Spring for Susannah [NOOK Book]

Overview

Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.


When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of ...

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Spring for Susannah

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Overview

Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.


When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory.


Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her—and his faith in God's perfect plan—slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.


When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.


She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595549846
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/14/2011
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 139,527
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist until a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelists critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.
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Read an Excerpt

FAIRER THAN Morning


By Rosslyn Elliott

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Rosslyn Elliott
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-59554-924-2


Chapter One

Rushville, Ohio 15th July 1823

Proposals of marriage should not cause panic. That much she knew.

Eli knelt before her on the riverbank. His cheekbones paled into marble above his high collar. Behind him, the water rushed in silver eddies, dashed itself against the bank, and spiraled onward out of sight. If only she could melt into the water and tumble away with it down the narrow valley.

She clutched the folds of her satin skirt, as the answer she wanted to give him slid away in her jumbled thoughts.

Afternoon light burnished his blond hair to gold. "Must I beg for you? Then I shall." He smiled. "You know I have a verse for every occasion. 'Is it thy will thy image should keep open, My heavy eyelids to the weary night? Dost thou desire my slumbers should be broken, While shadows like to thee do mock my sight?'"

The silence lengthened. His smile faded.

"No." The single word was all Ann could muster. It sliced the air between them with its awkward sharpness.

He faltered. "You refuse me?"

"I must."

He released her hand, his eyes wide, his lips parted. After a pause, he closed his mouth and swallowed visibly. "But why?" Hurt flowered in his face.

"We're too young." The words sounded tinny and false even to her.

"You've said that youth is no barrier to true love. And I'm nineteen." He rose to his feet, buttoning his cobalt cutaway coat.

"But I'm only fifteen." Again Ann failed to disguise her hollowness.

She had never imagined a proposal so soon, always assuming it years away, at a safe distance. She should never have told him how she loved the story of Romeo and Juliet. Only a week ago she had called young marriage romantic, as she and Eli sat close to one another on that very riverbank, reading the parts of the lovers in low voices.

"There is some other reason." In his mounting indignation, he resembled a blond avenging angel. "What is it? Is it because I did not ask your father first?"

"You should have asked him, but even so, he would not have consented. Father will not permit me to marry until I am eighteen."

"Eighteen? Three years?" His eyes were the blue at the center of a candle flame. "Then you must change his mind. I cannot wait." He slid his hands behind her elbows and pulled her close. His touch aligned all her senses to him like nails cleaving to a magnet. With an effort, she twisted from his grasp and shook her head.

His brow creased and he looked away as if he could not bear the sight of her. "I think it very callous of you to refuse me without the slightest attempt to persuade your father."

"I do not think he will change his mind. He has been very clear."

"Then perhaps you should have been-clearer-yourself." His faint sarcasm stung her, as if a bee had crawled beneath the lace of her bodice.

He dropped his gaze. "You would not give up so easily if you cared. You have deceived me, Ann."

He turned and walked up the riverbank, the white lining flashing from the gore of his coat over his boot tops. Before she could even call out, he topped the ridge and disappeared from view.

She stared blankly after him. She was so certain that the Lord had intended Eli to be her husband. But that once-distant future had arrived too early, and now it lay in ruins.

Numb, she collected the history and rhetoric books that she had dropped on the grass. She must change her father's mind, as Eli had said. If she did not, all was lost.

She clutched the books to her like a shield and began the long walk home.

In front of the farmhouse, her two young sisters crouched in the grass in their flowered frocks. Mabel pointed her chubby little finger at an insect on the ground. Susan brushed back wispy strands of light-brown hair and peered at it.

"Have you seen Father?" Ann asked them.

Their soft faces turned toward her.

"He's in the workshop." Mabel's voice was high and pure and still held a trace of her baby lisp. She turned back to inspect the grass.

"He said he is writing a sermon and please not to disturb him," Susan added with the panache of an eight-year-old giving orders.

Without comment, Ann angled toward the barn, which held the horses and also a workshop for her father's saddle and harness business. Like most circuit riders, he did not earn his living from his ministry, and so he crafted sermons and saddles at the same workbench.

He glanced up when the wooden door slapped against its frame behind her.

"Ann." His clean-shaven face showed the wear of his forty years, though his posture was vigorous and his constitution strong from hours of riding and farm work. "I asked Susan to let you know I was writing." There was no blame in his voice. He had always been gentle with them, and even more so since their mother had passed away.

