Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

Booklist says, "Inspired by [folk] lyrics, Richmond arrives on the inspirational fiction scene with a moving debut novel. Readers will be filled with hope that Susannah will learn the true meaning of love. Highly recommended where inspiring, romantic historical fiction is in demand."

About the book:Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.

When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory.

Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.

When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.

She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

My thoughts:
This review is part of the Litfuse Blog Tour for the book which started yesterday.  A link to the other blog stops is listed after my review.

This book is different than any that I have read lately.  When reading I enjoy breaking off in different areas to keep things fresh.  At the beginning of the book I wasn't sure if I liked Susannah or not.  She has agreed to come to the Dakota territory to meet a husband she married by proxy.  While this man is the brother of her pastor, she had never herself met him and has only exchanged a few letters with him.  Her mother had very strict ideas of what a lady does and does not do, so going to live in a sod house with a stranger was a big leap of faith for her.  Her parents have passed away and a banker has been hounding her for money he claims her father owed him.

Jesse ends up doing all the taking in the beginning, owing to the fact that Susannah believes that women should not be spending too much time talking about themselves along with her shyness and reticence about sharing details about her past.  Slowly they get to know each other and pieces of the real Susannah start to peek through.

The beginning of each chapter started with a prayer from Jesse to God, just a short sentence that then set the tone for the chapter that followed.  Susannah had lost her faith in God, feeling that he did not answer her prayers, but Jesse helps her to see that even though God hears us sometimes the answer is still "no" because of reasons unknown beyond our sphere.  Slowly Susannah not only finds herself and allows herself to be herself, but she also comes to have faith in God and to pray for guidance when she is feeling lost.

Something happens that tests them both in a very big way, and how they deal with the challenge they are dealt speaks volumes for their characters.  It made me wonder, how many of us today put our faith in a higher power when things get tough?  How many of us remember to pray or ask for guidance, not just what is is we think we want?  We can't know the plan and when things get tough is it a way for us to change and find a new path or is it a chance for us to show our true character and what we are really made of?  Do we have the faith that Susannah had in herself by the end of the novel and her faith that things are going to work out?
Blog tour schedule:

About Catherine: Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.

For more about Catherine, please visit

Link to buy the book:

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