Romance Hall of Famer Rivers (Redeeming Love) returns with her first full-length novel since 2003 with this two-generation saga of a mother and daughter, the first of two parts. Ambitious, strong-willed Marta Schneider leaves her home in rural Switzerland at the beginning of the 20th century. Shes determined to flee her abusive father, loving but weak mother, and the constraints placed on women. Meeting interesting characters all along her journey, she works her way to Canada. There she buys a boardinghouse and meets her match in Niclas Waltert, a German engineer with a farmers heart. Through Martas sharp elbows and the sweat of Niclass brow, the family eventually arrives at an increasingly comfortable life in Californias Central Valley. The second half of the story, told from the point of view of constitutionally timid daughter Hildemara Rose, is less deeply imagined. So many events happen as history rapidly unrolls in the background that the narrative feels too much like an outline for a Lifetime TV offering about a couple buffeted by the winds of WWII. Writers like Rivers are why people buy Christian fiction: its dramatic, engaging, and acknowledges the bedroom without going inside. This well-told tale will have readers eagerly awaiting the storys resolution. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.