Laurie Carlson's Reviews > Spring for Susannah

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond
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“Spring for Susannah” by Catharine Richmond - A Romantic Historical Fiction Book
This book was a delightful book to read. Susannah was a ‘mail order’ bride from Detroit. After she lost both her parents, and had no family left in Detroit, she did decide to take up her Pastor's offer of marrying his brother, Jesse, who lives in the Dakota Territory. She went on her way on a train all the way to the Dakota Territory to meet her new husband, Jesse, whom she had never even met before. She was already married to him, as his brother was a minister back in Detroit, and he filled out all the paperwork that needed to be done, and she even had her marriage certificate. Jesse’s brother did this because there were no ministers out in the Dakota area for miles and miles. He had felt it would be easier this way.
When she first arrived, she was so surprised to find the city had nothing, absolutely nothing in it. Susannah was used to the tall buildings from Detroit, and here, in the Dakota Territory, there was nothing. All she saw was tall, long prairie grass. She was very uncertain at this point if she really wanted to stay or not. She was running through her mind her chances of hopping back on that train and going back home to Detroit. No one was there waiting for her. Did her new husband care that she traveled all this way? Time was ticking and she was almost ready to hop back on the train when she heard her name called. There he was. This was the man she was married to. This is Jesse. She had had no photo of him, knew barely anything about him, and did not know what to expect from him, except from what she was told about him from back home.
Susannah was a very brave woman to do this.
She hopped up into the carriage with this stranger and was off to his house, oh, her house as well. When they arrived she did not see a house. She was wondering where it was? The house turned out to be a ‘soddy’ house. (In case you don’t know what a ‘soddy’ is, it is a house built out of dirt and sod. Trees in that area were very scarce, so lumber was at a premium. Jesse used the earth to build their house instead of lumber. This was very common of the times.)
Then Susannah learned that not only was the house made of dirt and sod, but the floor was dirt as well. Hmmmm? Could she really live like this?
Jesse was already to jump into the full routine of marriage, which meant relations, too. Susannah was not. She pushed him off so many times. Over and over again until she was worried this marriage may not work. Really, though, she like it, but would not admit it. Jesse was very patient and kind with Susannah. Jesse did make Susannah have tingly feelings she had never felt before. She did like this from him very much.
I was surprised at the amount of work there was to do back then. You were reliant on the land for everything. From your sustenance to your animal’s sustenance, you were responsible. You also had to take into consideration the long, hard, cold winters that hit that area and to be prepared with enough food to get through and longer, just in case.. You were stuck in your house for a long time, as storms came up out of nowhere. Just when you thought winter was over, another storm would come rattling through. Sometimes it felt as if winter would never end. Winter was also a great time of boredom. People were so used to working so hard through the summer that once you were inside the house for the winter it felt like forever.
Once Spring finally came, freedom came with it, too.
Susannah and Jesse had their most difficult time during the second summer they were married because of a grasshopper invasion that ruined all their crops and food they had stored. Jesse went off looking for work. Susannah stayed home, and took on a teaching job to help sustain them. Once thing they did not want to loose was their home, nor each other.
I don’t want to say anymore about the storyline, itself, but this was a very well written, well thought out book. The author has a flow to her writing which kept you wanting to read more. Personally, I learned a lot about Homesteading back then. It was work. The work was not for the weary hearted as you had to be tough to make it through. There were several times Susannah doubted herself and worried Jesse might want to send her back to Detroit. He would never have done that. He loved her so much, his love was incredible. Yet, again, life was tough. You had very few, if any neighbors at all. The neighbors you did have, you held onto for dear life helping each other through thick and thin. This life was not a sugar coated “Little House on the Prairie” let’s be happy episode. This was real life and hard living.
I will admit this is the first ‘mail-order bride’ book I have read, and it really opened my eyes to their ways of life I never would have thought twice about. This lifestyle paved the way to what and how we live now. This book does make me want to read more of these books. I really did enjoy learning so much about their every day life.
This book was so enjoyable, and one I did not want to put down. I really enjoyed the romance that Jesse and Susannah had. It was beautiful. I think you really need that kind of marriage to get through such hard living. In my opinion, if it were me living back then, I would have stuck it out for the romance alone. I would just pray to God I had found a husband who was as romantic as Jesse did turn out to be!
Anyone will enjoy this book, even a first-time mail order bride reader. As I mentioned, this book really opened my eyes up to the hard ways of life back then, yet at the same time, the beauty of what the land can give you, even if it is in the Northern Lights in the sky at night. These were some of the payoffs to this life.
I was provided this book by LitFuse Publicity group for FREE in exchange for a written review of my opinion of the book. NO MONIES WERE EXCHANGED WHATSOEVER.

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Reading Progress

June 4, 2011 – Started Reading
June 4, 2011 – Shelved
June 4, 2011 –
page 224
65.31% "So far a very enjoyable book!"
June 4, 2011 –
page 224
65.31% "Blog Review/Tour starting June 7th. My review is on June 15th!"
June 6, 2011 – Finished Reading
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: mail-order-bride
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: dakota-territory
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: prairie
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: farming
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: miscarriage
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: horses
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: chickens
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: eggs
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: sod-houses
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: wagon
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: newlywed
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: wife
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-romance-fiction
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: baby
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: bible-verses
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: character-female
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: character-male
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: christian-fiction
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: ebook
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: food
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: historical-christian-fiction
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: love
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: patterns
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: pregnant
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: sewing
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: teacher
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: teaching
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: threads
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: yarn
June 7, 2011 – Shelved as: woods

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