"She did. But I must speak with you."

"You seem perturbed." He laid down his quill and turned around in his chair. "Will you sit down?"

"No, thank you." She clasped her hands in front of her and pressed them against her wide sash to steady herself as she took a quick breath. "Eli Bowen proposed to me today."

"Without asking my blessing?" A small line appeared between his brows. "And what did you tell him?"

"That I cannot marry until I am eighteen. That you have forbidden it."

"That is true. I have good reason to ask you to wait." He regarded her steadily.

She summoned restraint with effort. "What reason? I am young, I know, but he is nineteen. He can make his way in the world. He wishes to go to medical school."

"I don't doubt that Mr. Bowen is a fine young man." Her father's reply was calm. "But I do not think your mother would have let you marry so young."

"Dora Sumner married last year, and she was only sixteen." She paced across the room, casting her eyes on the floor, on the walls, anywhere but on him. He must not refuse, he must not. He did not understand.

"I am not Dora's father." His voice was flat, unyielding. He turned to his table and gently closed his Bible. When he faced her again, his demeanor softened. "Your mother almost married another man when she was your age. She told me it would have been a terrible match. She was glad she waited until she was eighteen." He looked at her mother's tiny portrait in its oval ivory frame on the table. "She said that by the time she met me, she knew her own mind and wasn't quite as silly."

"I am not silly. I know how I feel. And he is not a terrible match." Her voice grew quieter as her throat tightened.

"I am sorry, Ann. I must do what I think is right." He was sober and sad.

Or what is convenient. For who else would care for my sisters, if not me?

But such thoughts wronged her father, for she had never known him to act from self-interest.

"But how can he wait for me? He is older than I am. He will want to marry before three years are out." She did not try to keep the pleading from her voice, though her face tingled.

He paused, then leaned forward, as steady and quiet as when he comforted a bereaved widow. "Then he does not deserve you."

"No, you are simply mistaken. And cruel."

He stood up and walked to the back of the barn.

Clutching her skirt, she whirled around, pushed through the door, and ran for the house.

She would not give way to tears. She must stay calm. She slowed to a walk so her sisters would not be startled and passed them without a word.

Her bedroom beckoned her down the dark hallway.

She did not throw herself on the bed, as she had so often that first year after the loss of her mother.

Instead, she went to her desk, lifted the top, and fished out her diary. Her skirts sent up a puff of air as she flounced into the seat and began writing feverishly. After some time, the even curves of her handwriting mesmerized her, and her quill slowed. She lifted it from the page of the book and gazed ahead at the dark oaken wall.

What if he does not wait for me?

She must not doubt him so. Eli would regain his good humor and understand. He had told her many times that she was his perfect match, that he would never find another girl so admirable and with such uncommon interest in the life of the mind.

Besides, she had been praying to someday find a husband of like interests and kind heart, and God had provided. Eli loved poetry and appreciated fine art, but he was nonetheless a man's man who liked to ride and hunt. And of course, he was every village girl's dream, with his aristocratic face. No other young man in Rushville could compare.

She doodled on the bottom of the page. First she wrote her own name.

Ann Miller.

Then she wrote his. Then she wrote her name with his.

Ann Bowen.

Ann Bowen.

Ann Bowen.

She smiled, pushed the diary aside, and pillowed her head on her arm to daydream of white bridal gowns and orange blossoms.

Chapter Two

Pennsylvania 18th July 1823

If a young man had to sign away his freedom for five whole years, surely this was the best way to do it. Will pulled the heavy window cloth aside and leaned forward to look out the carriage window.

"Not yet, boy," Master Good said.

What a kind voice Will's future master had. It was smooth as oiled leather, befitting a man with a calm brow and a steady gaze. Master Good's hair was uncommonly dark for a man of middle age, his light blue eyes ageless under the rim of his fine black hat. He lifted his hand with fluid grace to gesture at the window. "See that hill?"

"Yes, sir." The carriage drove alongside a huge mound that obscured their view. All Will could see was a tapestry of grass rolling past the window at a rapid rate. The foot-tall growth on the hillside was mostly green, but here and there threads of dry straw whispered of colder days to come.

"The city won't come into view until we round the hill." Master Good lifted his leather satchel into his lap. Unbuckling the clasp, he drew out several pieces of ivory parchment and thrust them in Will's direction. "Look, boy."

