Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond – My Review

Thomas Nelson (Jun 14, 2011)
Richmond has presented readers with a historical saga reminiscent of Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie with a more mature tone to it. Before I find you all knocking down my email with protests, mature, is used in this case to indicate a book that adults will enjoy for its depth and nuance. Thomas Nelson has not abandoned their faith-based, family friendly content however due to the situations and characters in this book it will likely not appeal to readers younger than high school due to a lack of content they would find interesting.

In many ways Richmond pens a typical historical romance yet has brought so much more to the table. Susannah’s life is turned topsy turvy as she is sent to become the bride of a homesteader in Dakota territory. Jesse, just happens to be her pastor’s brother but the resemblance ends there. Having been raised in what was then “the states” basically the eastern seaboard original colonies along with a few straggling territories that already established their statehood, women were expected to behave in a particular manner. Jesse however expects a much different role from his mail-order spouse. Having lived in the wilderness mostly alone except for a few creatures that populate his small claim and aid with the daily chores of life on the frontier he is desperate for a companion who will share thoughts, needs, and opinions even when they conflict with his. A best friend with whom he can have a lively and reciprocal relationship. After losing her parents Susannah was taken in by Jesse’s brother and sister-in-law, the latter being her closest friend. Though her father may have been unconventional in the sense of welcoming her assistance with his veterinary practice and instructing her along the way, her experience and education were otherwise quite the norm for civilized young women of the day. Breaking the societal constraints she has been indoctrinated by her entire life comes with a hesitancy Jesse struggles to understand. Though she would rather be anywhere else at first, she eventually discovers her own mind and flees the coop that accompanied her so many miles across the prairie along with her belongings. When Jesse finds that he must depart in an attempt to support his family and home, they both begin to realize their attachment to one another. In his absence, Susannah also develops her sense of self more fully and acquires the boldness and conviction Jesse could sense dammed up within her from their first encounter. During their many months apart a profusion of other transformations ensue both within and around the pair precipitated both as a result and in spite of their enforced breach. Rather than rending them further from the other this time of trial strengthens not only their bond with one another but their personal faith as well. (ISBN#9781595549242, 352pp, $15.99)

Codicil:
Visit Catherine’s website. Click the cover for more info and to purchase a copy. Read an excerpt. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity Group for a review copy.

2 comments

  1. Melissa, Thank you so much for your terrific review! I’m running around the house yelling “She gets it! She understands!” Quite an honor from someone who reads as much as you do! Blessings!

  2. You’re welcome Cathy. As for the reading that is something I’ve always done. I still love Little House but I think it will always be on a much different level than many of the books I’ve enjoyed as I’ve gotten older. It is entertaining but has little in the way of what I refer to as “meat”. Some dessert now and again isn’t a bad thing but once you really discover great writing that speaks to you as a reader, entertains, and has the “meat” to top it all off going back to Little House is no longer as appealing. As you could probably tell I felt this fell into the latter category rather than “going back to Little House”. I think this will appeal to all those grown-ups who fondly remember Little House from their childhoods yet go so much farther than just sparking those childhood reminiscences and bring them some reading material they will find more engaging to their grown-up tastes and minds. Regardless of the appeal to grown-ups this book also maintains the “family friendly” content standards that make books like Little House from my younger years still hold a draw for me. It seems that books written at an adult level of consciousness without the other kind of “mature” content that I would much rather not ingest – thank you very much mainstream romance books – and which takes away from the true plot and flow of a story are rare if not nearly extinct outside the inspirational fiction community. Even that limited market contains books that make the grade and those that don’t where the depth and complexity of a story play a huge part for me. Yet again I reiterate both you, Cathy, as an author and TN as your publisher deserve kudos for a job well done in this respect with Spring for Susannah.

    And thank you as the author for your compliment on my review. I simply share my thoughts. It is always a pleasure to hear an author say I’ve “gotten it” in respect to their book. I don’t think in general I’ve had many authors indicate I missed the boat entirely where my thoughts on a book of theirs were concerned but I’ve sometimes made comments generally an extremely subjective remark about content I felt detracted from a story in one way or another or focused on something they may not have considered a main theme of the book. To have an author raving about my getting it however makes my day as a reader and reviewer since I have rarely had the author so enthusiastic about what I say regarding their book. It’s also nice to know I’m not just living in a dream world where the concept of a story is concerned once in a while since I do have a tendency to get caught up in books and likely wander off on my own tangents in an author’s opinion when I write about the book. Thanks again for stopping by and your glowing response to my review. I look forward to whatever you might have to offer readers with your next book to be published.

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