~ Until we Reach Home by Lynn Austin ~
This was a non-stop suprising and suspenseful novel. It deserves the highest rating!
It starts out in about late 17th century Sweden, where Elin, the oldest of three sisters (Elin,Kirsten,Sophia) feels the need to help her sisters move to start a new life in America, after having their beloved parents die, and their peverted uncle move in and take over. The Carlson sisters have had enough heartache, and their brother had before been forced to move out by Uncle Sven, who is now making perverted attempts at Sophia (the youngest) after doing so to Elin. Elin notices all this, and longs for her sisters to grow up in a safe haven. Elin begins writing her Uncle Lars in America, and is invited for her and her sisters to move in, under a condition that is mysterious to them at the moment. Sophia, the innocent sixteen-year old, regrets to leave her home, and is sorrowful on their journey. Kirsten, however, is furiously glad to go after being left heart-broken by Tor in Sweden. Little does she know she is carrying a suprise.
On their trip to America, through sea and rail-road, Elin is battling everything. Kirsten becomes flightsy and needy, Sophia becomes depressed, and Elin carries Typhus (sickness) on top of all her other burdens. This happens because she was taking care of a sick family.
Once they reach America, the Carlson sisters must pass inspection (physical health) to enter in America. Kirsten is sustained to a hospital because the doctors are hiding a secret about her "condition", while Elin is stuck in the hospital because of her typhus condition. Timid Sophia is left to wait in the inspection center, only speaking Swede, and she then meets a German man, who is a devoted Christian, and attempts to encourage her by looking up Scriptures, pointing the reference out and then she would look it up with numbers in her Bible. Not only does he play the violen beautifully, but his faith in God keep Sophia calm.
When Elin and Kirsten are released, there are some tension being held in. Kirsten is now hiding something from her sisters, and so is Elin. Once they arrive in America, they find out their condition to stay in America was to marry a stranger. Elin and her sisters refuse this condition, and so they must go to work to pay the men back.
The Carlson sisters end up working for a buttinsky old lady, who does not want to move out of her house, and who also is holding harsh feelings for her daughter in law. The Carlson sisters help the woman. The seemingly grouchy elderly woman adores Sophia's darling voice, and suggests she entertain folks with her gift. Meanwhile, Kirsten's secret is about to show.
Meanwhile, the girl's employer dies and leaves Elin a nursing scholarship, and Sophia a scholarship, along with Kirsten. Kirsten and Sophia also has surpises. Kirsten is getting married to a stranger, Sophia is taking the stage seriously, and Elin agrees to marry a man in Wisconsin she has been corresponding with, and offers her sisters to come with her even though they would not marry against their will. They all get angry, and it is up to God to sort everything out for them.
This heartwarming novel is perfect in every way, and is irrestible!