Will let the cloth fall back over the window and wiped his hand on his pants before taking the papers.

His master leaned back against the leather seat. "We'll be stopping soon to sign this and have it witnessed by my neighbor. Best to read through it now so we can be quick."

Will was grateful his father had taught him to read so well. Father would be proud now, if he could see how Will had secured such a good future for himself.

The threat of tears prickled in his eyes. He fought them off. It had been six years since he lost his parents. The boy of ten who wept every night that year was now almost a young man. He would behave like one, especially in front of his soon-to-be master.

Holding the documents in one hand, Will pressed his thin knapsack with the other and reassured himself that his folded packet of letters was still in there. Those letters and the little silver locket were all he had left of his mother and father.

He stared at the papers Master Good had given him. The letters stood out in thick flourishes, stark and black against the purity of the paper.

County of Allegheny To wit Mr. Jacob Good Came this Day in the presence of witness, to receive William Hanby as an Apprentice for the period of five years, to learn the art or trade of Saddlery and perform sundry duties to support his Master's trade. During the whole of this period said Apprentice will be in His Master's Service and will not work for Hire for any other person; he will be obedient to his Master's command and diligent in his Employment. To his Master he will grant all Sovereignty over his person and his whereabouts for the duration of his Apprenticeship; his Master shall provide him with bed and board. Upon the successful completion of the Term, his Master shall furnish him with a set of tools of the trade, one new coat, and one pair of new shoes. Signed, dated, and countersigned,

"You see that all is in order," Master Good said. He adjusted his hat and opened his hand for the papers.

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." Will gave back the indenture agreement with care.

The driver on top of the carriage whistled to the horses in their traces; the whip cracked. The jostling increased, and Will's shoulder rammed into the wooden doorframe on his left. Wincing, he leaned again to the window and pulled the small curtain aside.

The city of Pittsburgh! The coach had topped the hill. In the valley below, three rivers joined and a jumbled maze of dark buildings spread out between them. Smoke drifted over the city like thick fog. He smelled something unpleasant, like burning refuse. No matter. Naturally, where there's industry and wealth, there will be smoke. Nothing could quell his excitement.

All he had known was life on a farm. When he was seven, his parents and his two sisters had developed a consumption that gave them first a cough, then fever and pains throughout the body. On a doctor's advice, his father had indentured Will and his still-healthy brother, Johnny, to two separate farming families, in order to save them from infection. Over the course of two years, one letter after another informed Will that first his sisters and then his father and mother had succumbed to virulent infection of the blood, an effect of consumption no doctor could heal.

With the Quaker farmer, Will's work had been hard, though the farmer was fair and honest. Will had longed to see more than barns and horses—he wanted to read books, see ships, talk to travelers. When his farm indenture expired last month, he had jumped at the chance for a Pittsburgh apprenticeship. He could hardly wait for the larger world that lay before him.

At the bottom of the hill, the coach entered a labyrinth of streets dense with buildings. First was a two-story mercantile, then a livery stable. Next came a brick warehouse with "Rifles and Munitions" painted in white across its side. Pedestrians clotted the road. The coach clattered past doctors' establishments with gilt signs, and offices for attorneys-at-law.

"Master Good, look. Another saddler." Will pointed to a sign with a saddle and two crossed whips.

"Yes, I have plenty of would-be rivals." His master did not seem curious about the sights, but instead picked up a newspaper that lay on the seat beside him and scanned the advertisements. Outside the window, the crowd thinned and wider plots of land girdled genteel residences.

The carriage slowed and shuddered to a stop as the driver yelled, "Whoa there!" Boots thumped on the ground outside and the driver opened the door for them, his hat and whiskers covered with dust.

Will's master stooped to exit the carriage, and then it was Will's turn. He slung his knapsack over his shoulder with care. He would not let it out of his sight until he had a safe place for the letters and the locket in the little drawstring pouch.

When Will climbed down from the coach, his master was already striding toward a two-story white home, graceful amid green lawns. Will had never seen such a large dwelling; he tried not to let his eyes pop like a bumpkin's.

He quickened his step to catch up with his master, who rapped with a brass knocker on the blue double door. After a brief wait, the door opened to reveal a young woman in a gray dress and white apron, her hair bound in a net.

