Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More than Words by Judith Miller - REVIEWED

About the Book (from the publisher)
Journey to the charming villages of the Amana Colonies, 1885

Gretchen Kohler can't help but dream of a life beyond tending her father's general store and keeping an eye on her younger brother and senile grandmother. She enjoys creative writing and believes she has a talent for it, but her traditional Amana village frowns upon artistic pursuits of that sort. So Gretchen confines her stories and poems to her journals, letting only close friends read them.

When a young reporter comes into her store and strikes up a conversation, she believes she's found a kindred spirit. Soon, she shares some of her stories with him—only to have her trust betrayed in the worst of ways. Will Gretchen lose her job, her reputation, and the love of her childhood beau all because of one unfortunate decision?

My Thoughts:

“My daughter has my permission to read books and to write stories as long as it does not interfere with her Bible reading and prayer.” ( p. 269)

Gretchen Kohler is blessed to have a father who understands her desire to capture the events of her life with the written word. Her life has many burdens that are greatly relieved by the fulfillment of this activity. Gretchen is the primary character in Judith Miller’s latest novel, More Than Words, and her life in the Amana Colonies in 1885 is difficult place to find personal fulfillment in an individual task. These historic colonies thrived on everyone acting as part of the whole, and artistic pursuits of any kind were frowned upon. Gretchen learns a difficult lesson in trust, and her writing proves to be the avenue through which she must learn it.

Gretchen must also learn valuable lessons about balancing her personal desires with the family obligations that are thrust upon her. Caring for her younger brother and her aging grandmother often prove difficult, and gaining a life of her own sometimes feels like a distant dream. But it is through her faithfulness and devotion to her family that Gretchen is able to reach out to others, and she touches many lives with the unconditional love she exhibits.

The Amana colonies presented an interesting concept, and this is not the first story I’ve read within this context. However, this communal, agrarian society would not have appealed to me personally. Legalism in not the way I would enjoy practicing my faith. Fortunately, Gretchen’s life was filled with people who allowed her as much personal freedom as was possible within the colonies, and she was loved by a man who appreciated her gifts and abilities. I did enjoy the closeness of the family in the story, and I think Gretchen has a bright future ahead.

More than Words serves as the introduction the Judith Miller’s Daughters of Amana series. She has created many more interesting characters though which she can explore the Amana Colonies.

the Author:

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, two of which have placed in the CBA top ten lists. In addition to her writing, Judy is a certified legal assistant. Judy makes her home in Topeka, Kansas. Visit her Web site at

1 comment:

Mocha with Linda said...

Enjoyed the review. And I agree - the Amana colonies were a bit too strange for me!