What an incredible story! Before the first chapter ended, I was hooked. I finished this story in a matter of hours because I could not put it aside. At times, I rushed ahead because I couldnt stand the tension!
Of the face of it, this seems to be a simple story about Anna Reardon and her brother James. They live in Boston and are destitute. When James sees Karl Lindstroms ad for a wife, he helps Anna write the letters to Karl that will eventually convince him to send passage for Anna to come to Minnesota.
Karl has lived in Minnesota for 2 years and is desperate for someone to share his life. He has no neighbors; he talks to his goat and 2 horses because he is so lonely. Karl is a wonderful man who has a sense of humor and a stronger sense of honor. His word is his bond.
Anna and her brother test that bond mightily; Karl marries Anna in spite of his misgivings. He even accepts the extra mouth to feed (James) with good grace. However, there is trouble on the horizon. The previous life of Anna and James in Boston is going to impact Karl in many ways.
The author did a masterful job of creating tension. The reader comes to understand why Anna did some of the things she did to get to Minnesota, but will Karl? This man is not complicated (however, he is in no way stupid); thus he has a hard time understanding his very complicated wife.
This story is beautifully told; things move at a pace that is believable. The story of Karl and James is just as beautiful as the one between Anna and Karl. Ill remember this book for a very long time.
"Hoping to escape the shame of her street urchin's life in Boston, Anna Reardon plotted a desperate scheme--to become Karl Lindstrom's mail order bride in the beautiful, dangerous frontier of Minnesota.
A kind and gentle man, karl forgave Anna for her deceptions. But there was still one burning secret she had to hid from him, knowing its revelation would destroy the love they had come to cherish."
I thought this was beautifully written, but got a bit tedious in some parts. Karl explains, explains and explains things even more in great detail. But all in all a good read, with a couple of nice "tear jerker" moments.
This is a wonderful story of love that grows despite the barriers of a cross-cultural marriage, of a marriage of strangers, of dealing with the rigors of frontier life, different backgrounds, and differences of value systems.
The characters became people to me...people with foibles, guilts, passions, and joys. Anna is defined at the beginning of the book by her all-consuming love for her brother, and her brother would do anything for her, as well. Karl is a man in love with the land, but lost without the comforts of people for company and homesick for his native Sweden.
The mail-order bride story has become almost a cliché--but this story is no cliché, it is a tale that could have happened.
Another great Spencer book!