"Hello, Mary," Master Good said. "I need to speak with the doctor, if you please."

She bobbed her head and ushered them in, then disappeared into the recesses of the home.

The foyer had a high ceiling, marble floor, and a banister-lined staircase curving up and back to the left. A painting in muted tones depicted a dark valley, relieved only by rays of light breaking through massed clouds above.

"Good afternoon to you, Jacob." A deep voice issued from the man who stepped through the arched doorway on the far side of the foyer. He was of average height and wore a black frock coat; his hair was pure white and his shoulders straight as a soldier's. As he crossed the room to offer a hand to Will's master, he shot Will a quick glance. Will wished his own coat and trousers were not so threadbare and shabby.

"Dr. Loftin." Master Good shook the doctor's hand briefly, then clasped Will's shoulder. "This is my new apprentice, William Hanby."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from FAIRER THAN Morning by Rosslyn Elliott Copyright © 2011 by Rosslyn Elliott. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great Historical Fiction Read

    From the book jacket:
    Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.

    When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory.

    Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.
    When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.
    She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

    I enjoyed that this wasn't a normal mail-order bride story. But one where the protagonist had run out of options, this was her last choice. I loved that each chapter started with a short statement (think quote) that tied that chapter together. I enjoyed the story and the growth of the main character. I love reading because I love to make my own movie. To picture the book as if I were watching a movie. The author of this book made that possible.

    This story of emerging, growing, forming love, energy and renewal is one I would recommend for readers who enjoy Christian historical fiction. The book also has a group discussion guide at the end.

    Thomas Nelson Publishing was gracious enough to provide me with a complimentary copy of this novel for review purposes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Emotional!

    What a great read! Emotional rollercoaster. Cant wait for more!

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    insightful romance

    More than just romantic, this novel is also insightful and inspiring. Susannah is sent to live in the barren Dakota territory to marry a man who just happens to be her pastor's brother, though not in any way akin to him other than by blood. Although knowing she was to marry, her heart and mind weren't really set on letting anybody in, having just suffered from lost and hurt. Her husband, Jesse, as well as her faith in Jesus eventually teaches her to open up and finally fall into the reality of her married life. But then, there's drama that happens in the middle of the story--no romance story is complete without one, I guess--that will test the strength of her faith. And as the title says, she soon finds out that there is absolutely nothing that is impossible when you trust your concerns to God.

    The writing was beautiful; the characters, believable. This is is romantic christian fiction at its best. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    . I got an ARC of this book from Booksneeze.

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  • Posted July 12, 2011

    Amazing read!

    Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

    You think arranged marriages are bad, but think about having to be a mail order bride. With no idea what your husband will be like or where you will live or what the environment will be.
    With no other options left, Susannah agrees to marry her pastor brother, knowing him only by his letters. She moves out to the barren Dakota territory as a lost, hurt, lonely girl holding back her feelings and not letting anyone in. But bit by bit her new husband, Jesse and her Savior, Jesus break away at the shell she hides behind.
    After a tragic accident in the winter, it's seems to Susannah like every thing she's believed in is slowly falling away. But with the spring, Susannah finds the joy that can be had when she trusts in her God and no one else.

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  • Posted July 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A story of emerging faith, love and renewal

    Normally I'm not a fan of the historical romance novel but the description on Spring for Susannah intrigued me with the mail-order bride scenario. It's not your typical mail-order setting but more of a "last choice" option for Susannah. She knew this was her last alternative to even hope for a husband and home.


    Susannah had no idea what she was getting herself into when she got on that train going west. She assumed her new husband would have a home like she was accustomed to and she would take care of it and her husband as her mother taught her. What she did get, however, was nowhere near what she anticipated.


    Put yourself in her place-leaving everything & everyone you have known your entire life and going into a wilderness where there is limited access to food, farming materials, and even other human contact. Her mother's teachings of the way a lady should act and project herself had no place in this new world and Susannah felt lost. I loved how patient and kind Jesse was with Susannah-having just met her, he tolerated her ineptitude around the house, her social constraints, and her lack of trust with a faith that God will provide in time.


    Susannah's lack of trust and faith slowly turns around with Jesse's intervention and the way he lives his own life. Over time, their love grows and we even learn a little about their lives "behind closed doors" which is unusual for the typical Christian novel---don't get me wrong, there are no sordid details but this time we actually know they share a physical relationship.


