Young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of Bethel colony, an 1850s religious community in Missouri that is determined to remain untainted by the concerns of the world. A passionate and independent thinker, she resents the limitations placed on women, who are expected to serve in quiet submission. In a community where dissent of any form is discouraged, Emma finds it difficult to rein in her tongue–and often doesn’t even try to do so, fueling the animosity between her and the colony’s charismatic and increasingly autocratic leader, Wilhelm Keil.
Eventually Emma and her husband, Christian, are sent along with eight other men to scout out a new location in the northwest where the Bethelites can prepare to await “the last days.” Christian believes they’ve found the ideal situation in Washington territory, but when Keil arrives with the rest of the community, he rejects Christian’s choice in favor of moving to Oregon.
Emma pushes her husband to take this opportunity to break away from the group, but her longed-for influence brings unexpected consequences. As she seeks a refuge for her wounded faith, she learns that her passionate nature can be her greatest strength–if she can harness it effectively.
This is a very interesting and intriguing book to read. Emma is quite the character who often ends up with more than she bargains for. This is a wholesome fiction book written about life the 1850s In a community that isolates itself to maintain its religious purity. This is one of those books that I felt like I was watching the movie in my mind while I was reading the book. The author does a wonderful job of describing life during that time period. The characters are developed well and you feel as you know them personally while reading. The book was enjoyable and kept my attention but I certainly don’t want to spoil the plot for you. I highly recommend this book as it is wonderful fiction. Be sure to add it to your summer reading list. If you are following my suggestions, that list is growing for you.
I was provided a complimentary copy of his book for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. I was not obligated to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are my own.