Scheibe's multilayered plot feels organic: the strands are knitted into a tight story of substance that touches on the politics of race, class, and gender... the book is spectacular.” Publisher's Weekly, starred review and "Pick of the Week"
“An engrossing tale of intrigue, deceit and racial unrest in the upper Midwest in the 1950s, A Fireproof Home for the Bride is a fresh take on a pivotal moment in American history.” Christina Baker Kline, #1 bestselling author of Orphan Train
“A strong-willed farmer's daughter comes of age in the Minnesota sugar beet fields, where romance fuels her dreams, but dark secrets threaten to upend them. Emmy Nelson's eager pursuit of a life beyond the confines of her narrow 1950s upbringing leads her into dangerand her courage exposes decades of corrupt piety and shocking evil. A Fireproof Home for the Bride fascinates with its postwar period detail, and bravely travels to corners of the heartland where everyone has secrets, and wholesomeness is not as it appears. ” Kate Manning, author of My Notorious Life
“A Fireproof Home for the Bride is an engrossing, quietly profound story of a young woman's coming of age in the deceptively bucolic Upper Midwest of the 1950s. Its nuanced, utterly real characters and tantalizing revelation of secrets will keep readers turning the pages.” Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker
“Set in the shifting landscape of North Dakota at the end of the 1950s, A Fireproof Home for the Bride is a subtle coming of age story, as well as a remarkable portrait of racism's sinister hold on rural America. Emmaline Nelson is a wonderful heroine: a fierce, smart, independent woman you'll be cheering for long after the novel is over. ” Haven Kimmel, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Girl Named Zippy
“Profound...[Scheibe] quietly tells a beautiful coming-of-age story in the less-than-idyllic 1950s upper Midwest.” RT Book Reviews, RT Book Reviews
“Fans of Kathryn Stockett will identify strongly with the agonizing choices Emmy must make as ugly family secrets concerning racial hatred emerge.” Library Journal, Library Journal
“The future for Emmaline Nelson is preordained: life on her family's farm in Minnesota with a man her parents have chosen. But when she uncovers the true character of her fiancé-and a shameful family secret-she decides that only she has the power to determine her fate.” All You Magazine #1 Way to Treat Yourself
“The novel's careful pacing slowly builds upon...the dark undercurrent of racism and bigotry saturating the community, lending an atmosphere of dread to even everyday occurrences. Scheibe devotes the same attentiveness to Emmy's growth, as Emmy painstakingly develops the confidence to stand up for herself and for what she believes is right.” Booklist, Booklist
“Emmy's growing maturity is well-portrayed ...A good coming-of-age story.” Kirkus
“This is the book that'll remind you to what feels right to you...Even though [Emmy's] increasingly bold steps away from her old life take her only as far as Fargo, you'll cheer for how far she's really gone.” RedBook Magazine
“This is a profound novel that quietly tells a beautiful coming-of-age story in the less-than-idyllic 1950's upper Midwest. The characters have a realness to them that is in some ways raw, but also utterly fascinating. They continue revealing the kind of secrets that keep the reader thoroughly engrossed in the novel.” RT Book Reviews
“Set at the dawn of the civil rights movement, Scheibe's tale captures both the heartache and the liberation of finding one's own path.” PEOPLE's "Pick of the Week"
“Amy Scheibe spins an ambitious tale of feminism, racial tension and murder set in the Red River Valley in 1958...Filled with rich regional detail.” Grand Folks Herald
“A real page-turner...The book is sure to generate many cafe discussions and it begs a sequel to answer questions about some of the characters the reader comes to know well.” Bismarck Tribune
“Scheibe gives it an interesting turn and lays out for readers a nice feel for Midwestern politics and values on the 1950s.” St. Louis Post Dispatch
Scheibe's fantastic sophomore effort (after What Do You Do All Day?) explores the coming of age of a young Minnesota woman in the late 1950s. Eighteen-year-old Emmy Nelson lives with her joyless, domineering mother, Karin, and feels resigned to her fate of becoming a farm wife. She's known her betrothed, Ambrose Brann, all her life, but lately he's been hostile and abusive. After glimpsing the possibility of a happier life with the help of her best friend, Bev Langer, and her high school guidance counselor, Mr. Utke, Emmy breaks off her engagement and begins seeing Bobby Doyle, a Catholic boy with big dreams. Meanwhile, Ambrose falls under the spell of bigoted family friend Curtis Davidson, whose fear-mongering politics scapegoat the area's Mexican immigrants. As she grows into a cub reporter job, Emmy discovers that the politics might tie into a family secret. Emmy is used to mystery when it comes to her relatives: something big caused her grandmother's estrangement from Emmy's great-aunt. Scheibe's multilayered plot feels organic: the strands are knitted into a tight story of substance that touches on the politics of race, class, and gender without coming off as too preachy. There are a few small flaws: Emmy, for instance, seems awfully progressive for someone who has known nothing but her dour, religious family, and influential bestie Bev abruptly drops out of the story, but overall, the book is spectacular. (Mar.)
