HISTORICAL NOTE: Provided by Lavyrle Spencer
During the years immediately preceding Minnesota's declaration of statehood, while it was still considered the frontier, few women ventured into her depths, particularly not north of St. Anthony Falls. Frontier life made the women pay too dearly for her place in the North Country. Although newspapers in the East carried tempting descriptions of all the Minnesota Territory had to offer men, along with open invitations to settle there, no such invitation was extended to women. Instead, those newspapers ran articles discouraging women from that rough, untamed land. Thus, most men who came as pioneers to pluck a living out of the wilderness of the Minnesota Territory came, at first, womanless.
And so was necessitated the practice of sending for women, sight unseen. And these were called "mail-order brides."
The characters are portrayed as people of their time. Karl Lindstrom is a twenty-five year-old Swedish settler who achieved his dream and his heart's desire in the land, but who needs Anna to make it complete. In Karl, Spencer creates a wonderful male protagonist who is knowledgeable when it comes to his beloved woods and survival, but clueless when it comes to women.
Anna Reardon is no less of a character. She is a seventeen year-old girl/woman who takes an amazing risk to save herself and her brother from an unthinkable life. She becomes Karl's mail-order bride by answering his ad and telling him a slew of lies. Most of her lies come to light before Karl and Anna marry and even though he forgives her and she swears to never lie again, there's one secret she keeps to herself, one that will have deep repercussions and will threaten their budding relationship.
Spencer completes this story by including James, Anna's brother, a young boy who flourishes in the Minnesota wilds under Karl's tutelage. Lavyrle Spencer uses James and Karl's growing relationship to relate the small details of pioneer life in the Minnesota wilds that set the tone and atmosphere for the story. The richness of those details made this book an absolute treat for me.
NOTE: All images taken from Minnesota archives of early settlers and are from 1854 or thereabouts. The first image is of Saint Anthony Falls, Minnesota. The image of the stove is a depiction of one used by early settlers. All images tie to the story.
Genre: Historical Romance/Americana
Release Date: September 1, 2006/Kindle Edition
Find list of Lavyrle Spencer's books here.
KMont's Year of the Historical Challenge - May Review