It is the 1870’s and thirty year old Susannah has never married, never been courted or even had a man interested in her. On top of that she is shy and never had close friendships with girls. Her parents suddenly both die and she is left alone. Her pastor suggests she become a mail order bride to his brother in the wild frontier of the Dakota Territory.
This is quite a culture shock from having lived all her life in a large city in Michigan. Adding to her discomfort, Susannah was not only a loner as far as friendships went, but she was an only child raised by cold unaffectionate parents. She had been attacked and almost raped before leaving Michigan. All this leaves her ill prepared for an isolated life with a friendly, outgoing, loving, faith filled man like her new husband, Jesse.
Her past leaves her feeling distrustful, unlovable and never able to measure up to what she thinks are Jesse’s expectations. Her hardships have caused her turn her back on God and doubt His love too. Even though the young couple faces unbelievable adversities and pain, Jesse’s love, patience and faith in God help Susannah heal from her past and become the woman she truly was.
I especially liked this book, not only for its great story line, but also how much historical information I gleaned on mail order brides, and life in sod houses settlers built on the prairies.
I have always tried to imagine what it must have been like for those brides to travel across the country to marry someone they had never met and face unbelievable hardships. Through Susannah I was able to experience the fear, doubts, discomfort and awkwardness. Many brides came from large cities like hers where they had life’s luxuries, only to move and live in very primitive conditions. These were extremely trying conditions for any newlyweds.
I found it very interesting how they lived and functioned in a small soddy, with just the bare necessities. I could almost feel the darkness and dampness not to mention claustrophobia as she first saw her new home.
Ms. Richards does a wonderful job of conveying not only the emotions but physical experiences of the characters. I saw such insight into the heart and mind of someone who has been raised in a dysfunctional family and how it affects their interaction with others. It was wonderful to see what Susannah was thinking and where she was coming from, plus how others perceived her actions. It made me think of how misunderstood some people are.
The only thing I did not like about the book was many references to their intimate relationship in the bedroom. There was also a very explicit part where a doctor discussed birth control with Jesse. I was a surprised to see this in a Christian novel. Otherwise, the book was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so I read all 343 pages in just 2 days! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.”