About the book: When Signe, her husband, Rune, and their three boys arrive in Minnesota from Norway to help a relative clear his land of lumber, they dream of owning their own farm and building a life in the New World. But Uncle Einar and Aunt Gird are hard, demanding people, and Signe and her family soon find themselves worked nearly to the bone in order to repay the cost of their voyage. At this rate, they will never have land or a life of their own.
Signe tries to trust God but struggles with anger and bitterness. She has left behind the only life she knew, and while it wasn’t an easy life, it wasn’t as hard as what she now faces. When a new addition to the family arrives, Signe begins to see how God has been watching over them throughout their ordeal. But after all that has happened, can she still believe in the promise of a bright future?
Published August 1, 2017, by Bethany House Publishers
My review: This was my first book by this author and I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t care for the story. All those Norwegian names were difficult to pronounce and I wasn’t sure if I was even close. (Sorry but it is a quirk of mine to pronounce names correctly, even in books.) After I got past the deciding to come to America part and the voyage over started I really got into this story and couldn’t put the book down.
Lauraine Snelling writes in a way that made me feel I was a part of the story. From the stuffy, closed-in feeling on the ship coming to America to the day-to-day activities once they were here, I felt like I was experiencing everything right along with Signe, Rune, and the boys. I feel like through her writing style and descriptions, the author gave us a realistic glimpse of life for a family immigrating to America and having to learn the ways of family they didn’t really know and adjusting to life in a different country. Heck, she even inspired me through her descriptions to put the book down and go pull weeds from my flower garden!
I liked the fact this was a story about family and new beginnings and not a romance. While romances aren’t bad it’s just nice every now and then to read a book that doesn’t focus on romance but has a really good storyline like this book did. I thought of this book as a Little House on the Prairie for grownups. This book didn’t have a really strong faith element to it until closer to the end of the book. Until the almost the end there is only a casual mention every now and then of God and going to church. However, this didn’t bother me because the story is so good and well-written.
As far as characters go I liked Signe and felt a bit sorry for her for all she had to do. She had a lot on her shoulders but handled it wonderfully. Rune and the boys were all likable as well and Mrs. Benson was a delight! She added a breath of fresh air to the story to lighten it up from time to time. At first, I didn’t like Tante Gerd but as she changed throughout the story my feelings for her changed. Now, Onkel Einar is a completely different story. He was mean and my one complaint about the book is that we never found out why. Perhaps that part of the storyline will be revealed in the next book which I definitely plan on reading.
This author and the rest of this series is on my to-read list. I will be looking for more of her books, too. She has a great writing style and reading this book was effortless. This was one of those books I began to read and before I knew it I was 100+ pages into the story. Not all authors are able to pull readers into a story so easily and when they do their work must be appreciated and savored.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.
About the author: Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of over seventy books, with sales of more than 2 million copies.
She also writes for a wide range of magazines, and helps others reach their writing dreams by teaching at writers’ conferences across the country.
Lauraine and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, and live in the Tehachapi Mountains with a watchdog Basset named Winston.
They love to travel, most especially in their forty-foot motor coach, which they affectionately deem “a work in progress”.