Nilda Carlson has been trying to save enough money to go to America for months, so when a letter from Einar and Gerd Strand arrives, offering to pay her ticket, she jumps at the chance. Her younger brother Ivar accompanies her, and they can't wait to join their brother Rune and his family in the northern forests of Minnesota.
Signe and Rune Carlson are thrilled to welcome Nilda and Ivar to America, but life on the farm remains a struggle. Though Gerd has softened and grown to love the Carlson family, Einar is still harsh and unforgiving, obsessed solely with felling as many trees as possible. Rune is trying to build a new home for his wife and children, but Einar refuses to help and forbids anyone from the nearby community from stepping foot on his land. What dark secret must lie in his past to have caused him to isolate himself--and anyone living under his roof--in this way? When a tragedy lays the truth bare, the Carlsons and Strands will have to come together like never before and become a true family.
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Second book Under Northern Skies series
A Breath of Hope by Lauraine Snelling is the second novel in Under Northern Skies series. Nilda Carlson, Rune’s sister, wants to leave Norway and go to America. She is thrilled when a letter arrives from Einar Strand in America offering to pay for her passage. Nilda’s parents, though, will not allow her to travel alone. Ivar, her brother, will accompany her but he does not want to be beholden to Einar for his passage. Nilda must wait while the family earns enough money to pay for Ivar’s passage. Nilda and Ivar finally arrive in Benson’s Corner, Minnesota and are happy to be reunited with Rune and Signe. They are unprepared for Einar’s rudeness (he is bitter and mean) and determination to clear the trees from his property. Gerd is recovering nicely from her illness, and she enjoys spending time with little Kirstin. When Rune is not clearing trees for Einar, he and his sons are busy digging the cellar for the families’ new home. The Carlson’s have enjoyed getting to know the people of Benson’s Corner. They were unsure of how people would treat them because of Einar. Einar has alienated every person in the small town, but the Carlson’s have not been able to get the full story behind his misdeeds. An accident lays up one of the men and the others will have to continue without him. Pick up a copy of A Breath of Hope and read this heartwarming family saga to discover what happens next.
I thought A Breath of Hope was well-written and an engaging novel. I opened the book and was immediately drawn into the story. A Breath of Hope held my attention until I read the very last word (I rarely find books like this). The book has well-developed characters that I wish were my neighbors and friends (except Einar). We get to see how immigrants struggled to start their farms. They had to work to earn money food and the supplies needed to build their home. The trees had to be felled to plant crops and erect their homes and barns. They would have to fight the land and animals to survive. One bad crop and they could be ruined. It was important to have family and friends that they could rely on for help as well as comfort, friendship, and fellowship. This is all represented in A Breath of Hope. Lauraine Snelling has a conversational writing style that makes the story easy to read and savor. Christian values are represented in the book. Turning the other cheek, prayer, faith, following the path God has laid out for an individual and forgiveness are some of the Christian themes in A Breath of Hope. Forgiving someone can be very difficult especially when they continue to wrong you. It is one thing to say you forgive an individual and another to forgive them in your heart. A Breath of Hope is not a standalone novel. You need to read The Promise of Dawn before embarking on A Breath of Hope. I am rating A Breath of Hope 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it). I am looking forward to finding out what happens next with the Carlson family. My only complaint is that I now must wait a year for another installment in Under Northern Skies series.