    There were a few slow spots in the middle, almost as if repetition would fill the pages, but once I got past those the story picked back up and got back in the groove. Then at the end, I felt the book ended kind of abruptly as if it was getting too long or something.


    For a introductory novel, Ms Richmond has done a fabulous job of getting the reader emotionally involved with the characters. I felt as if I was looking through a window actually watching the story-not just reading about it. I look forward to her next release. Overall, I'd give this a 4 out of 5 for the depth of characters and a new approach to the mail-order bride/historical fiction category.


    This Book was provided by Litfuse Publicity and Thomas Nelson in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed were my own.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

    Hello there. I've gotten a new book from booksneeze. I've enjoyed it, but before I tell you about, I should say that I received this book for free from the booksneeze program offered by thomas nelson publishers. I was not paid to give a certain opinion or anything like that, and whatever I say is how I truly feel about this book. Now, "Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond was an interesting historical novel. This book centers on a young womn named Susannah (I actually don't remember her last name). When her parents die unexpectedly and with no prospects for a future husband, she agrees to move to the Dakota territory to marry the brother of her pastor. While her husband is patient and loves her, she feels an edge about him that makes her a bit uneasy. Soon, however, her faith begins to grow. But when a tragedy occurs, Susannah's newfound faith seems to crumble. Her husband still loves her, but Susannah is extremely distraught about this. As the seasons change and Susannah grows, she can barely imagine all that God has in store for her. I enjoyed this book and I give it four out of five stars?

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    Reminder of God's Unconditional Love

    Spring for Susannah, Catherine Richmond's debut book is an insightful glimpse into the heart of God in His unconditional love and pursuit for us. I found it to be a delightful reminder of the confidence we find only through Jesus Christ.

    Susannah Underhill arrives in Dakota territory, a mail-order bride married by proxy to Jesse Mason. She is shy and fearful that Jesse will send her back to Detroit if she isn't a dutiful wife. Susannah struggles with unworthiness of her husband's love, and God's and can't understand her husband's love and patience.

    Despite the trials and troubles they face with life on a land wrought with struggles, will Jesse's love and God's shine through and break through the barriers Susannah has built around her heart?


    This book provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Spring for Susannah & Catherine

    Spring for Susannah is the debut novel of Catherine Richmond. The story is set in the Dakota Territory following the Civil War. The protagonist Susannah has lost her parents and having no other projection for life decides to be the mail-order bride for her Pastor's brother Jesse Mason. Unlike love follows marriage stories, this novel leads the other way round.

    Being extremely shy and saddened from life due to her atrocious past Susannah gets in Jesse more than she expected. Jesse is very patient and always tries to help her opening up. The teasing and flirting between these two characters and their journey towards learning to love each other marks the pedestal of this book. Though even it is a Christian Romance, some people may find a few dialogues as obscene. But they only help in developing the characters and bringing them closer to reality.

    As they begin to grow in love, their love has been put to trial. A locust plague wipes out their crop and Jesse has to leave to find work in Fort Lincoln. The only thing I can say about the ending without giving any spoilers is that it feels abrupt with many loose ends. Also many scenes and actions have been too fast paced that they may leave you bewildered.

    Still Catherine Richmond has managed to develop a hale and hearty excitement and kinship with the characters, hope her upcoming novels will be even better.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful!!!

    I couldn't put this book down. Felt like I had moved in with Susannah and Jesse. Even though this story takes place in the 1800's, before the Dakota's become States it seems so real...it could be happening today. Loved the frank discussions that went on, and how a Woman was supposed to be so prim and proper.
    Susannah was brought up to be invisible by her Mother, and her Father [although he encouraged her Vet skills, he was not interested in any of her other accomplishments.]
    Jesse was a member of a large family growing up, and is trying to put the Civil War behind him. He has moved to the Dakota prairie, and receives word from his brother [a Minister] of an available wife. So Susannah becomes a Mail Order Bride...kind of!
    What a great Christian Man Jesse is and what a wonderful understanding, giving person he is. Love the interaction between him and Susannah...when the Elkhound jumps into their wagon and Chicken feathers fly. Jesse says "I guess we won't have to pluck the ones we are going to eat"...and Susannah's reply..."and I'll have to knit sweaters for the ones were keeping!!" Too cute!
    This is a wonderful Christian romance story, I just wish there had been more!!

