Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: The Icecutter's Daughter

I've had the opportunity to read and now review The Icecutter's Daughter by Tracie Peterson.

This book takes place in Minnesota (Waseca) in the late 1890s.  I love reading about that time period in the upper midwest, so I had to check out this book.

From the publisher:
As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she's never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl--she'd rather work with her father’s horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she’s been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.

When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle's carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build...until Rurik's former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.

Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God--and each other--when scandal threatens their newfound love?
I like my historical fiction to be fairly heavy on the "historical" and very light on the "romance" part of the fiction.  Even though I'm not terribly familiar with Waseca (I have been there) or really with southern Minnesota much at all, Tracie Peterson made it feel very real, and everything I do know about that time period in Minnesota suggests that her research was solid.

Another draw for me was that Merrill is the youngest child in her family, with four big brothers.  In spite of absolutely every description not remotely being like my kids, I couldn't help but see Trina and her four big brothers in all of the family interaction.

Another concern I have with Christian fiction is just how preachy it can be.  Peterson does a great job of making the faith of the various characters quite important, but not falling into chapter-long sermons or totally unrealistic dialogue. 

The story was enjoyable and brought up some interesting issues to ponder.  Why are we so quick to accept negative stuff we hear about people, even when it is totally out of character for them, without investigating it or <gasp> going and talking to the person involved?

I will be watching for more books by Peterson. 

Disclosure:  Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.  No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.

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