Title: The Promise of Dawn
Author: Lauraine Snelling
Genre: Historical Fiction
First impressions: I read the blurb, thinking it would be a different yet interesting story. I found the Norwegian phrases pretty simple to understand based on the context even though I wasn’t expecting the other language at all.
Summary: A family travels from Norway to Minnesota. They work hard to build a new life in another country, which isn’t easy.
Characters: The story revolves around the Carlson family, which are a likeable bunch. Gerd and Einar, the uncle and aunt, are not, but that changes as the book progresses. I enjoyed the various family dynamics and interactions.
Because Einar is not the nicest man, to say the least, I anticipated some kind of backstory or at least a reason as to why he’s so mean. Unfortunately, I never got any answers.
“Gratitude was valuable.”
Conflict: Both the uncle and aunt have high expectations. The mother, Signe, begins to lose her faith in God as a lot of things go wrong for her family in America.
More exciting events happened at the beginning and near the end, which left the middle feeling somewhat dull and flat at times.
Writing: It’s descriptive. Most of the Norwegian happens in dialogue or internal monologues. I think there were some minor errors and sentences that could’ve been written better.
I guess my only real gripe is that not a lot happens. I also feel some characters didn’t have much agency. Reading about the family’s day to day life got repetitive. Even some of the words or phrases were used often. Perhaps the book would’ve benefited if several parts were cut, and it was a shorter novel.
Final thoughts: Even though The Promise of Dawn isn’t what I normally gravitate towards picking up, I learned a lot while reading it. The story is set in the early twentieth century.
I recommend it if you’re interested in historical books with a particular focus on families.
Overall, it was a nice departure from what I have been reading recently and will likely continue to read. If you thought thrillers, you thought right. While I don’t mind historical fiction, I find them a bit tougher to relate to as the characters face problems so dissimilar from my own.
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