On back cover-The wide-open plains of the Dakota Territory form the setting for the lives and loves of four inspiring women making their way in the New World. This captivating volume combines three of bestselling author Lauraine Snelling's novels under one cover, along with a bonus novella.
Nora Johanson has journeyed to North Dakota to join her betrothed Hans only to find that tragedy has struck. She is in a new country, doesn't speak the language and has 4 pennies left of her money. Carl Detschman is a widower with a newborn son and a small daughter and needs help. Nora is asked by the doctor and pastor to help Carl care for his family. So Nora and Carl enter a marriage of convenience where Carl is a silent and brooding partner. Although Nora wants to help him she is not sure how to do that other than with love for his children and help in caring for the farm. Hardships and struggles and eventually love bring these 2 together and the telling of the story is wonderful.
Clara Johanson (Nora's sister) is sent a letter asking her to be a mail order bride to a member of the same community where Nora is living. Unknown to her is that the letter is meant as a joke, a humiliation for the brother of the letter writer. When Clara arrives there is no bridegroom waiting and Clara does not know his name - she only has a picture. Dag Weinlander is the town blacksmith -a burly, unkempt man who has been told his entire life that he has no value or worth. A wonderful story of how love and friendship can change the life of even the most downtrodden.
Jude Weinlander- Dag's brother- has some heavy secrets and guilt that he carries with him and from which he feels he can't escape. He feels he is not worthy to be around "good" people. Then he stops in a town that needs assistance to rebuild the school and other buildings after a devastating prairie fire. Rebekka Stenesrude does not understand why she is so drawn to his quiet man. A tender love story unfolds as they discover many new things about each other.
Mary Moen (the pastor's eldest) and Will Dunfey have loved each other for years and planned to marry but then the big war - World War I- changed their lives. Will goes off to fight for his country and Mary's faith in God and her love for Will are tested. A very compelling novella that I wished had been longer.
Pre "Red River of the North" stories. I liked the first three and how they flowed into each other. You can also she how the ideas of "Red River of the North" started to formulate. The last story fall very flat, it had a promising start. The end though seemed rushed, undeveloped and did not tie the story up well at all.
These 4 stories are Christian romances. The scenery in the Dakotas in the early 1900s is richly described. The character studies are good, and you get a feel for the people, times and locations. There are different characters in the stories, but they are all from the same town, so you get follow up on characters in the earlier stories as you go along. A good read.