Until We Reach Home

Written by Lynn Austin
Review by Viviane Crystal

Life’s vicissitudes have conspired to force Elin, Sofia and Kirsten Carlson to do the unimaginable, to leave the land they have loved and cherished in Sweden in 1897. It’s a time when females really don’t have much say. The death of their parents, the abuse Elin has suffered from a vile relative, and the promise of more hardship gradually draw the sisters to agree that life in Chicago bears more promise of financial and emotional stability than they have known in a very long time. A wise, compassionate young man comforts the girls with Biblical verses through a grueling shipboard journey, and strangers offer compassionate, merciful help when typhus hits them so hard they are worried they will be deported to Europe.

On reaching America, however, these young women discover their uncle has sent Elin travel money acquired from men hoping to buy wives in Wisconsin short of female residents. Can the sisters pay their way out of this totally shocking scheme? Becoming servants for a demanding female employer in a mansion, they reach out carefully to heal a lonely, bitter woman, a process that forces them to realize what they have that is more precious than any amount of money. Just as they let go of worrying about the future, through a most unexpected gift, the sisters realize how the Lord has blessed them with abundance to choose a future they will continue to embrace in spite of any difficulty, grounded in a life of faith and love for God and each other. Lynn Austin crafts a fine story as these characters mature to depict a prayerful tradition close to many readers’ hearts, the love that binds family and true friends. A touching, realistic and inspirational read!