Beloved Author Lauraine Snelling Launches New Immigrant Series
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
My Review of The Promise Of Dawn
The Promise of Dawn, the first in the Under Northern Skies series by Lauraine Snelling is the rich and poignant story of the Carlson family that arrived in America during the early 1900’s hoping for a new start. When Rune Carlson receives a request from his Uncle Einar in the United States to come and help him with his farm, logging business and ailing wife in return for room, board and eventually a parcel of land, the opportunity seems too good to be true. With little work in Norway to be had and desperately wanting a new beginning, Rune and his wife Signe agree with some trepidation that this could be the break they have been looking for. Leaving all they love behind Rune and Signe and their three young boys in tow head for the long voyage to America. The voyage as expected is long and hard, especially for Signe in the early stages of pregnancy. Finally, the long voyage being over they look forward to meeting their Uncle Einar and Aunt Gerd, but what greets them is a dirty house, a harsh uncle and a cantankerous ailing wife.
The logging work is hard and Uncle Einar expects loyalty and long hours even from the smallest of their children. When they are not in the woods felling trees they are expected to work the farm and assist with the care of the animals. Signe’s work around the house never seems to end and assisting Aunt Gerd in her condition is trying and tiring. However, as time goes by Signe begins to make progress with Aunt Gerd. Through care, good food and Signe’s stubbornness Aunt Gerd begins to improve and the two develop a special relationship. Uncle Einar on the other hand becomes worse with time. Demanding more and more, he is not beneath threats to make the family work and keep them under his thumb. They are nothing more than indentured servants to him and he will have his way. As time goes on and the abuse continues, Rune prays for strength for his family and for God to show him the way. Do they leave or do they stay? Only God and time will show him the way.
I loved this book for so many reasons. First and foremost are the characters. I loved Signe and Rune. Signe was strong and determined and didn’t take a backseat to anyone, even Einar.Her energy, grit and determination to get Aunt Gerd out of bed and involved with the family never let up. Rune’s character was gentle and patient, but he also had his limits. He was resolved that his wife and boys would no longer take Einar’s abuse. When Rune finally takes a stand no one cheered louder than me. I also had a soft spot for Aunt Gerd. I enjoyed how the author slowing developed her character. It was like watching a butterfly emerge form a chrysalis. Having lived with a harsh and emotionally detached husband, the care and kindness shown to her from Signe eventually melted her heart and irritable ways. Aunt Gerd through love and patience not only showed her fondness for the relatives, but became physically stronger too. No longer attached to her bed, she eventually became a help to Signe at the time she needed it most. Oh, and let’s not forget Einar. He’s the character you love to hate. I was so irritated with him I found myself talking back to him as I read. Harsh and forbidding he was quite a formidable character.
I also loved the storyline and the descriptions of farm life especially the scenes in the kitchen with the women. I felt like I could smell and taste the bread and other foods Signe was always preparing for her family and Gerd. And the chores, good grief, were hard and backbreaking. I became tired just reading the list of duties Signe and the boys did on a daily basis. One thing is for sure, farming and homesteading was not for the weak and faint of heart.
If you tend to read Amish stories, or like stories of families or early America you will love The Promise of Dawn. A beautifully written story with well-developed characters you will love, or love to hate, that will make you smile and keep turning the pages. A novel to finish out your summer reading or something new to start when the kids go back to school, The Promise of Dawn is a winner that is sure to please.
I want to thank Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley for an advanced copy of Lauraine Snelling’s The Promise of Dawn for a fair and honest review.
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