"Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond is a tender, realistic story of a young lady's journey to the Dakota territory where, hundreds of miles away from home and facing an uncertain future, Susannah struggles to survive the harsh elements on the untamed Dakota prairie, as her life is gradually transformed from being a shy, timid woman with an innate sense of unworthiness to a strong, fiercely independent pioneer of life in the wilderness. Here is a vivid portrait of the life of an extraordinary woman who is brave enough to take on the ultimate risk as she awakens to life and love.
When her small world crashes with the death of her parents, Susannah resigns herself to becoming a mail-order bride to Jesse, her pastor's brother, who is far more loving and patient than she dreams of but with a strange, bewildering wildness that mirrors the wilderness surrounding Susannah's puzzling new world. She is constantly on edge and hides behind the mask she painstakingly erects around herself. Susannah certainly did not believe in love at first sight, not by a long shot. All she dared to hope for in her faintest dreams was the minutest miracle to feel anything other than the strange, oppressive shyness threatening to overwhelm her.
Jesse had an aura of command surrounding him and he was far too aware of the dark side of people including Susannah herself. She knew deep down in her heart that his far-seeing, critical eyes could penetrate the armour of respectability she had erected to mask her worst self, the self that even she could not confront. The thought terrified her beyond words. For Jesse however, Susannah was a new song in his heart that he must learn to sing. His deep-rooted confidence in her and his unfaltering faith in God's perfect plan chips at the wall she hides behind.
After suffering a miscarriage in the cruel Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith begins to totter and crumble to dust.But Jesse's unwavering love for her never falters. Just when the long and arduous winter never seems to end, Susannah sees the first hopeful signs of spring! And with it comes the stunning realization that so much more than the mere landscape has changed. Hope is born anew in Susannah's aching heart!
Was really hoping for a GREAT read when I picked up this book. I made it to page 94, I think. Unfortunately, the beginning didn't draw me in. The pace is rather slow, and the character developments lacking (in my opinion). Also, some things are confusing. E.g. One minute they are in the house, the next outside - and the author doesn't necessarily make a transition between the two. In addition to that, I found it weird that Jesse's brother would marry him and Susannah without Jesse being there... maybe it's just because I'm not familiar with the historical context. Susannah's background and their marriage's background were both unclear. I was hoping for wit, sparks (well they are a few, because in the beginning there are plenty of references to them being intimate as a couple... Let's just say Jesse made it clear that he couldn't wait.) But I think fellow readers might understand me when I say this : there's something about a good book that just transports you... that makes it enchanting. I kept looking for it in Spring for Susannah, but I didn't find it... sorry.
I really enjoyed the characters of the story, and overall liked it but I just felt like the sexual content was not appropriate. The only reason I said I wouldn't recommend this book to a friend is because it would depend on their maturity level.
Susannah feels insecure and unworthy for love. She is very shy and cannot accept her strengths. She has many strenghts and a knowledge that helps her in the Big Dakota Territory. I felt that the author had too many adversities for this couple. It seems she has all the happenings that we read and hear about of the settlers to this great territory.
I liked the way she had many nationalities working together although they did not know each others language.
This book took me to the perilous time of the early Dakota settlers. Well researched excellent story, strong characters, unexpected turns of plot, passion, reality, humor, and faith development provided a rich experience.