Song of Joy (Under Northern Skies)

Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by B. J. Sedlock

This is the fourth of the author’s Under Northern Skies series. Norwegian immigrant Nilda Carlson lives in a lumber town in Minnesota in 1911, working as a secretary to wealthy Gertrude Schoenleber, who is also helping Nilda with English and music lessons.

Nilda is troubled by her recent past, a sexual assault by a man later found dead. She had thought the case was closed, but a suspicious Pinkerton agent turns up to interview her. She is reluctant about being courted by Gertrude’s arrogant nephew Jeffrey. And Gertrude puts Nilda in charge of an ambitious charitable project, but Nilda isn’t sure her background will give her enough authority.

Readers who relish domestic details from historical eras, such as the progress of a croquet game or breakfast table conversations on farm life, will appreciate the story. Nilda’s warm relationship with schoolteacher Fritz contrasts with Jeffrey’s pouting and whining. Since I had not read the previous volumes, I wished for a character list to keep Nilda’s family relations back on the farm all straight. I liked the depiction of an immigrant struggling to fit into life in her new country. Snelling’s many fans will love it.