Years ago, when I learned Lauraine Snelling would be at my first writers’ conference, I had stars in my eyes. I adored her Blessing books. They never fail to speak to my Scandinavian heart (admittedly, I’m Swedish, but Norway is close enough). Snelling is one of the ladies several of my writing friends and I refer to as our “Mount Hermon Grandmas.” They are such encouragements to us in our writing journeys. So, in light of that, I’m very excited to introduce you to her most recent release.
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?
If you love a good immigration story, you’ll appreciate this one. Snelling is always a stickler for historical accuracy and getting into the everyday lives of her characters, really giving the reader a sense of what it must have been like to leave the homeland for a new one at the turn-of-the-century. She paints a wonderfully clear, yet challenging picture – at least of the Carlson family.
This story really gets at the heart of what it means to love difficult people, especially family, as Signe and Rune must put their noses to the grindstone and practice long-suffering and integrity, even when the unfairness they live under would give them plenty of reason to return the same treatment they’re given, ultimately trusting God to take care of them. And the journey of Rune’s Tante and Onkel had me hooked. I do hope there’s more to come because of their incredible richness – going from bitter and broken to something far more intriguing under the ministry of the Carlsons.
Now, having finished the book, I’m excited to see where this series will go. I have quite a few questions I’m still turning over, though, I’m sure if I asked her directly, Lauraine would tell me, “all in due time.” She told me the same thing with A Touch of Grace. You would think I would have learned some patience from the Singe and Rune, but it’s still not my strong suit.
To the point! This one had me up till the middle of the night to see where things would go with the Strands and the Carlsons. I imagine you’ll find yourself in a similar position if you pick up a copy. I’ve always loved Snelling’s historical fiction and I hope you will too.
I received a free copy from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.