by Lauraine Snelling (Goodreads Author)The Long-Awaited Prequel to the RED RIVER OF THE NORTH Series
Twenty-year-old Ingeborg Strand is certain she is destined to be an old maid. She's had several suitors but none she deemed worthy of spending her life with. That is, until she meets a university student from Oslo, and feelings stronger than friendship begin to develop between them. But tragedy strikes, and the future begins to look bleaker than ever.
Grief settles heavily over Ingeborg, and her mother suggests that she leave Norway and start afresh in America, as so many others have done before her. But how will she accomplish that with little money and no one to accompany her?
It isn't long before she meets Roald Bjorklund, a widower who has been planning to go to America for some time, lured by the promise of free land. He's a good man, a hard-working man--and he has a young son who desperately needs a mother. He's clearly interested in Ingeborg, but is he the answer to her prayers? And what about love? This isn't how she's always imagined it.
Ingeborg Strand has a heartrending decision to make...
My Review: 1/10
Full disclosure- I skimmed a lot and didn't finish it.
I realize it's kind of petty to take issue with a book because of something like names, and the author was being authentic to the culture, but she didn't have to choose names like Ingeborg and Gunlaug for the main characters... even Ingeborg's sisters had better names. Lots of heavy G and R sounds which made it hard to chew through.
But I could overlook this if I fell in love with the characters or even found them mildly interesting. But I just didn't understand them. It seemed to me that there were a lot of (immediately) contradicting thoughts and actions from Nils and Ingeborg. One minute she's saying she won't put her brother in the same position she's been put in (matchmaking) and then all of sudden she's forcing them to dance. I had a lot of "what? what just happened?" moments when reading.
Also, several characters (like Nils and Ingeborg) were constantly frustrating me because they dwelled a lot on their problems but were always avoiding confrontation or being passive aggressive. I don't have respect for people or characters who whine about their circumstances and are unwilling to adress the problems head on. Both should have just spoken to their parents and then heard them out. Maybe it was a cultural thing.
The narrative was a little weird and confusing for a while- we'd switch back and forth between mar/Hilde etc. and characters would refer to themselves as if they were speaking about someone else ("did he think her daughter...")
Overall, there was lots of dialogue, but not much being said, lots of actions being described, but nothing really happening.