Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan in 1871 to search for her brother who has disappeared into the woods to work the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a newly-widowed farmer who is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.
Serena Miller lives only a few miles from a flourishing Amish community and counts many Old Order Amish as friends. Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, Ohio is a natural outgrowth of her ongoing fascination with these valiant, flawed people who struggle to live their lives according to their interpretation of the Bible.
Her family, however, also lived for many years in Michigan. Serena's father, a sawyer, told her stories he had heard from old timber men who had cut the fabled giant pine in the Saginaw Valley. Visiting museums and reading about the years directly after the Civil War, when Michigan became the lumber capitol of the world, became a hobby. She used her research and writing to revisit that era by writing The Measure Of Katie Calloway, as well as her new book, A Promise to Love.
She is also the author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.
Julieanne's review and thoughts about A Promise to Love:
There have been quite a few books - and some movies - written over the years about marriages happening in emergency situations for convenience's sake. Think Sarah, Plain and Tall, and you'll get the general jest of A Promise to Love.
I loved Sarah, Plain and Tall, and its sequels when I watched them. I guess that's why I was excited to give this new book a try! Like Sarah, Plain and Tall, there are some similar elements including anger, bitterness, unforgiveness. A motherless family. A grieving father. And true stories of people's lives in times past woven in as key elements into the story.
But there are a few things about A Promise to Love that I enjoyed even more than I ever enjoyed Sarah, Plain and Tall! (I didn't think I'd ever say that.)
The author, Serena Miller, writes a book whose words flow well, so that it is an easy read. Not all authors write so that the words flow effortlessly for the reader.
The character's emotions are realistic and appropriate. There are hints of romance throughout this story, but nothing more than a quick kiss or a gentle hug or a husband's arm wrapped around his wife's waist. It's nice that my children can read this if they'd like, and I don't need to worry about the content.
My own great-grandfather, although not a logger or sawyer in Michigan, passed away from a logging accident many years ago in the Pacific Northwest. I've heard a few stories about logging camps over the years, and have seen quite a few displays in museums here in the Pacific Northwest about logging in the 1800s and early- to mid-1950s. It was a rough life, not easy for anyone in the family. Since my husband is employed in the timber industry, I find true stories about its past quite interesting!
My favorite thing, though, about A Promise to Love is that the key character, Ingrid, a Swiss immigrant, uses her faith in Christ to strongly influence others around her who are hateful, unforgiving, or unrelentingly unkind. And yet, again, it is realistic. Women "under the influence" of the Holy Spirit's power can do great and mighty things with Christ's help.
Also, a very important message these days to share among wives and mothers, is the value of "keeping" a home and doing this for God's glory. This message came out loud and clear in A Promise to Love, but in a soft and tender way. I love it when authors acknowledge the importance of wives blessing their husbands and their children and serving their family with a joyful heart as much as is possible.
I appreciate the author's careful thoughts about motherhood and marriage spread throughout this book. It isn't often that a person will read modern Christian fiction books that share this godly message of being the Proverbs 31 woman, and I respect Serena B. Miller's choice to include this in her new book, A Promise to Love.
A Promise to Love is available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller - from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Hi! I'm Julieanne! You'll find me in the kitchen trying new Trim Healthy Mama recipes, loving God, and carrying out that love as I bless my husband and teen daughters.
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