A Harvest of Hope: Song of Blessing, v.2

Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by Kevin Montgomery

Miriam Hastings, a nursing student, is an intern at a North Dakota hospital. She can’t decide if she should return to her family in Chicago or stay out west to start a new life with Trygve Knutson, the man who loves her.

There are nineteen names in the first three pages, and many more in almost every chapter. Many of the names are Norwegian (like Trygve, which is difficult for English speakers to pronounce) or Native American, so the gender of some characters isn’t immediately apparent unless there’s a nearby pronoun.

The novel doesn’t follow normal storytelling rules, like hero, heroine, villain, character flaws, conflict, rising action, more conflict, and finally, resolution of the problem. In fact, there’s no real problem, and no clearly defined bad guy. There’s a banker, but he’s not the antagonist of the presumed hero. There’s also nothing historical about it. It’s just a nice little narrative about typical life on the plains in 1905 and how people help each other through difficult times.

There are so many names. This is one of those novels that you have to read in only one or two sittings or you’ll lose track of who everybody is. For this reviewer, it was not an easy read.