The Icecutter’s Daughter by Tracie Peterson
Land of Shining Water, #1
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Pages: 352 Trade Paperback
Date Published: March 1st, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House
As the lone female in a houseful of men, Merrill Krause dedicates her life to caring for her family and their business, as her dying mother asked. Besides, it suits her; she’s never felt like she fits what most people expect in a girl–she’d rather work with her father’s horses and assist with the ice harvest. And though she’s been mostly content up to this point, a part of her wonders if there will ever be anyone who will notice her amid the bevy of brothers determined to protect her from any possible suitors.
When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small Minnesota town to join his uncle’s carpentry business, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn’t intimidated by them or by Merrill’s strength and lack of femininity. The attraction between them begins to build…until Rurik’s former fiance shows up with wild claims that bring serious consequences to Rurik.
Can Rurik and Merrill learn to trust God–and each other–when scandal threatens their newfound love?
This morning when I was looking at choices for books that I needed to read and review in the new year I never expected to be so captivated to read and finish a good size story in one day. Tracie Peterson has been a favorite Christian Historical Fiction author of mine since I first became so enthralled with the genre, but even in the past it is not common for me to get well beyond three hundred pages in a single day. It probably took me four or five sittings (in between battery charges for my Kindle Fire!) but I just had to come back and know what would happen next for Merrill Jean and Rurik.
Starting in, this story made me think of characters from Lauraine Snelling with their German and Swedish ancestry and I guess if I think about it, especially in her Alaskan novels Tracie has already had some of these elements, but being in Minnesota and Kansas this time for some reason it stuck out. There were bits and pieces of accent thrown in here and there, but gladly for me it was enough English that I was able to read it without confusion of translation that sometimes occurs when authors put it a little too much into character history.
Our story starts in Kansas and makes it’s way to Minnesota to a cold cold area and thinking about the times changing and people changing with them is very interesting and I could see this novel being able to spark a lot of conversation about history in both occupations and traditions. Overall I loved this book, as I guess is apparent by the fact that I was hardly able to put it down. However, I couldn’t go with a full star rating because the relationship with Rurick and his “best friend” Nils just bugged me too much. Rurick is such a strong and caring character to see him just kinda stare clueless while Nils used him was too much for me, as you might have seen in my status commentary while I was reading and updating on Goodreads as I went. Yet, I suppose I can relate in a friendship with someone I just wasn’t willing to give up on even though “the signs” were there. However in the end there is always the “chance” of redemption and I think the whole of this story is put down pretty well. I am curious if in the later books in the series Nils and his “issues” will be addressed in more detail, because if not I feel a little lost. Otherwise it’s an intriguing set up.
The characters throughout this story were great. The family loving, the friends caring, the antagonists agonizing as only Tracie Peterson seems to know how and the protagonists breathtaking and worth many grins. I’ll say it, another worthy read from Tracie, but then it’s a historical from Tracie, so that’s practically a given.
*Thanks to Bethany House for loaning an eARC for review through NetGalley. I definitely hope to add a real copy to my shelves as it is released in March (read December 31st, 2012). Thanks to the publisher for providing a physical real copy through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in March!*
Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 85 novels.
She received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.
In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers to co-write a series with author Judith Pella. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers.
She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.
Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests.
Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max. She’s active in her church as the Director of Women’s Ministries, coordinates a yearly writer’s retreat for published authors, and travels, as time permits, to research her books.