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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Promise of Dawn

America. The great melting pot. So many have left their countries to search for a better life on this beautiful country we call home. In The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling, Gunlaug's eldest son, Rune and his wife Signe, and their three sons are brought from Norway at the behest of relatives Einar and Gerd Strand. They have offered to pay their passage to come work in Minnesota, with the understanding that over time those funds would be paid back. Gerd and Einar had never been blessed with sons and they need help in the new land that they have purchased from a homesteader that is covered with huge pine trees that they log and send to the mills in Minneapolis. The money had from those trees has made it possible to build a home large enough to house a family. They farm the land they have cleared, but need help. Gerd is not well and they desperately need the family to come and help.

Living near a small town called Benson's Corner, and the nearest town being Blackduck, Minnesota, there is a school for the younger ones in the winter. Once the trees are felled and shipped on the local railroad spur to the northern mills, we will clear the stumps and plant crops. With only one cow now, the family hopes to increase the number to have a dairy herd once the land is cleared. This is indeed the land of opportunity. So Rune and Signe Carlson along with their three sons leave Norway and head to America. Signe hopes that the baby she is carrying will live after so many miscarriages. When the family arrives at the Strand home, they are immediately surprised by what needs to be done. It seems that their need for help is drastically understated, and Gerd is completely bed-ridden due to a heart issue. The house is barely what you would call livable and is infested with rats. This will completely test the stamina of the Carlson family as Einar puts them all to work immediately treating them more like slaves than family. The younger boys help Signe try and get the house in order along with helping to care for Gerd who is a bitter older woman who screams to get anyone to help her use the chamber pot and demands food whenever she wants it.

For Rune and his oldest son Bjorn at fifteen take to logging in the woods felling trees that Einar hopes to sell to support his family. His unrealistic goals soon render an accident during a thunder storm that render Bjorn with a broken arm and not being able to hear. When the family tries to keep Bjorn at home, Einar insists that one of the other boys step up and bear the weight of Bjorn's absence in the woods. If they refuse, Einar threatens to deport them all back to Norway unless they serve the time that they have agreed to work to pay for their passage to America. It will take the patience of a saint to work with these two who call themselves family.

I received The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snelling compliments of Baker Publishing Group and Net Galley. In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, you should assume that every book reviewed here at Reviews From The Heart was provided to the reviewer by the publisher, media group or the author for free and were received, unless specified otherwise.  This is a great historical novel that really conveys the hardships that faced many families who came to America in search of a new life. Many of their skills no longer suited them and they had to acclimate and learn new ones if they hoped to have a home of their own. It would take working together in order for any of them to make it during any time of the year. Each season had its own challenges and it seems like Gerd and Einar have found themselves slaves that will do as they are told without argument. I found myself exhausted at all the work Signe had to do along with caring for Gerd while being pregnant. Life on the frontier was hard work and this clearly comes across in this first novel of the Under Northern Skies series. Can't wait for more and for that reason, I give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about The Promise of Dawn, Lauraine Snelling or where you can pre-order a copy of this book due in August of 2017, please click on the links below:

You can find Lauraine Snelling on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on The Promise of Dawn, please visit Baker Publishing Group's website. 

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