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Until We Reach Home
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Archived Group Reads 2013 > Until We Reach Home: June Fiction Group Read

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message 1: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2498 comments Mod
Started this one today :)


Helen I'm in. I love Lynn Austin. She's one of my favorite authors.


Loretta (lorettalivingstone) | 5 comments Just downloaded this. I look forward to reading it shortly.


message 4: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2498 comments Mod
Easy question to start out with -

What books of Lynn Austin's have you read & which is you favorite if you have one?


Rachel Brand I have this one from the library and I'm looking forward to starting it!

I've only read two of Lynn's books, Wonderland Creek and A Proper Pursuit, and I loved both of them! If I had to choose, I'd probably say that I liked the second one slightly more, but only a smidgen. They were both fantastic :)


message 6: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2498 comments Mod
I have read both of those too, Rachel! I loved them :)

I didn't care for Though Waters Roar as much, but I know that a lot of people did like that one.

I have a few more of hers to read, so I'm excited to continue making my way through her books.


Becky | 2 comments I read my first Lynn Austin book "A Woman's Place" about 5 months ago & between audible, Kindle & hands on books I've collected 14 & read 6 of her books! Oh my, I think I'm officially a groupie...Lol! For a person who always said I didn't like historical fiction Lynn has proven me otherwise. Looking forward to this read!


Diamond Jones-Cox (mzaware28) | 65 comments Just got this book today, can't wait to start reading tomorrow...


Virginia | 1 comments I have read almost all of Lynn Austin's books and I loved them all!! She's very good author. A friend told me about Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin and I've loved it ever since. It's a very touching story.


Rachel Brand I finally got around to starting this book last night. I've only read the first chapter, but it's definitely grabbed my attention. I think I'm going to be squeezing chapters of this in between my various review books this month!


Loretta (lorettalivingstone) | 5 comments I've put it on my Kindle app, but in the middle of another one atm. Will get to it in a while. That will teach me to start buying more books before I've read the ones I've got! I can see Goodreads is going to fill up my app pretty quickly. Makes it a whole lot easier to find good books to read though.


message 12: by N.M. (new) - rated it 3 stars

N.M. (nmsotzek) | 15 comments This is my first book by her that I've read. I found quite a few mistakes in it, and my copy from the library even had pencil it in from where someone corrected things. It was simple writing, and the story was simple, but I thought it was nice. It was good to see an immigration story of all females, and set before the wars. It was nothing spectatular, and I found the faith in it very simple as well. I suppose that's not a bad thing. It was based on the Bible, as it should be. They didn't quote their mother, but spoke of how their mother quoted the Bible.


Jeannie (mcjean) | 2 comments Checked it out of the library. I hope to start it soon. I have never read Lynn Austin yet and hope I will enjoy this. Looking forward to reading as a group.


message 14: by Beth (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth This is the first book I have read by her. I enjoyed the book, I found to be an easy, quick read.


message 15: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 5114 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "I have this one from the library and I'm looking forward to starting it!

I've only read two of Lynn's books, Wonderland Creek and A Proper Pursuit, and I loved both of them! If I had to choose, I'..."


I read both of those and loved them too! I just got a notice that my hold is in on this one so I will pick it up hopefully tomorrow.


Rachel Brand Okay, I finally got past the first chapter of this book. I wanted to get a review book under my belt before tackling this book as my library paperback looked pretty big...but then I sat down to read some of Until We Reach Home at 9:30 last night and ploughed through about 200 pages before finally turning the light off two hours later ;) It's definitely a quick, engrossing read!

Loraine, looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


message 17: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna | 19 comments Enjoying the story so far. My grandmother passed through Ellis Island upon her entering this country. I find the immigration storyline fascinating.


message 18: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited Jun 16, 2013 08:43AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2498 comments Mod
Since we're in the middle of the month, I thought I would go ahead and post some discussion questions! Feel free to answer and discuss any or all of the questions.

First some easier questions--

1. Who was your favorite character? Why?

2. Who was your least favorite character? Why?

3. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

4. What was your least favorite part of the story? Why?

5. What character surprised you the most & why?

Here are some more in-depth ones that I pulled from the Baker Publishing website:

1. The relationship between sisters can be very close, yet siblings often view the same experiences from their childhood in a completely different manner. How did Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia each view leaving their homeland? The ocean voyage? The events in Chicago? How did each sister react to the deaths of their parents?

2. What word would you use to describe each sister's personality? What attribute was most memorable? What were each one's strengths and weaknesses?

3. Which sister changed the most over the course of the novel? What specific events brought about that change? Was there a turning point for each sister?

4. On the night before landing in America, the passengers talked about their hopes and dreams for their new life. "As each person shared his own tiny sketch of the country, the finished picture resembled paradise" (page 99). What was each sister hoping for? Were her hopes realized?

5. What do you think seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time meant to the sisters—and to the boatloads of immigrants who made the journey to America? Compare the experience of an immigrant in the late 19th century to immigrants today. What has changed? Remained the same?

