In 1897, Geesje de Jonge is asked to write a memoir about her experience emigrating from the Netherlands to the Michigan wilderness in honor of her town's 50th anniversary. As Geesje recalls the events of the past, a young visitor, Anna Nicholson, mourns a broken engagement. Over the course of one summer, the lives of both women will change forever.
Lynn Austin returns with a multi-generational historical novel.
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age 17 with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she's asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.
At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, 23-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
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Disappointing for Lynn Austin, Poor Performance
Lynn Austin is amazing! Narration stinks
Captivating, Heartbreaking, Triumphant
I'm not sure I can compare it to another story. The 'rags to riches' for an abandoned orphan has been done, but not in this fashion. The 'tragedy to triumph' has also been done before, but this book pulled me in like very few have.
This is where it gets disappointing. Lynn Austin's previous narrators have set the bar quite high and I'm sad to say that these ladies did not meet expectations. The female voices were just okay, but the male voices were plodding and uninspired. They made me want to quit the book on more than one occasion. It was PAINFUL to listen to the men speak. I would definitely hesitate if I saw any one of these ladies on another recording.
I've listened to nearly every one of Lynn Austin's books and I was not disappointed by this book. Well, at least not by the writing. The narration leaves much to be desired. Also, the book did not have the ending I was expecting. I'm hoping there will be a sequel!
- M. Holmes