Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Being the first time I have read this particular author, I wasn't sure what to expect from the characters/storyline, and I was pleasantly surprised. The author writes her characters with great detail and emotional depth. I found myself truly looking forward to how the relationships of the characters unfolded, almost wishing that the story could continue when I reached the end.
The novel begins with Susannah Underhill, a mail order bride, preparing to meet the man she is to marry. She has traveled from Michigan to the great Dakota territory, trying to flee the nightmares of her past (a loveless childhood and a physical attack from a stranger). She enters the marriage with fear, reservations and the inability to speak for herself- characteristics that her new husband Jesse finds bewildering. As they begin to earn each others' trust, their marriage is tested by a series of trials characteristic of living out on the great frontier. When Jesse has to leave his wife and homestead to find work, Susannah discovers the strength and purpose God has for her life.
The Spiritual message rings through loud and clear- we get samples of scripture, hymns and prayers all throughout the narrative. I also appreciated how this book touches on the intimacy of marriage without shame. Of course there is nothing graphic, but the loving relationship between a husband and wife is explored in a refreshing and lovely way- especially for Christian fiction.
I truly did enjoy this story and look forward to more by Catherine Richmond. I did find that the story at times drug on, especially during the period when Susannah and Jesse are apart. I found myself skimming a few pages to see what was going to happen- the interlude between their reunion did not keep my interest. However, that section of the book is well compensated for by the beginning and end of the story. I very much enjoyed the glimpse into prairie life during that time period and the vivid portrayal of the Dakota landscape.
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.