This new series, Under Northern Skies, takes the Carlson family to a new area to log, and develop hope for their families future. When Rune receives a letter from his Uncle Einar, and Aunt Gerd he decides to take his pregnant wife Signe and their three sons to the new country. They agree to work in exchange for passage to America.
Signe is heart broken and her own mother refuses to speak with her, but she obeys her husband and leaves her family behind on a terrible journey across the sea.
The voyage itself is horrible, they are locked in steerage in the bowels of the ship, and rarely let out for fresh air, the food is horrible, and the stink terrible. They become victims of the more wealthy ship passengers. They enter into Ellis Island, and are subjected to examination, weariness, and fatigue. Rune seems to withdraw from Signe, and she grows even more weary, and afraid.
The horrendous journey could not prepare them for the house they arrived at in Minnesota though. If is full of mice, dirt, stink, and malice. The Uncle and Aunt are mean, spiteful slave drivers who want nothing more than to work the entire family to death. The family journey has brought them to enslavement and despair. The hope
with which they began their journey, has been wiped out under their captors harsh treatment. Where is God in the midst of their struggles? Signe has resigned her former belief to childhood lies of unbelief, and Rune refuses to help her in his own attempt to just get from one day unto the next. When their son Bjorn is seriously injured, she wonders if any of them will survive and will a new dawn ever come and find them there in the woods.
This book was a very difficult one to read for me. I believe it reflects a struggle of belief darkened by works of darkness. Much of it is distasteful, there is not a lot of the struggle of the characters that draws a reader to cheer them on. It was a bit of a struggle just to keep turning the pages. Just like real life we have all experienced in so much media and the world the last several years, this book seems to drown you in misery. The bright light of hope is very dim here, but it does exist. The characters begin to build upon it, but it is so slow in coming.
I believe when you open a book you come to it expecting something based on the cover, the title, and the author. This book, while it is very compelling is just plain hard to get through. The uncle is especially difficult to engage and the type that you love to hate. It did not take long with him at all to get to that point. If you enjoy seeing good triumph over evil in a long drawn out story, this book will certainly give you that type of read. It flows slowly like a muddy creek, but eventually you will get to a clear pond. There is a clearing at the end.
But if you come looking for something simple to encourage you in your reading time, this book is not perhaps one for that. I believe that readers seek out different things in inspirational books, for me personally, when I read for entertainment I do not want a deluge of cruelty, and bad mental pictures. The uncle and aunts bedroom would be a hard one to disassociate out of your mind after getting the image of it, and there are many others like it scattered throughout the chapters. This book takes you through a lot of darkness to get to dawns light. It is not one I will keep and read again.
My own opinion is expressed here. I did receive this book to review from Bethany House. I received no other compensation.