A Promise for Ellie

Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by B. J. Sedlock

Ellie Wold and Andrew Bjorklund are engaged and looking forward to a life together, farming the Dakota prairies in 1900. When Andrew’s father asks them to delay the wedding from the spring until after the harvest, Andrew is mulishly resistant to having his plans overturned. It soon becomes the worst summer of his life, when Ellie is injured in the fire that destroys their new barn. Andrew, suspecting his boyhood enemy Toby of arson, lets his temper get the better of him and is jailed for assault.

This is the first volume of Daughters of Blessing, a sequel to Snelling’s Red River of the North series. Farming, weddings, and babies figure largely in the plot, with religious content on the heavy side. Snelling creates some good word-pictures, as in a scene where a mother gives a toddler a piece of candy, then reaps the sticky consequences. The main characters are well developed, and I didn’t feel the lack of not having read the original series. I enjoyed it much more than Snelling’s earlier novel Amethyst, which I previously reviewed for this magazine.