An Untamed Land by Lauraine Snelling
Genre: Christian fiction, romance
On my TBR list? No
Book 1 of 6
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The promise of free land lures Roald and Ingeborg Bjorklund from their beloved home high above the fjords of Norway, and after three long years of scrimping and saving to buy tickets for their passage to America, they finally arrive at the docks of New York City. This new land promises a rich heritage for their children, and here they hope to build a good life. After a long journey by train and then by covered wagon, the Bjorklunds finally arrive in Dakota Territory, where they settle on the banks of the Red River of the North. But the virgin prairie refuses to yield its treasure without a struggle. Will Roald and Ingeborg be strong enough to overcome the hardships of that first winter? Proud of their heritage and sustained by their faith, they came to tame a new land.
If you've been reading my reviews over the past year, then you know I have a weakness for a good pioneer story. Perhaps it comes from all those years watching Little House on the Prairie. That's why I classify this as a romance. It's not because there is a love story central to the plot; it's because of the romantic notion of people pushing through adversity with physical labor and mental grit. This is definitely Christian fiction, but I don't think non-Christians would find the religious element overwhelming. To me it is about as religious as the movie The Bells of St. Mary's; many of the characters are Christian but there isn't a lot of in-your-face preaching.
For me, this story had its peaks and valleys. In the valley were the repeated descriptions of farm work and what they ate for dinner. The peaks came with the exciting descriptions of people getting lost in blizzards and such. Rather than be disappointed in this style, however, I enjoyed it. If you are the type of reader who dislikes sitting on the edge of her seat from day one, then you will enjoy it, too.
It is a testament to Snelling's writing that I want to continue reading this series even after I accidentally read one of the later books first. Her descriptions of Ingeborg's indignation as she chafes against that era's rules for women ring true without feeling anachronistic. Even though I know what is coming up in the future for Ingeborg and the other characters, Snelling's writing style makes me want to read about how they deal with these events.
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