Sophie’s Dilemma

Written by Lauraine Snelling
Review by Lucille Cormier

The story opens in autumn of 1901 in the small immigrant community of Blessing, North Dakota. Norwegian settlers there have become successful farmers and builders. In Blessing all the necessities of life are homemade and home-grown. The community is strongly knit by family ties and friendships and sealed by common religious beliefs. Praying and praising in Blessing are as much a part of the conversation as talk about the weather.

But Blessing seems small and boring to Sophie Knutson. She has yearned for travel and adventure as long as she can remember. Her dream turns to misadventure as she elopes to Seattle with a handsome young fisherman.

Sophie’s Dilemma is a coming-of-age story where the hard lessons of adolescence are learned and resolved in a Christian environment. All ends well for Sophie as she prays and asks forgiveness for the heartache she has caused.

From a historical perspective, the story is rich in period detail. From a religious perspective it provides a model of life in a community where God is the most important member. From a literary point of view, the story and its characters are as flat and predictable as Blessing itself. No wonder Sophie wanted to escape!