Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: "Spring for Susannah" by Catherine Richmond

Summary from BN.com: When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory.

Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.

When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.

She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

Oh, I thought this was going to be the same old historical romance. I was prepared for mail order brides, prairie life and wholesome goodness. Well I did get that out of this book...and then some.

I've been reading some reviews where people are offended or uncomfortable with the sexual content in this book. Ok, I'm going to be straightforward honest here. As someone who reads both general market AND Christian fiction, this book is extremely tame. What I got from this book was a husband and wife, who are newly married, started to enjoy all the benefits of marriage. They don't even consummate their marriage for several weeks. And when they do, they both discover that they enjoy it. What a foreign concept, a married couple who enjoys sex with each other! Seriously, it's actually quite refreshing to see a husband and wife love each other and enjoy being with each other. It's wonderful to see the passion out on display. I wonder though if people do think its scandalous to talk about people have sex during the day or *gasp* outside?


It's actually quite funny. If I hadn't seen those reviews beforehand (or actually even afterward as well), I honestly would have never thought twice about those scenes in this book. To me, they are normal. To readers of non Christian fiction, they are very tame. The complaints about those scenes make the book stand out to me more than it probably would have.

I did have some qualms about the story. Susannah's childhood relationships, especially with her mother, seem quite dysfunctional. She's been taught to hold in her feelings, be meek and mild and not be publicly affectionate. Even though she is very skilled in her knowledge of animals, due to her mother's attitude she's kept it in. It's never really mentioned as to why her mother acted this way nor are there any scenes where her mother shows that she does love her. Also while I understand it, I'm not a big fan of how the Native Americans are treated by the settlers in this book. There are some parts of the story that show that Richmond is a debut author, with cliches and plots that have been used in other stories.

However, I found this book to be refreshing and a good way to look at marriage. It shows a young bride who is absolutely clueless about anything dealing with love and affection, slowly grow to truly love her husband. I think Richmond has a promising career and with a few touch-ups in future books, will be a name to look for. I also hope she keeps bringing up the "forbidden" topics in her books. I say the more the merrier!

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond is published by Thomas Nelson (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with LitFuse Publicity

5 comments:

  1. LOL...must be the same group of people who couldn't handle all the passion in Julie Lessman's books that had complaints with this one! Personally, I'm all the more intrigued to read it now. :o)

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  2. What? Married people like sex?

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  3. Deborah, Thanks for your supportive review! Intimacy is an important issue in all relationships. For a mail order bride in the era of "close your eyes and think of England", it would be huge.
    Back in the '09s, Redbook published a survey with the results that evangelical Christian women had the best sex lives. Hmm, with everything God teaches us about love, it doesn't surprise me!
    My next book, Relying on Sophia goes deeper into the treatment of Native Americans during this time. Thanks again for reviewing Spring for Susannah!

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  4. Oops - make that back in the 1990s.

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  5. LOL, Deb -- "What a foreign concept, a married couple who enjoys sex with each other!"

    Love your comment and love, love, LOVED Spring for Susannah!!! As far as I'm concerned, the marital scenes were AWESOME!!! But then, I like seeing a beautiful, healthy marital relationship because I know that's exactly what God intends for married couples.

    Hugs,
    Julie

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