In her debut novel, Spring for Susannah, Catherine Richmond does a great job playing with my emotions. When I began this book, I honestly thought this was going to be a butterfly story. You know, the girl is mousy and anti-social who develops into a beautiful, confident woman that only the man she ends up falling in love with can pull out of her. And part of plot is just that, a butterfly story. The story quickly changed into an entirely different story that had me reading the book every chance I could get, and wishing I could read the book on the chances I couldn't get.
Set in the Dakota Territory after the Civil War, Susannah, with no other options, and no place to go, becomes a mail order bride, traveling out to the middle of no where to marry a man she knew only through letters and through the words of his brother, her minister. Jesse, one of the first homesteaders in the Dakota Territory, has a need for a companion, a wife to talk to in a sod house where the closest neighbor is miles away.
I found myself pulling for Susannah and Jesse. It was always two steps forward, one step back with those two. They depended on each other and Jesse's incredible faith in God to get through a brutal winter, a prairie fire, and an infestation. It seemed every time things would start to look up, something would knock them back. These struggles caused both of them to grow in different ways. By the end of the novel, they had both morphed into totally different characters than when they first began. And I found myself hoping there was a book 2 to this novel, so I could see if their dreams did come true.
I read books pretty frequently, normally picking up the next novel as soon as I'm done with the first one. Because of that, it normally takes me two or three chapters before I'm immersed in the lives of the characters. NOT THIS BOOK. Honestly, I was sucked in immediately. The first night I picked it up, it was hours before I put it down, and only because I had to get up early. I was impressed by the real emotions Catherine develops in her characters and how real the struggles were. Most novels, the characters deal with one or two conflicts that results in a pretty quick resolution. In Spring for Susannah, the timing was right, the events seemed logical, and the emotions seemed real.
I thoroughly enjoyed Catherine Richmond's novel and cannot wait to read her next one.
Happy reading, everyone.