Monday, October 27, 2014

Review - "To Everything a Season" by Lauraine Snelling

Cover Art
To Everything a Season
by Lauraine Snelling
Song of Blessing series, Book #1
Published by Bethany House Publishers
352 Pages
Target Audience: Adults
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Christian Romance
About this book:
"Beloved Author Lauraine Snelling Returns Again to Her Popular Red River Valley Setting.

Trygve Knutson is devoted to his family and his community. With his job on the construction crew, he is helping to build a future for the North Dakota town of Blessing. Though he loves his home, he sometimes dreams of other horizons--especially since meeting Miriam Hastings.

Miriam is in Blessing to get practical training to become an accredited nurse. She's been promised a position in the Chicago women's hospital that will enable her to support her siblings and her ailing mother. Although eager to return to her family, Miriam is surprised to find how much she enjoys the small town of Blessing. And her growing attachment to Trygve soon has her questioning a future she always considered set in stone.

When a family emergency calls Miriam home sooner than planned, will she find a way to return? If not, will it mean losing Trygve--and her chance at love--for good?"
Longtime readers and fans of Lauraine Snelling’s books may enjoy this book, but as a first time reader of Ms. Snelling’s books, I was disappointed. This book did not read like a first book in a new series. The characters living in the town of Blessing are never really introduced; it seems your just supposed to already know who all the characters are and how they’re all related. And there are so many characters! I had a hard time keeping track of who all the characters were and how they were all related to each other and I had to keep going back to previous chapters to remind myself who they were. By the end of the book I still couldn’t remember who all the characters were. I realize this a new spin-off series based off of some of Ms. Snelling’s previous series and that it would be better to read the previous series before reading this one, but since this is the first book in a new series I thought it would be easy enough for a new reader to follow and would have enough back story or information about the characters to be able to understand without having to read the previous series. To me, it seems like this book would have been better if published as a continuation of another series instead of a brand new one.

The story was a slow paced one and didn’t really reflect the summary on the back of the book. Miriam isn’t even introduced in the story until nearly halfway into the book which I found to be odd since she is supposed to be a main character. The story focuses more around a bank robbery and the everyday lives of some of the characters than it did around a relationship between Miriam and Trygve. The family emergency mentioned in the summary that calls Miriam home didn’t even happen until the end of the book, so the questions asked in the summary are never answered in this book and the book ends with a cliffhanger type of ending. The summary just seems misleading.

I also don’t agree with Ms. Snelling’s beliefs that it doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or are a follower of the Catholic faith; that ultimately you’re a saved Christian if you're either one. I don’t agree with this. Christianity and the Catholic faith are not the same thing and Christians and Catholics believe in different things.

I did like that the book was centered around a Norwegian family as I haven’t really read books where Norwegians are the main characters. That made it more interesting. And I liked the close-knit relationship the family had. It was also interesting to have part of the story revolve around the work of female doctors. But overall this book just wasn’t for me and I doubt I’ll be reading the next one in the series.

*I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

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