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

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    Great Book

    This was a fun book to read. I can completely and utterly relate to Susannah, in some was more than ever right now. Having to move away from everything that is known and comfortable, to the unknown. Thinking that the unknown will be better than the known problems, but still worried and scared. Susannah needs to go west, to find a husband to get away from the problems that plague her back in the midwest. She is so used to just being in the back ground, always trying to follow the rules and do the right thing no mater if it makes sense or not. Suddenly she finds herself in what must seem like a whole new world to her, everything is different- including the fact that she now has a husband. This book is a great story that shows how Susannah grows from being a girl who does everything to try and please people, into the strong resilient woman who can stand up for herself with out shying away from everything.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

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    Wanted: Love in the Dakota Territory!

    Seeing no hope for her own future, Susannah answers a letter from her pastor's brother, Jessie. Seems he has recently moved to the Dakota Territory and is looking for a wife that would suit his personality. Matt thinks Susannah is the perfect fit and she needs a new lease on life.

    Now that her parents are dead, Susannah doesn't know where God even fits into her life anymore. After all her unanswered prayers to save her father and then her mother, she feels God doesn't want anything to do with her any longer. More than just hurt and shy, Susannah takes Matt up on the offer for a proxy wedding to his brother Jesse and leaves on the next train.

    Jesse's been living on a large parcel of land hoping that in time, this town will build into something bigger and bring more folks to live in Worthington. Hoping to start a family with Susannah, he promises her more than she is willing to give in return. Jesse tries to bring Susannah out of her shell and whatever has hurt her in the past, but soon is seems, his only answer might be all his prayers to God instead.

    Susannah has spent her life living in two separate shadows. One working side by side as an assistant to her father as a veterinarian in his practice, something her mother doesn't believe any upstanding, fine, young man would want in a wife and forbids her continue. Her mother believes that a wife should be seen and not heard, to serve her husband as a wife and provide a proper home, well-cooked meals, and not to have any wants or needs of her own. Yet when her family finances falls to a level where the bank comes to take it all away, Susannah isn't sure what to do anymore.

    In the book Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond, we see just how difficult it is to live out on the prairie as a homesteader. Having some skills in dealing with animals, Susannah is more than her husband bargained for when he requested a wife. I would never have guessed just how difficult life for a woman would be, who had come from a life of privilege to a life of hard work. I love how Susannah's character struggles within herself to be the best she can for Jesse and try to let go of her past failings and her mother's wishes. This is a story of how God can use all circumstances for His good.

    I received this book compliments of Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. A great story in Christian historical fiction, this one will whisk you away to the farm lands of Dakota and into the story of unconditional love. I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

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    A love that doesn't happen at first glance

    Susannah's parents have passed away, a banker forces inappropriate advances on her because of her father's debt, and she has no future in Detroit. So she heads to Dakota Territory as a mail-order bride to her minister's homesteading brother, Jesse. She never felt good enough for her parents, so she hides behind what is proper. She also feel like she isn't worthy of God's love and worries that if Jesse really knows her he won't like her.

    "Susannah had hoped he wouldn't be overly demanding, insisting on fancy meals, requiring a spotless house. Instead, he complimented her for the simple fare she cooked, approved of the linens she'd bought, and didn't ask for much in the way of housekeeping. No, his demands were of a more frightening nature. He wanted to know her."

    Watch as this couple grows from strangers to a husband & wife union in which only death will part. Understand their struggles as they go from hiding their real selves to being honest with each other and God.

    I truly appreciated the realness in which the book was written. Love wasn't something felt as first glance. The main characters weren't ruggedly handsome or extremely beautiful. However, they became more and more attractive to each other and to those around them, especially Susannah as her confidence grew under Jesse's patient encouragement. There was a little of everything in this book -humor, romance, adventure, death, life, friendship, hardness, beauty, laughter, sorrow, etc! This is not just any historical fiction! The only negative is that I wanted more of Jesse and Susannah together and not apart and after all they went through the end seemed a little rushed. could there be a sequel?

    Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted June 16, 2011

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    Surprise Ending

    "Marta says she is thinking of the book of Ruth," Ivar began, pausing for his wife's words. "Like Ruth, Susannah has traveled far to marry a man she did not know. Like Ruth, may you find great joy in your new family." (page 69) Jesse Mason welcomes his mail-order bride Susannah to his home in the Dakota Territory. Married by proxy by his brother, The Reverend back in Michigan the couple meet for the first time when Susannah arrives by train. Jesse, a Christian man is immediately pleased by his bride. Her prayer request is answered when he smiles. Jesse has a full set of good teeth. While Susannah does carry on an inner dialogue with God, she also acknowledges that she feels He has let her down in the past and is to blame for her current predicament. She also arrives with a suitcase full of several secrets and huge inferior complex. While both have inner demons to content with Susannah is particularly fragile. But she is prepared to keep her part of the deal, be a good wife, and obey her husband. Jesse is patiently hoping for more....

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  • Posted June 15, 2011

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    "Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond

    "Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond was a refreshing read, and, for this author's debut read, awesome! Susannah has lost her parents, and has no more home...as a result, she decides to accept a marriage proposal from her pastor's brother who lives hundreds of miles away from her home. Upon arrival, she's not sure what to expect, but she soon finds out...her husband, Jesse Mason, is handsome, hard-working and loves God...and, to Susannah's surprise, head-over-heels for her, and this scares her to pieces because she thinks she's all wrong, and the way Jesse want her to be - how he wants to be able to talk to her, share opinions want her, and find out what she needs and wants is so against what she was brought up to believe. Nevertheless, after a while, Jesse is able to break her exterior and get Susannah to lighten up, and, when she does, she finds that not able does she want Jesse Mason, but she needs him...he's shown her a way of life that she did not believe was possible before, and, through introducing her to God, helped her find herself...a self that she can like and love, and doesn't believe is so bad. I thought this book was really good and has so much potential; however, I became confused during the part of the book when Jesse left to find work...I know that this probably had to happen for her to get to her "real" self, but was still a little off from the rest of the story. Despite this, overall, "Spring for Susannah" was awesome, and I would definitely recommend it to other fans of Christian Romance. I also look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I give it 4 stars.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

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    A Gentle Romance -- An Exciting Debut

    Catherine Richmond in her new book, "Spring for Susannah" published by Thomas Nelson takes us to the Dakota Territory following the Civil War.

    Susannah Underhill has lived anonymously her entire life in Detroit but her parents have died suddenly and she is left all alone. She is living for a short while with her pastor and his wife when the pastor receives a message from his brother in the Dakota Territory. Seems there are not many opportunities for marriage out there so Jesse Mason is looking for a mail-order bride. Pastor Mason suggests Susannah fill the bill and off she goes on her adventures. Susannah has a very negative spirit and is always believing that she has offended Jesse in some manner when the truth is she has not. Jesse, on the other hand, is a very gentle man who has a strong faith in God and who is constantly affirming Susannah and praising her.

    Ms. Richmond gives us a very romantic look at a tough period in Jesse and Susannah's lives. They are husband and wife who never met before he picked her up from the train station and they have to adapt to each other and to the life style of the Dakota Territory. There are some great themes running through "Spring for Susannah": the roles of women, prejudice against foreigners, overcoming your past, and what genuine faith looks like. This is a wonderful read and I recommend it highly. Looking forward to more from Catherine Richmond

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

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    Spring for Susannah

    Susannah leaves her home in Detroit to head to the Dakota territory as a mail-order bride for her minister's brother, Jesse Mason. Upon her arrival, Dakota is nothing like she expects. Even worse, marriage demands far more than she expected. Shy and wounded, she believes Jesse could never lover her.

    Jesse is patient with Susannah, waiting until she learns to love him. They grow to love each other. Then a locust plague wipes out their crop. With few options left, Jesse leaves to find work in the growing towns. Somehow he ends up in Fort Lincoln, and things continue to get worse. Will Susannah and Jesse ever be able to rekindle their new found love?

    I initially found myself excited about this book. My excitement, however, soon diminished as I began to read the book. I'm not sure if it's the author's voice or the writing itself, but I found this book a very hard read. It became entirely too confusing at times. The proportion in this novel proved to be an issue. Some scenes were so fast-paced, jumping from one location to the next--or from one action to the next--that it became near impossible to discern what was taking place or even form a solid idea of the story itself. Some events needed to be slow-placed to build important tension, yet they were glossed over some much so that one had to wonder what just took place.

    The dialogue lent much confusion as well. At times it became difficult to know who was speaking as character reactions and actions had been placed with the wrong dialogue.

