when the new shepherd shows little interest in the flock--or in divulging why he's suddenly been sent to East. Is he keeping secrets that will impact Karlina's family?

Dovie Cates visits the Amana Colonies to learn more about the place where her mother grew up. But when Dovie begins to ask questions about her mother's past, no one seems willing to reveal anything, so she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will the answers she finds spell disaster for her future plans and the longings of her heart?

Chapter 1
Saturday, October 29, 1892
Over-the-Rhine District, cincinnati, Ohio
Dovie Cates
"I won't be going with you."
My breath evaporated in thin, ghostlike whorls as I uttered the words.
The skirt of my black mourning dress whipped in the brisk breeze, and I pressed a gloved hand against the fabric before turning to meet my father's steely gaze.
Never before had I spoken with such authority. But life had changed. And not for the better.
I had questions. Questions that couldn't be answered by my father.
"Dovie Cates, you become more like your mother every day." My father's eyes softened.
His reaction surprised me. I was nothing like my mother. At least not in my mind. We had shared the same thick chestnut-brown hair and hazel eyes, but my mother had been quiet and unassuming, unwilling to speak of her past or consider the future. Traits that were nothing like my own. I fought back tears and the lump that threatened to lodge in my throat. In retrospect, it was likely best Mother hadn't worried about the future, for her life had been shorter than most. A future cut short nearly two months ago when she'd succumbed to the ravages of influenza.
Death had robbed her of a future, and it had robbed me of answers. Answers I'd been seeking. Answers about her past—her life before she'd left Iowa, before she'd met my father, and before I'd been born. Answers about her time in the Amana Colonies.
Father and I progressed along a sidewalk that fronted the narrow brick-and-frame houses built flush with the streets in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati. Sidewalks mopped or scrubbed clean each day by the German immigrants who lived in the tidy houses with backyard flower and vegetable gardens. Houses similar to the one in which I'd lived all of my twenty-two years.
My father reached inside his coat and withdrew his pipe. "Well, you can't remain in Cincinnati. I've arranged for the sale of the house, and a single young woman with no means of support, alone in the city . . ." His unfinished sentence hung in the wintry air, defying argument.
Hoping to gain his accord, I nodded my agreement. "I don't want to remain in Cincinnati, either."
He slowed his step and cupped his hand around the bowl of his pipe. Holding a match to the bowl, he puffed until the tobacco glowed red and smoke lifted toward the azure sky. "If you don't want to go to Texas with me and you don't plan to remain in Cincinnati, what is it you have in mind?"
There was no telling how my father would react to the idea. Before speaking, I clenched my hands and sent a silent prayer heavenward. "I want to go to Iowa—to the Amana Colonies—and learn of Mother's past."
His jaw went slack and the pipe slipped a notch before he clamped his lips tight around the stem. Confusion clouded his dark eyes, and he shook his head. "Foolishness."
"It isn't!" I argued. "I've given the matter a great deal of thought, and I believe it is an excellent idea."
Could my father not realize how lonely I would be in Texas? While he would be at work during the day and even out of town for short periods of time, I would be left alone in a strange city with nothing to occupy my time, without any friends—and without my mother.
"Tell me, how did you come to such a conclusion?"
"Mother would never tell me about her past—nothing before her marriage to you. Only once did she mention she had lived in the Amana Colonies, but whenever I tried to learn more, she refused to tell me. What can you tell me about her life back then?"
"Not much. And maybe your mother didn't talk about the past because it wasn't of any importance to her." My father blew a ring of smoke into the air.
When I didn't respond, he sighed.
"She did have a cousin, Louise, and they wrote to each other for a number of years." His brows furrowed. "Your mother and this Louise lived in the village known as East Amana, and they were as close as sisters—at least that's what your mother told me. When your grandparents decided to leave Iowa, your mother was forlorn. I was never certain what caused them to leave, but I know it had something to do with your grandfather. I didn't ask a lot of questions."
"Why? Weren't you inquisitive?" A strand of hair escaped, and I tucked it beneath my black bonnet.
A house Frau with bucket in hand opened her front door and prepared to scrub the steps leading to the border of sidewalk. She smiled a toothy grin. "Guten Morgen."
"Guten Morgen," my father and I replied in unison.
He took another puff from his pipe as we continued onward. "No, I wasn't particularly curious, and your mother never had any desire to discuss the past. Still, I knew her German roots were important to her. When she asked to settle in the Over-the-Rhine district rather than in another section of Cincinnati, I didn't argue. My work kept me away long hours, and I knew that until she learned English, she would be more comfortable among other Germans." He shrugged. "I knew there was no way to change anything that had happened in her past."
His answer surprised me. "Maybe not change it, but perhaps you could have better understood her, if you'd learned of her past." He shook his head as if to disagree, but I didn't stop. "What we learn from the past can help us form the future, don't you think?"
"Miller's Daughters of Amana is historical romance at its best. The characters are determined to find where they belong, sometimes with unanticipated results." –Romantic Times
"Steeped in period details that only a seasoned historical novelist can provide, this heartwarming story will meet the expectations of her fans as well as please critics. Extensive research backs every page of this meticulous, well—crafted work." –ForeWord Reviews on More Than Words
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A Hidden Truth is available wherever books are sold, including,, and
Copyright 2012 by Judith Miller


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