With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Freemont agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister’s homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn’t see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.
In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn’t look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father’s veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse’s ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.
But Susannah’s feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can’t believe that Jesse’s praise-or the tenderness and love he shows-could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.
Spring for Susannah is Catherine Richmond’s debut novel and one I enjoyed for its unique approach to a tried and true story line. The mail order bride is an oft used theme in historical romance so I appreciated the twists Catherine employed which gives her story freshness. Far from being the usual strong, silent type, Jesse is an enthusiastic communicator and expects Susannah to share her thoughts and dreams with him. Susannah’s struggle to open up to Jesse gives plenty of scope for conflict and discovery as well as revealing their unfolding attraction. While the pace slowed a little towards the end of the book Spring for Susannah is a promising beginning for this new author.
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