    The conflict itself seemed too devised and unnatural, almost forced. Arguments often sprung out of nowhere, the heroine's past hurt didn't seem to justify her current state of mind, and it seemed like the stakes were never high enough to make me understand the true conflict.

    I wish I could have enjoyed this story, but overall, I found it very difficult to do so.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Bookneeze, for the purpose of providing an honest review of the material.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

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    A Wonderful Debut and MUST Read!!!

    I absolutely LOVED this debut by the VERY talented Catherine Richmond. This is an author who knows how to take history, characters full of wit and charm, God's guidance and love, and turn them all into one FANTASTIC piece of history! I was lost among the pages instantly, and I did NOT want this beautiful book to end. Truly wonderful!

    Susannah is a wonderful character and my heart truly went out to her. She went through so much turmoil in her life that I felt it all like it was my own. Susannah's story is a mix of mail-order bride and marriage-of-convenience rolled into one. Bless her heart, she lost her parents and now she's settling for what she thinks is a loveless but convenient marriage.

    Jesse's character is AMAZING! I LOVED him from the start. He's charming and lovable and I would DIE for a man like him. He stuck by Susannah from the beginning, and for him, it grew to be more than just convenience. The way he was so patient with Susannah and her adjusting to life in Dakota, well, I truly wish I could have had a man like that!

    This is so much more than a 5 star book! This is the BEST historical fiction novel I've read in a long time. Not only that, but it is a DEBUT! A lot of debuts from new authors are good, but rarely do they so capture me that I feel lost once I've shut the book. That is exactly how I felt at the end of this novel. I could feel the dresses and hear the talk of the historical era that Catherine wrote about. I could see my self right beside this lovable and quirky characters! I can't wait to see what Catherine Richmond has in store for her new found fans!

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

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    A Rich Tale of Faith and Discovering Personal Value

    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. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse Publicity Group for a review copy.

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  • Posted June 11, 2011

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    Beautiful love story

    This was a beautiful love story. I could relate to Susannah more than I would like to admit. Her background has made her doubt her worth and the possibility that she could ever find real love. She has a lot of fears controlling her. As the book progresses you get to know what an intelligent and talented woman she truly is and we can appreciate her nearly as much as Jesse does.

    Jesse. I don't know that I can totally capture him for you. It's almost like trying to put lightning in a bottle. He's kind and patient but he's also carefree and energetic. His enthusiasm for life and for their marriage catches Susannah totally off guard and she doesn't know how to trust him. I loved that he was a red-head - it fit his personality perfectly.

    She also has a host of other characters. My favorites were their neighbors, Ivar and Marta Vold. They're Norwegian and good friends to the couple as they go through the ups and downs of life in the territory. Ivar has almost as big a sense of humor as he does honor. He loves how Jesse seems to have a verse for every situation. Marta is newer in the territory and doesn't learn English until after Susannah comes and helps her learn.

    One of my favorite parts of the book was reading Jesse's short prayers that head each chapter. This is just the kind of thing that gives you insight into the character. The author does a great job handling tricky issues like the roles of women, prejudice against foreigners, overcoming your past, and what genuine faith looks like. She does it all without sounding preachy either. This doesn't read like a first book and I can't wait to read her next one. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy in exchange for my review.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    Tender love story

    Catherine Richmond is a gifted writer. She made me fall in love with her characters, They fairly dance across the page, ( I especially liked Susannah and Jesse's Nowegian neighbors) - I read the entire book in a little over a day. Susannah is a very touching character who draws you in, she has you cheering for her the whole way. She carries the book very well.

    I really liked the author's use of authentic sayings and slang words for that time period. Those little things made the story POP to life! But at times it tripped up the easy flow of the story.

    I also really enjoyed a glimpse into Jesse's head at the beginning of each chapter, it really added a lot to the book. Those little sentences, were some of my favorite parts.


    But I feel that I should warn readers that,this is a very romantic book, and at times I felt that the intimate scenes between Jesse and Susannah were a bit graphic in some scenes, and that the bedroom door should have been close sooner. Even though they were married I felt that less detail could have been given. And for this reason I would recommend it to mature readers.


    But overall this was a really well written book, that captivated my attention from page one, and touched my heart. This is an excellent debut novel from Catherine Richmond, and I think that we'll see alot from her in the future!

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