In her second title (after What Do You Do All Day?), Scheibe presents a lengthy coming-of-age tale set in rural 1950s Minnesota. Eighteen-year-old Emmaline's future has been decided: she will marry the wealthy neighbor's son, thereby joining two family farms and ensuring financial stability for her aging parents. Emmy is a guileless, likable protagonist who nevertheless defies her sheltered Lutheran upbringing by boldly taking charge of her life's course. Fans of Kathryn Stockett will identify strongly with the agonizing choices Emmy must make as ugly family secrets concerning racial hatred emerge. The author artfully folds fashion, cars, and music references into the story, and readers will delight in the surprise twist on the 1950s-style love affair that at first appears to be the perfect solution to the heroine's woes. VERDICT The narrative drags somewhat in the middle, but the action picks up again as Emmy hurtles through wintry obstacles (without her boots) toward an ending that is as neat as a well-darned sock. [See Prepub Alert, 9/22/14.]—Erin O. Romanyshyn, Frances Morrison Central Lib., Saskatoon, Sask.
Scheibe (What Do You Do All Day?, 2006) chronicles a Minnesota girl's journey toward independence in a story set in 1958 with pointed contemporary parallels.Eighteen-year-old Emmy Nelson has known for years that she's expected to marry Ambrose Brann, but since her father moved the family off the farm to a bigger town on the North Dakota border, she feels her horizons expanding beyond her mother Karin's cramped notions of the proper destiny for a good Lutheran girl. She re-establishes contact with long-estranged, more easygoing relatives and gets a job on the switchboard at the local newspaper, learning the basics of journalism with the help of a friendly reporter. Emmy's growing maturity is well-portrayed, as is postwar life in the rural Midwest, still very much governed by traditional values—which, in the author's stinging depiction, include racism, sexism and xenophobia. Scheibe's indictment would be more persuasive if it weren't so overdone: It's not enough for Ambrose to be 10 years older than Emmy and creepily under the thumb of the sinister Curtis Davidson; he has to rape her, and when she tells Karin Ambrose hit her, her mother's response has to be, "How did you provoke him?" The unfolding story also includes three other rapes, a murder pinned on an innocent Mexican, two suspicious fires and another climactic piece of arson, all of them blatantly designed to make it clear just how dangerous Davidson and his Citizens' Council are. Revelations about a dead relative in the Ku Klux Klan and a nice Catholic boy who turns out to be gay add to the overheated tone and will come as no surprise to attentive readers. When a rural crowd listening to Davidson rant about low-income housing and shiftless immigrants begins chanting, "Citizens united, can't be divided," it's clear the author intends readers to make the connection between then and now, but she sabotages her case by making it so luridly. A good coming-of-age story lies buried underneath a ridiculously overdetermined and didactic plot.