Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor’s brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she’s ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory.
Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse’s confidence in her-and his faith in God’s perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind. When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah’s fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse’s love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed. She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn’t predict all that awaits her.
Riveting! That’s the best word I can think of to describe this novel. I loved how each chapter began with an unspoken thought that Jesse had regarding his wife. That was so well done because it increased my anticipation of each chapter’s contents and gave a hint at the lesson that would be learned by the characters.
Have you ever wondered how in the world people survived the winter on the frontier with little to no humanity around them and so much snow that they were holed up in soddies for days at a time? Well, this story gives you a glimpse into that life. It also tosses in a bit about the Lakota Indian tribe and the PTSD suffered by many men who served and survived the Civil War. There were many excellent thoughts about a number of situations slipped into this novel that make you think as you enjoy the story.
I have always enjoyed Mail-Order-bride-type stories, but this one was uniquely different from the typical format and incredibly well-done. Susannah had a lot of baggage, but she was likable and a very believable character. I totally adored her husband, Jesse. He had pride and the desire to protect and provide for his family like a typical man, but he was also a spiritual leader and an emotional healer in her life. He showed her what true love was, and I enjoyed experiencing their relationship as it grew stronger and finally bloomed.
This story was written so naturally in regards to the sexual relationship and the spiritual growth in their individual lives and marriage that they seemed like real people to me, even friends. Oftentimes these elements in a story feel a bit forced. Not in this book. I never would have guessed this story was a debut novel. The writing was beautiful and in some ways reminded me of a Laura Frantz novel. If you love her writing, you will definitely enjoy this book. It was refreshingly realistic and I got a lot out of the story on a personal level. I even found myself smiling as Susannah discovered some spiritual truths and learned to be honest with God. That’s a good Christian novel…one that not only inspires you to be a better person, but one that encourages spiritual growth and being honest with yourself. Wonderful, wonderful story. It’s definitely a favorite of mine for 2011. Don’t miss this one if you want an inspiring read this year.
Spring for Susannah was published by Thomas Nelson and released in June 2011. A copy of this book was provided to me for review by Litfuse publicity. Unfortunately due to the fires, I missed the tour. But I am posting now. I really, really enjoyed this book!