My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've been excited about this one ever since last fall when I learned it was on the way, so I was happy when my turn came up on the holds list. I really enjoyed this book, though I almost gave up on it. The book got off to a very slow start for me, and I really didn’t like either sister, at least at the beginning of the story. Both were self-centered which led to bad, and even unforgivable choices. I also didn’t like ‘Mother Pedersen’. She was embittered about being dragged out to the prairie and took it out on a child! And the child’s mother was even worse! That said, I did feel that as the story picked up, it was hard to put down, and many of the characters redeemed themselves. I knew that there would be a lot of death in this story, and while it made me sad when some of the characters I liked did not survive the storm, I was prepared for it. It is hard to imagine being lost just yards from your home, but this book really let me feel what that was like—how cold it felt, how hopeless it seemed. This book did what good historical fiction must do for me—it caused me to read more! One character was a reported for the Omaha Daily Bee, so when I got done with the book, I spent a couple of hours perusing stories from the Omaha Daily Bee from January 1888. (You can find this online as NewspaperArchive.com, which may be available through your local library’s website).
Overall, I was satisfied with the end. I would have liked a little more detail about the lives of those who survived the storm, though. We know vaguely where the reporter went, and some general ideas about Raina and her parents, and even Gerda. But I wanted more! And I had questions, particularly about the Pedersen family! This would make for a great book club discussion! There are discussion questions on the author’s website.
My rating: ✭✭✭✭