Skip to main content

A Harvest of Hope: Song of Blessing, Book 2


A Harvest of Hope: Song of Blessing, Book 2

Lauraine Snelling’s latest novel, A HARVEST OF HOPE, brings us to the North Dakota town of Blessing in 1905. We are blessed to meet, again (if we’re seasoned readers of Snelling’s work) or for the first time (if we’re not), the rich tapestry of characters who populate Blessing. 

Miriam Hastings, a Chicago nursing student, has been serving in Blessing’s only hospital under the tutelage of Dr. Astrid Bjorklund Jeffers. While she has come to love Blessing and its residents, she has vowed to return to Chicago to care for her infirm mother and her younger siblings, who live in a rundown tenement there. Miriam’s life plan does not include falling in love with Trygve Knutson, trusting God (who, to her mind, has proven unreliable), or staying in Blessing after her contract with the hospital is completed. She needs to return to Chicago to work and provide for her family.

Miriam must make a hurried trip home when she hears that her mother is failing and not expected to survive, despite the excellent nursing care she’s received by the hospital that oversaw Miriam’s training. Miriam is able to spend precious time with her mother and with her younger brothers and sisters. They’ve had work, and salaries, provided by the hospital and Mrs. Korsheki, Miriam’s supervisor, so their outlook is not as desperate as it was before. How she wishes she could stay to care for them, or that they could accompany her to Blessing, to a healthy life in the countryside with them! But Miriam must return to Blessing, for now, alone.

"Even if you’ve never read one of Snelling’s books, you’ll love getting to know Miriam, Trygve, Ingeborg and all the richly drawn characters of Blessing."

In Blessing, Ingeborg is still suffering from the loss of her beloved husband and trying to stay, with the Lord’s help, out of the pit of depression. Her family and friends are ever-present and willing to assist, but she still has to walk out this path on her own. Her daughter, Dr. Astrid Bjorklund Jeffers, is burning the candle at both ends running the hospital as its only doctor; she’s taking up the slack from Dr. Elizabeth Bjorklund’s prescribed bed rest due to a precarious pregnancy. Astrid is busy from morning to night seeing patients, performing surgeries, and instructing the nurses who are training there. And Trygve is helping wherever he can --- whether it’s at Ingeborg’s farm with the animals or elsewhere as needed…and he’s counting the days until Miriam steps off the train from Chicago. 

Trygve’s heart has belonged to Miriam since the first moment he saw her. But since loving and marrying in Blessing are not part of her life’s plan, she has sought to remain distant from him. Yet all the while, she’s attracted --- to his strength, his faithfulness, and his gentle and patient love for her. She just doesn’t see any way she can combine caring for her siblings with staying in Blessing, and marrying. Mrs. Korsheki tries to encourage her, telling her that God’s plans for her are infinitely better than those she can plan for herself. But since Miriam’s faith was not strengthened by what she saw as her mother’s many unanswered prayers, she brushes that idea aside. 

Meanwhile, as always, there is much going on in Blessing. The Blessing bank, capably overseen for years by Anner Valders, seems to be in a tight spot. The immigrant workers, housed in tent camps, desperately need homes with four walls before North Dakota’s frigid winter blows in. And a shocking fire strikes when Blessing least expects it, to devastating results.

This newest novel, Snelling’s second in the Song of Blessing series, continues the story of Miriam and Trygve while we’re able to revisit Blessing and all the other characters who readers of her work have come to know and love. She is gifted with creating place and people whom readers will never forget, and here we get to look on as each one experiences life, sorrows and love. Even if you’ve never read one of Snelling’s books, you’ll love getting to know Miriam, Trygve, Ingeborg and all the richly drawn characters of Blessing. Will Miriam decide that God is trustworthy…and that His plans are better than any she can devise? Read A HARVEST OF HOPE to find out!

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on April 24, 2015

A Harvest of Hope: Song of Blessing, Book 2
by Lauraine Snelling