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5 Stars Out Of 5
December 21, 2013
Elsa Anders is about to become the wife of Captain Peder Ramstad. Leaving her beloved Norway for the shores of Maine, Elsa wants to be more than just a captain's wife. She wants the adventure of the seas; see exotic places, painting the beautiful sights and vistas, and just being with her husband. Will Peder allow it? Or will his authority as captain spill over into their lives?
Kaatje wants to come to America to save her marriage. Her life, and the life of her unborn child depend on it. Karl Martensen has been friends with Peder since childhood. He fights his secret and impossible love for Elsa, but his emotions threaten to destroy everything they have set out to accomplish. And Tora Anders, the defiant yet seductive young woman that believes she can win the world with her woman'y wiles and wit. Will any of these immigrants find what they are looking for in America? Or is their fresh start an unreachable dream?
This book will take you on a wonderful journey, Once set your eyes to it's pages, you are sucked into the tale and there is no describing the agony of waiting to see what will happen to all the characters you've come to love. I have held my breath so many times in anticipation, stifled a gasp at another twist in the plot, that I feel silly for becoming so enchanted without so much as a look back. I read a lot of books, and I like to think that I can anticipate and know what happens next. This book stripped away all I know of fiction, and took me to the beautiful country of Norway, a magical voyage across the sea that became a mix of tragedy and joy, and finally brought me to the promised land. But so many questions remain. Bergren tells many character stories, but she is successful at making each person an unforgettable part of the tale, as real as the many immigrants that have docked at our shores.
A copy of this book was provided for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Plot: There was a lot going on this book, but not too much to be overwhelming. First, there is the immigration to America that is experienced by all of the characters in the book, then you have the stories that unfold for each, once they arrive. None of the stories are complete however at the end of the book, but such is life, I suppose. I assume that the stories carry on into the next two books in the series.
Characters: I really enjoyed the depth of the characters in this book. The entire story line really is based on the history that each character has in Bergen, and how they develop as they continue their lives in America. Each character is so different from each other, yet they flow so fluidly together to tell the story that they really all share.
Themes: I would consider the main theme of this book to be "starting over". Each of the characters longs for a new life in America and they are all starting over from something. Elsa and Peder, for example, are newly wed and beginning their new life together; Kaatje seeks a fresh start with her husband and the arrival of their child, and Tora seeks a new adventure in America.
Emotion: This book was very fast paced. While the emotion wasn't deep-seated, I did find myself engaged in the story. The more I read, the more I wanted to know what was going to happen to each of the characters, and how they were going to be affected by the next tragedy or joy that they faced.
Overall: I found the book to be slow at first, but as I continued through, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the way that while each character had their own story and experiences, they were all so intricately weaved together. I also found the story to be very unpredictable, which kept me engaged, almost every time I made an assumption about what would happen next, I was wrong. While part of me wishes the stories would have come to a nice little conclusion, I am anticipating reading the next books in the series to find out what happens next.
---I received this book for free from the publisher for this review.---