Friday, October 30, 2015

Streams of Mercy

by Lauraine Snelling

Summary from GoodReads

Anji Baard Moen, a recent widow, returns from Norway with her children. She quickly settles back into life in Blessing, teaching Norwegian history in the high school and writing articles for the Blessing Gazette. When tragedy strikes, Anji steps in to run the newspaper and soon finds a kindred spirit in the widower who owns the printing press. As they spend time together, Anji wonders if there's something more than friendship growing between them.

But Anji has also caught the eye of a recent arrival to Blessing. He has put his carpentry skills to good use on the town's building projects, including Anji's house. But Anji is torn between her feelings of loyalty to someone who needs her and the chance to build a new life with this intriguing newcomer.

Where will her choice take her?

Thoughts on the Book

I love the world of Blessing, North Dakota and the Bjorklunds.  I grew up reading them and I will continue to read them for as long as Snelling continues to publish them.  The description made me really nervous though, Thorliff, one of my favorite characters ever written, owns the newspaper.

My Review

This book is about a train that comes into Blessing seeking medical attention.  It also continues everyone's story, focusing on Ingeborg (of course), Anji, and Devlin.

This is probably my least favorite of the entire series, bumping up Blessing in Disguise's ranking.  It didn't have the same rhythm and feeling as all the others.  It seemed kind of forced.  The characters were pretty flat and there was a lot, and I mean a lot of reminiscing.  Weird uncalled for reminiscing.  Like Kaaren out of nowhere stating that she was randomly crying one day and realized that it was because she missed Carl, Gunny, and Lizzie.  The books have progressively getting much more religious focused too.  It used to be religion was just a part of who they were, now it's like any chance Snelling gets she randomly adds a quote from the scripture.  It's part of the problem with the flow of the book, it doesn't occur naturally it's so forced.

Another issue I had with the book was Anji.  I didn't care about her at all.  I used to really like her, then she screwed over Thorliff, and now?  I still find her totally unlikable.  Maybe I would have cared more if the love interest wasn't Devlin.  If she were still in love with Thorliff and after her husband died she came back and suffered while Thorliff was living a happy life with Elizabeth and their children.

I don't understand why Ingeborg was such a focus in this story.  Lately it's seemed like she's the main focus of everything, but in the original series half of the books she was a side character.  As well as a few of the sub-sequential series.  There was absolutely nothing going on with her in this book, but there were a lot of scenes, for no reason, at the farm.  Since Anji was supposed to be the main focus of the story I was expecting to see a lot more of Penny (and Hjemler) but then were both mentioned once.  And Penny's daughter was mentioned out of the blue in one section.

Overall I'm giving this a 5.5/10.  It felt too forced and there were so many things that just didn't feel right.  Characters that should have been crucial to the story (Astrid, Elizabeth, Deborah, Miriam, Penny) barely showed up or were missing completely and characters that served no purpose were in it a lot (Ingeborg, Emily, Manny).  I'm hoping the next in the series brings back the original feel to the world of Blessing.

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