Thursday, June 21, 2012

An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling

Norway 1877
'Gustaf Bjorklund waited patiently in his chair at the head of the oval oak table for the members of his family to take their seats so the discussion could begin.  He stroked his gray beard with fingers coarsened and cracked by years of heavy labor in the frigid Norwegian winter air.  One curling strand caught in an open crack and he felt the small twinge of pain.' 
And so the story of the Bjorklunds migration to America begins with this opening chapter of Lauraine Snellings An Untamed Land~

I really enjoyed this book, staying awake until 2 this morning to get it finished! Roald and Ingeborg Bjorklund traveled from Norway to America along with Roald's brother Carl and his wife Kaaren in 1880. After a long ship ride and then cross country journey, they settled on land in North Dakota for their homestead. Breaking the sod for planting and building a home took much hard work from these very strong and stubborn people. The hardships and heartache's they experienced along the way are faced with faith in God and hope for the future. 

My sister live
s in North Dakota so as I was reading, I was picturing the land as it would have been in the late 1880's and can't even imagine the terrible blizzards they would have faced in the wintertime. Ingeborg was a very strong woman, stubborn at times with the wish to be more help on the homestead than just the woman that was needed to tend the children and the garden. I could really relate to her and all she felt. The end of the book had me in tears, which doesn't happen often but I am glad to know that I can visit Ingeborg again with the next book in this series. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Memory Book by Penelope J. Stokes

Phoebe Lange was just a little girl when her mother was murdered in there home. Phoebe remembers standing in the kitchen, her mama hurt and bleeding on the floor and a man with ice blue eye's staring at her. Her grandmother took her in and raised her in the old family home. When Phoebe's Grandmother gets sick, she comes home from college to help care for her and finds out that her father, whom she always has been told was dead, is too soon be released from prison for the murder of her mother. Talk about a reality that will shake a person's faith to the core! As Phoebe is questioning everything she is and knows, she runs across and old Memory book that belonged to her great-aunt who just happened to have the same name as Phoebe herself. Wanting to know more about her great-aunt and why the memory book ended so abrubtly, Phoebe digs in. In a dream, (or was it?), Phoebe is transported back in time and spends some time as her great-aunt. There, she is able to answer some questions about her family and her faith in God. Can the past redeem the future, and the future redeem the past?

I really enjoyed this book, until the very last chapter or two. It was about a young woman struggling with her faith and with who she is; learning to trust in the people and the God who love her. I felt that the last couple of chapters were written as if I was sitting in church, listening to a sermon and it was a bit to much and heavy for the story. All in all a good read.