6. In what way was the ordeal on Ellis Island traumatic for each sister? In what way was the experience beneficial to each one? If you had immigrant ancestors, did the story help you to visualize the hardships and challenges they might have experienced?

7. What secrets did each sister keep from the others? What kept each one from confessing? How might the story have changed if they had shared the truth with each other?

8. How would you describe each sister's spiritual journey? What was her faith and her view of God like in the beginning? In the end? What caused the sisters' faith to grow? How might hardships and challenges draw us closer to God and to our loved ones?

9. Mrs. Anderson, the Fairy Queen, played an important role in the sisters' lives. What did they learn from her? What did she learn from them? What did you think
of the legacy she left them? Why do you think she chose not to give them money?

10. Describe the steps each sister secretly took to "save" herself and her sisters? Why do you think they took those steps in secret? How might the story have
changed if they had consulted each other first?

11. Kirsten complained that lugging their trunk from place to place was like carrying around a dead troll. What did the trunk mean to each of them? Where do you think it ended up?


Loretta (lorettalivingstone) | 5 comments Beth wrote: "Since we're in the middle of the month, I thought I would go ahead and post some discussion questions! Feel free to answer and discuss any or all of the questions.

First some easier questions--

1..."

I've only just started on this, reached page 57, so I'll wait a little longer before commenting. I can see I'm going to enjoy it though.


message 20: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Beth | 2498 comments Mod
Of course, Loretta! Take your time :) Just posted it for folks that are finish or to answer when they get done.


Shawna | 3 comments I can relate to parts of all three of the girls - so to choose a favorite is much too difficult. The opening chapter wasn't explicit in describing the situation of Elin, but it made me sick to my stomach nonetheless. My heart ached for her. And I could relate to Kirsten in a very real way having gone through a very similar situation myself. Although I empathized with Sophia's shyness as well.
I admired the courage and strength the author gave the girls because it was real. They weren't sure about it, but they knew they had to do something. They were scared, and it was a very difficult struggle, but they relied on each each other even though it was begrudgingly at times.
I am glad they found Mrs. Anderson after they arrived in America. I think she helped to open their eyes to how to comfort and support one another even through their own struggles.
I still have a couple chapters left to read and can't wait to see how it ends, but I had so many thoughts going around in my head I thought I would share them before I lost them. :)


message 22: by Loraine, CFD Momma (last edited Jun 19, 2013 07:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 5114 comments Mod
I just finished this book last night and really liked it. As a genealogist I found her descriptions of emigration and the Ellis Island experience well researched.

I agree with Shawna. I liked each of the sisters in a different way. As their journey progressed, each sister changed, grew and matured (mentally and spiritually). Their problems defined them in a wide variety of ways. Mrs. Anderson played the role of "fairy godmother" and helped each of them turn what was a weakness into a strength. I definitely can see possibilities for additional books continuing the story of each of the sisters. I certainly would love to know what happened to each of them as they continued their journey with the new situations in which each had been placed.


Loretta (lorettalivingstone) | 5 comments Loraine wrote: "I just finished this book last night and really liked it. As a genealogist I found her descriptions of emigration and the Ellis Island experience well researched.

I agree with Shawna. I liked ..."


Yes, I'd like to see a follow up. If I've enjoyed a book I feel as if the characters have become friends. It's always sad to reach the last page. I reallly enjoyed this. I don't usually analyse what I liked about the characters, so I'll just say that I would buy a sequel. I probably wouldn't have found this if I hadn't been on here, so I'm pleased I joined the group.


message 24: by Anna (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna | 19 comments I also finished the book wanting to know what the future held for each of the sisters. So hope there is a sequel. I saw a piece of myself in each of the girls. In Elin I saw the mother hen in myself, the explorer in Kirsten and the moments in which I fear the future in Sofia. So great to see the girls grow and become independent and resourceful.


message 25: by Kati (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kati (katig) | 1 comments I actually listened to this one earlier this month. I liked it although there were times I felt it dragged a little, although that might have just been the way the narrator was reading. I got very frustrated with Elin and wished she would stop trying to fix everything and stop always trying to be in charge.

My favorite character was probably Ludwig, just for the fact that he was ingenious enough to come up with a way to communicate with Sophia, but Mrs. Anderson would probably be up there as well ... she came across as gruff, but there was a soft side under all that.

I don't know as I had a least favorite character. -- Well maybe Mrs. Anderson's daughter-in-law and Aunt Hilma.

Favorite part of the story? probably when Ludwig found Sophia in the theater.

Least favorite part? ??

Sophia -- she really grew up over the course of this story.

All in all a very good book. I think it's probably my second favorite of the books by Austin that I've read. "A Woman's Place" is still my favorite of hers.


Rachel Brand Although I didn't enjoy this book as much as the other two novels I've read by this author, it was a fascinating and engrossing read. I'd heard some horror stories about immigration and Ellis Island, but in this book I really felt like I was travelling alongside the girls and experiencing it with them. Lynn Austin definitely has a knack for making a time period and location come alive.

