Saturday, October 25, 2014

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling

Another addition to the series set in Blessing, ND in the 1900's, this is the first in a new series. If you haven't read the previous books about the Red River Valley, you will still enjoy this book. If you have read the original series, you'll be pleasantly pleased that the story of the people of Blessing is continuing.

Learning to know each character is enjoyable - they are all three dimensional and for the most part each is quite loveable. You get so involved with the entire community as the small town continues to grow. You want to know more about each of the original cast and their descendants as they live and love, have children and contribute to the town. 

Initially, the Bjorklund brothers bring their families from Norway to begin a new life on the land they will turn from prairie to fertile farms, and later into a thriving town. They bring other family over to join them with the promise of land - which is scarce in their homeland. The continuing story of Haaken and Ingeborg and all the family is heartbreaking and poignant.  But there is also a new romance that begins in this book between Trygve Knutson and Miriam Hastings.

Trygve has been traveling with a well drilling crew, which is a successful business for  his Uncle. Even though he enjoys traveling, something tells him it's time to stay home and work on the family farms again.

Miriam lives in Chicago and is going to nursing school. She has a very ill mother and also siblings that she is trying to care for and support by getting her nursing degree. She is such a gifted nurse that she is selected to travel to Blessing to continue her instruction - for a year.  It's excruciating to leave them, but her instructors make it possible for her to go. Once in Blessing, she falls in love with the area that is so very much different from the city.  The lifestyle is more like what her mother has talked about as how she grew up.

Through circumstances at the hospital and with the founding families, Trygve and Miriam go through a crisis that touches them both. It also shows the level of faith that each has and their perception of how God influences their lives. 

There is another new element brought to the town - a Catholic priest and the growing population in the town who follow that faith rather than the Protestant religion of the original founders.  Conflict builds as to whether or not they will allow this to happen.

I am a huge fan of Lauraine Snelling's work. This is a welcome opportunity to see how the residents of the Red River Valley handle life, their faith and their growing town.  I love that it's not a fast read, but instead is quite intricate. It's not really about the romance between just two people - it's about all the characters in the town and their relationships. The only thing that I was disappointed with in this book is the somewhat abrupt ending. I know that the series will continue the story about Trygve and Miriam, but I wasn't ready for this book to end yet.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher from Bethany House - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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