The Promise of Dawn is the first book in the Under Northern Skies series written by Lauraine Snelling. Lauraine Snelling is my all time favorite Christian historical fiction author. And I think this is one of the best books she has written. The story takes place in 1909 when Einar Strand sends his family in Norway a letter asking for Rune and his family to immigrate to Benson Corner, Minnesota. Einar and Gerd bought property in Minnesota and Einar has been logging the trees. Gerd took care of their animals until she developed a heart condition that now has her bedridden and in need of help. The agreement is that Einar will pay for Rune and his family to travel to Blackduck in exchange of helping them. When the passage is paid off, Rune and his family will receive a piece of land as their own in exchange of helping.
Rune, Signe and their three sons travel to help the Strands but when they get there they find a house that is mouse and rat infested and filthy and with no beds to sleep on. The Strands are very hard people to work for. Einar is only concerned about the trees and demanding help. Gerd is constantly yelling for Signe to help her. Rune and their oldest son are to help with the trees and one day the young boy is injured. Then the middle son has to help with the trees. Signe finds herself having to go against Einar to protect her children. When Rune starts to stand up to Einar, Einar contacts the sheriff to lock them up and deport them. Signe has kept records of how much the family has worked for the Strands and has received the cost of their passage to show that they have worked more than enough to repay the Strands. The sheriff finds the Strands guilty of de facto slavery.
This story is awesome! Even though parts of the story are hard to understand, such as Rune not standing up for his family, that was a different time and Rune was appreciative of being given the chance to start a new life in America. And Signe showed so much patience to Gerd with caring for her. With Signe’s insistence, Gerd is able to get out of bed. I like the change that slowly takes place in Gerd as she is able to do more things on her own. I also liked how the neighbors came to help Signe in her time of need, even though Einar has run them all off before. I can understand how Signe would start to lose her trust in God with the situation they are in. But I so appreciate Rune being the type of husband that would be gentle with her and help her to see that God is with them.
This is a great book. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. I think anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this story. With the research the author has done as well as having lived in Northern Minnesota as a child, this story is very true to the time.
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing. This is my honest review.
Series: Under Norther Skies (Book 1)
Publisher: Bethany House
To learn more about the author and books she has written go to: http://www.laurainesnelling.com/
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