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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Early Americana Inspirational 3-1/2*
Not having read any of the RED RIVER NORTH series by author Lauraine Snellings, A PROMISE FOR ELLIE was my introduction into the world she created of the two Bjorklund brothers families as they immigrated to America.

In Book one of Snelling's new series `The Daughters of Blessing', we are returned to Blessing, North Dakota and the approaching wedding of Ellie...
Published on 14 July 2006 by M. Rondeau

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3.0 out of 5 stars Good potential, but mostly unexplored
This book was rather disappointing. The synopsis sounded great, and I liked the idea of reading about Norwegian settlers, but I didn't realise that this series followed on the back of two other series about the same characters. I expect you can only really enjoy this book if you're familiar with the characters, since I was confused by all the summarising about every...
Published 20 months ago by Rachel


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3.0 out of 5 stars Good potential, but mostly unexplored, 5 Nov 2012
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Rachel (Edinburgh, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book was rather disappointing. The synopsis sounded great, and I liked the idea of reading about Norwegian settlers, but I didn't realise that this series followed on the back of two other series about the same characters. I expect you can only really enjoy this book if you're familiar with the characters, since I was confused by all the summarising about every single person Ellie or Andrew encountered. The expectation that you already knew the characters meant that very little time was spent developing characters, so I never felt like I connected with anyone, even Ellie or Andrew.

I feel bad for saying this, but I honestly didn't really care whether Ellie or Andrew got together. I felt like I was dumped into the middle of their story - they were a month away from their wedding - and never given the chance to see their relationship grow and thus invest an interest in it. So because I never learned why Ellie loved Andrew so much to begin with, I couldn't understand why she was so hung up on this guy who was stubborn, very quick to anger and clearly needed to grow up before he got married.

Part of my issue with Andrew is his anger and stubbornness. I realised towards the end of this book that the reason I disliked his character so much is actually quite a personal one. My dad is very stubborn and has a very short temper, and if he gets annoyed he will scream and shout and kick up a fuss with anyone who doesn't agree with him, including me. If someone won't agree with him, he'll leave the room and not come back until the other person attempts to make amends. This description matched Andrew so many times in this book! Growing up with a father like this has had a big affect on my life, one factor being that I really struggle with conflict because I expect everyone to react like my dad in an argument (shouting, anger, stubbornness) and it took me a while to deal with this when I left home and met my husband. The other factor is that a short temper has always been a complete turn off for me when it comes to men. I would never, ever have considered a relationship with a man who has a temper like my father (or Andrew, for that matter), and fortunately, God blessed me with a very calm and collected man, who prefers to talk things out and never raises his voice. But, considering my upbringing, you can see why I never really cared for Andrew's character. It's hard to swoon over a man who has a lot of traits that you try to avoid in a man. I know this won't be an issue for all readers, but I imagine I'm not the only woman who has had a bad experience with a short-tempered man, and I can see Andrew's temper and reaction to any sort of conflict as being a turn-off for a fair amount of readers. I know he swore to change at the end of the novel, but some men can't ever change.

I'm giving this book 2.5 out of 5 because I honestly think it had a good potential. Besides my issues with the backstory of the previous two series, and Andrew's character, I also felt that this book needed a serious edit to make it a good story. I liked the idea of a couple forced apart by circumstances before their wedding day, and made to mature separately, but a lot of issues were left unexplored or not concluded at the end of the novel (Ellie's fear of miscarriages was a big one) and some of the storylines weren't detailed enough to seem believable. But most of the aspects of the story and characterisation could have worked if they'd just been expanded further. Honestly, at times, this felt like a rough draft that needed to be tightened up a little.

Although I had to really force myself to finish this book, I will attempt to read the others in the series, just because I already own them. I think the story and characters have great potential, but most of it was unexplored and pushed to the side by characters from previous books, which is pretty distracting to a first-time reader. 2.5*
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Early Americana Inspirational 3-1/2*, 14 July 2006
By 
M. Rondeau (West Springfield, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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Not having read any of the RED RIVER NORTH series by author Lauraine Snellings, A PROMISE FOR ELLIE was my introduction into the world she created of the two Bjorklund brothers families as they immigrated to America.

In Book one of Snelling's new series `The Daughters of Blessing', we are returned to Blessing, North Dakota and the approaching wedding of Ellie Wold and Andrew Bjorklund. They were two young people who went through childhood idolatry for one another and grew up expecting to marry -- all with their family's blessings. They'd been inseparable growing up until five years previously Ellie's father had moved from Blessing to advance his furniture making business. Keeping in touch through letters, Ellie and Andrew would both be graduating that year and planned to be married after the harvest. Andrew was the quintessential farmer, loved the land and with help from their families they would be starting out blessed with acreage, a new home and barn. But before the wedding occurs their new barn burns down, and a life hangs in the balance that changes their lives and prove a bigger tragedy for the dreams of these two young people.

Well written with extensive detail, the reader will have no trouble at all envisioning life in the early 1900's. From what I gather this is a continuing family saga that began a couple of series ago bringing the children to adulthood as they face their own trials and tribulations as well as discovering the real meaning of faith and prayer when their orderly planned out world hits the bumps in life. Ellie was a loving delightful young woman, warm and sure of her love for Andrew although having misgivings about the physical results of childbearing. Andrew was also a likeable though head-strong young man, hard working and industrious, a natural farmer at heart whose biggest lesson in life would come after turning to God when control slipped out of his hands. A plethora of secondary characters made this a fully robust entry and while it might have been nice to have read previous volumes for the background of so many endearing characters it was not necessary as this book stands completely alone. While I did find the first half of the book to be paced a bit on the slow side it portrays an excellent example of Americana history brought to life that will satisfy most readers.

Marilyn Rondeau, R.I.O.
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