Merrill Krause is responsible for her house full of brothers and her father since her mother had died ten years ago. Between that and working for the family horse business, little time is left for Merrill or developing a feminine side, something not quite so acceptable to ignore in the late 1800's, even through she does long for someone in her life besides her brothers and father. But her brothers have scared off any potential suitors through the years.
When Ruruk Jorgenson is called by his Uncle Carl to leave Kansas and come to Minnesota to help with the furniture making business, he leaves behind a "fiance" he's not certain is the woman for him since he loves her like a sister, not the way he hopes to love a wife. When he meets Merrill, he is drawn to her strength and isn't bothered by her brothers or lack of trivial femininity. But Ruruk's past isn't going to be easy to leave behind when his former fiance and brother show up, bringing questions about Rurk's integrity. Merrill thinks she truly knows Ruruk's heart but it may prove to be a challenge to trust.
As always, Tracie Peterson authors a book hard to put down and a delight to read. You will love the characters and, if a historical fiction fan, the time period and setting--not your typical one. I also thoroughly enjoyed Merrill, a pretty tough, nonconforming girl in a time where sitting around visiting and drinking tea was more the norm. There was enough action and suspense to keep you turning the pages and not so many characters that leave you scratching your head wondering where that person came from. While some might say "The Icecutter's Daugher", the first in the Land of Shining Water series, is one of Ms. Peterson's best, that might be difficult for me to say as I haven't read anything by her I didn't thoroughly enjoy and she writes enough differing types of books that you are certain to find one that pleases.
I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.
The Icecutter's Daughter is a great start to a new series. It is set in Minnesota just before the turn of the 20th century.
Rurik Jorgenson comes to Minnesota from Kansas to help with his uncle's furniture shop. Within a few days he mets Merrill Krause and the more he gets to know her the more he realizes that this is the woman that God has set aside just for him . But just as he is settling in and deciding a future with Merrill, unexpected trouble comes to town, threatening his future with her.
Merrill has lived in a all male household since her mothers death when she was ten. She has never given a second thought to marriage and a family of her own until Rurik Jorgenson comes to help with the ice harvesting and she knows that her life will never be the same.
I really liked Merrill and Rurik. I thought they worked well together as a couple and that their love for each other came very naturally, it grew over time as any genuine loves does. Merrill was so much fun to read. She had such a great range of emotion as any woman does at times. Rurik was a terrific hero, not in the swooping in at the last minute to rescue the girl sense, but as a strong God-fearing man who relies on the Lord to see to his best interest.
As always the author has written a book full of love, laughter and God. I can always count on a good spiritual battle with her books. It always encourages me.
One thing that I always appreciate about this author is she while she does stay primarily in historical fiction, she doesn't write in just one area. This is one reason that I continue to read her. Her research and character development are always well done.
The only thing that threw me was why the author choose to name her main female character with a name that seems more suited to a male. In the story the mother, after having given birth to six boys, was thrilled to have a girl which she would dress up and pamper, so why would she not give her a more feminine name? It just seemed very odd to me.
Overall though it was a wonderful book full of breathtaking scenery descriptions and characters you won't soon forget.
Merrill Krause has been taking care of her Father and brothers ever since her Mother died ten years before. Living with a bunch of men has left Merrill lacking in some feminine areas but she's not afraid of hard work and she works just as hard as her brothers in helping with the ice harvesting. Merrill has begun to feel lonely and she starts to wonder if this is the life she's destined to or if she'll ever have the chance to marry and have a family of her own. While she's had a few suitors in the past, most of them have been intimidated by her brothers.
Rurik Jorgenson has come to Minnesota to help his ailing uncle with his furniture business. Leaving a broken engagement behind, he's hoping to escape from a piece of his past and be a help to his uncle. When Rurik meets Merrill, he is intrigued from the start and he can't help feeling drawn to her. Even her brothers can't scare him away.
Yet when Rurik's ex-fiancee finds him, he finds himself stuck in the middle of a brewing scandal. Merrill and Rurik must look to God to sort the mess out and ultimately they must learn to put their trust in Him.
I thought this book was really good and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I enjoyed it so much that I read it within 24 hours because I couldn't put it down! I loved the relationship between Merrill and Rurik and how it grew. I liked how the characters were going through different struggles and I liked that we could see how they grew from those struggles. Overall, I liked the message of trust and how the characters needed to base their trust on God. I also enjoyed reading a little bit about how the ice harvesting works. While the book does not revolve around this process, the author does a good job of incorporating the history into the book. I am interested to see what the next books in the series will be like. I will definitely be reading them since I found this a great start to what I assume to be a great series.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
Tracie Peterson seems to be synonymous with historical Christian fiction, and "The Icecutter's Daughter" offers a pleasant blend of history, faith, and romance. The last Peterson novels that I read were those in the "Yukon Quest" and "Belles of Lowell" series. "The Icecutter's Daughter" did not leave as strong of an impression, but it was a pleasant weekend read. I enjoyed learning about ice harvesting and furniture making in the late 1800s. Peterson constructs an authentic historical scene that exposes readers to less well-known facets of history. Daily responsibilities and challenges for families involved in the furniture and ice industries came to life in the plot. Multiple references to Merrill's delectable strudels, made me wish I could jump into the pages for a sample.
While I enjoyed the setting of "The Icecutter's Daughter," I never felt fully engaged in the plot or the characters. Peterson uses the characters to convey themes of faith, forgiveness, and being true to oneself. The characters are likeable, with the exception of two misguided characters who stir up some trouble and bring some interest to the story line. My emotional connection to Merrill and Ruirk as individuals and as a couple did not fully develop. Some sections relied mainly on conversations between characters, which made the flow choppy at times and ultimately left me detached. I did not find the story to be overly surprising or gripping; it was quick and easy read but did not leave a lasting impression.
"The Icecutter's Daughter" is the first installment in the "Land of Shining Water" series, which will include "The Quarryman's Bride" and "The Miner's Lady." The synopses sound promising, and readers will likely find satisfaction in the historical love stories that define Tracie Peterson's fiction novels.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this novel from NetGalley, courtesy of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Merrill Krause has several very protective brothers that have been known to run off any potential suitors. She is responsible for the care of the household chores and the cooking. She works with the horses which is her favorite thing to do on the farm. You will even find her working shoulder to shoulder with her father and brothers. She jumps right in when it is time to cut, haul and store ice from the lake. Ice-cutting is tough for the brawniest of men. She stays so busy that it is very apparent she is having no luck in finding a suitable husband.
Rurik Jorgenson is new to the community. He is going into business with his uncle's in a carpentry business. He hopes to fit in with the community. With his uncle's health becoming a concern he volunteered to go in his uncle's stead to help his uncle's friend to harvest ice from the lake. This will definitely be a new experience for him, but he was willing to learn. He got a big shock when he discovered one of the icecutter's was actually a beautiful young woman. He got plenty of teasing by her brothers. Rurik would not let them intimidate him when or if he decided to court their sister. But his former fiancee concocts some wild accusations against Rurik which puts his reputation into question.
The author has written a story of family bonds, love and loyalty to one another. Then there is the deception that threatens to destroy a young man's future. I loved the dedication these characters had to their family through such selfless acts. My favorite character was Rurik's uncle he was a very giving, wise and trusting man, with a strong belief in prayer and God's will for one's life.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House/Baker Publishing for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.