Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Review of Spring for Susannah

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"When Susannah goes to Dakota territory as a mail-order bride she finds something she never dreamed she would—true love.

With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Underhill agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister’s homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn’t see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn’t look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father’s veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse’s ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah’s feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can’t believe that Jesse’s praise—or the tenderness and love he shows—could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie."

My Rating: Summer

My Review:

From the moment Susannah Underhill steps off the train into the vast prairie-land of the Dakota territory, the reader embarks on an inspiring journey with Richmond's beloved and fascinating characters. Written with a sweet and open sense of honesty, Spring for Susannah is the story of a timid woman who has to learn to use everything she's been given to survive, and the man who loves her enough to encourage her to grow into the confident woman she can be.

Jesse Mason is a man who longs for companionship. He can't seem to stop talking and singing, giving him an unusual but irresistible charm. His experiences in the Civil War still haunt him, but he's still a man with vision and lots of love to share. His short prayers at the beginning of each chapter are heartfelt, and I love that Richmond offers the readers this endearing and authentic glimpse into his character.

His bride, Susannah, has a shy personality that clashes with Jesse's outgoing ways. Until Susannah finally starts to break free and live wholeheartedly - with a heart that "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Spring for Susannah is a story full of history, romance, and vitality. Alternately harsh and beautiful, this book celebrates God-given perseverance and hope. A lovely and meaningful debut!

*With thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing through the Booksneeze program for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

A Note About Community: In the time and setting of this story, people were scarce. But the characters that did call this part of the Dakota territory home formed a tight community - most especially Jesse, Susannah, and their homesteader neighbors Ivar, Marta, and their baby girl, Sara. I loved our hero and heroine's Norwegian neighbors and how they all had church services together, sharing a message, singing hymns, etc.

Here's a great quote from the book to illustrate the importance of community to the story:

"Last winter I tried to talk Jesse into leaving. Not anymore. I've grown to cherish the freedom, the openness of this land, the wall I plastered, the trees I planted. I can see God using me. Homesteading, building a community with people I care about..." (p. 321)

8 comments:

Bluerose said...

I really liked this book, too! I think the neighbors were my favorite part of the book!

Kav said...

Yep -- I loved it too. And the Norwegian neigbour scenes were some of the best. Of course I wanted to smack Jesse upside the head a few times. :-) But the story really did highlight the importance of community, didn't it? The way such diverse people pulled together because of necessity...hmmmm kind of log bloggers. LOL

Katie McCurdy said...

Beautiful review, Amber! I really enjoyed this story and though the last half of the book was a bit depressing, with the two apart, it had a sweet ending. :-)

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

It's a lovely book! And weren't those neighbors great? :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Hahaha, oh, that Jesse! ;)

It's funny... I just finished the book this past weekend, and I was happy to discover that I could include it in this community week without stretching too far. :) There was a great community among these neighbors!

I like your comparison, too, by the way. ;)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Katie,

Thank you! :) Yes, I know what you mean about the last half of the book - but overall it was so sweet and came together beautifully. I think the hardships made the ending all the sweeter. :)

~Amber

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

great example of community and as historical beginnings of community & communities... i totally LUVED this book. YAY Catherine! for a debut, you did it wonderfully '')

Amber S. said...

Faith Hope Cherrytea,

I so agree! And I loved this book, too! :)

~Amber