I think my favourite character was probably Sofia. She grew the most over the course of the story and learned not to let her fears hold her back. I think she was the strongest character, as her sisters felt like they were really defined by their pasts. Other than overcoming the secrets in their past, they didn't grow as much as Sofia over the course of the story. But I suppose it's difficult to realistically flesh out so many main characters in one book.

Personally, I felt quite happy with the way the book ended. Everything wasn't tied up neatly, but it was an optimistic ending, so I don't know if I need to read more about the girls!


Jeannie (mcjean) | 2 comments Just finished this last night. I agree with Rachel. Sofia was my favorite character for the very same reasons. She did seem to grow more than the other sisters. I also liked Mrs. Anderson. I suspected from the first that she was hiding a tender heart under her gruff exterior and it was fun to see that part of her personality come out. Although I would probably read a sequel, if one was published, I don't really feel that one is needed, either.

This is the first of Ms Austin's books that I have read so I don't have anything to compare it with, but I did enjoy it and look forward to reading some of her other publications.


Rachel | 767 comments 6/28/13
This was a well-written and engaging historical novel. The characters were well drawn, and I enjoyed seeing them overcome obstacles and mature both as persons and as believers.


Chris | 380 comments I enjoyed this read and was pleased by the writing. The writer had me engaged from the beginning and I couldn't wait to see how the book ended. Hope that there is a follow up book to it.


Rachel | 767 comments 1. Who was your favorite character? Why?
My favorite character was Kirsten. I have some characteristics in common with her, but she also has some characteristics that I wish I had.

2. Who was your least favorite character? Why?
Well, I had several least favorites. Uncle Sven was most reprehensible because of what he did to Elin and how he stole their farm, but he didn’t appear much in the story, and I was glad of that. Another character I really disliked was that woman Bettina Anderson…uggh. Another one I couldn’t stand was Aunt Hirma (sp?).

3. What was your favorite part of the story? Why?
I really loved how Sophia and Ludwig meet again in the theater. It was a beautiful answer to prayer because Sophia grew so much in learning to trust God and to not fear.

4. What was your least favorite part of the story? Why?
I couldn’t believe it when that man, Carl Mugundsen or whatever, wrote to Kirsten calling her a liar and a harlot. What a judgmental man.

5. What character surprised you the most & why?
Definitely Gustav Anderson. I was surprised that he decided to follow his mother’s wishes about providing for the girls.

Here are some more in-depth ones that I pulled from the Baker Publishing website:

1. The relationship between sisters can be very close, yet siblings often view the same experiences from their childhood in a completely different manner. How did Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia each view leaving their homeland? The ocean voyage? The events in Chicago? How did each sister react to the deaths of their parents?
Elin was glad to leave Sweden and saw the voyage as a means to get to safety. She was willing to do whatever it took to get herself and her sisters away from Uncle Sven She had certain expectations that were completely overturned by the events in Chicago and by how her sisters were growing up to not need her.
Kirsten was fleeing the embarrassment of a broken heart and poor moral decisions. She saw the voyage itself as an adventure.
Sophia didn’t want to leave home, but she was the one who truly grew during the journey and its aftermath. She learned to not be as fearful and to trust in God.

2. What word would you use to describe each sister's personality? What attribute was most memorable? What were each one's strengths and weaknesses?
Elin is practical but suspicious of people. She feels guilty and tarnished. She feels responsible for her sisters and doesn’t know how to live her own life.
Kirsten is impulsive and adventurous. She does despair for a time, but she builds a family and a home for herself. She allows herself to feel love again and encourages her husband to heal and love as well.
Sophia is extremely fearful at first, but through her trust and love of Ludwig, she learns to trust and love God and to live and enjoy her life without fear.

3. Which sister changed the most over the course of the novel? What specific events brought about that change? Was there a turning point for each sister?
Sophia changes the most. Being left alone on Ellis Island forced her to deal with her fear and to learn to trust a friend and to make decisions for herself.
There was a turning point for each sister, however. Kirsten turns around when she is rescued from her suicide attempt. Elin’s turning point was more gradual, but her learning to care for Mrs. Anderson and her decision to correspond with Gunnar helped greatly in her ability to live happily and trust others.


message 31: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Loraine (librarydiva) | 5114 comments Mod
I agree with Rachel about my favorite part of the story. I loved how Ludwig showed up at the theater at the end of the book. Every young girl's dream of her Prince Charming arriving at the exactly right moment.


Diamond Jones-Cox (mzaware28) | 65 comments Just finished reading the book and I loved it. I must admit when Sophia finish singing and Ludwig called her name, it brought happy tears to my eyes......
My favorite character was Kristen because even though she made a mistake with Tor, she still focused on her sisters and wanted to do right. I didn't have a least favorite character. My favorite part of the story was reading how much Sophia matured throughout their journey. She also surprised me the most, I really thought she would have a nervous break down when she was separated from her sisters. I thought she would cry like a baby every night. But, she matured and found GOD again through meeting Ludwig and reading her bible.


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