Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review: Dandelions on the Wind by Mona Hodgson (2013)

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is Maren Jensen's greatest desire to earn enough money to return home to Denmark before her eyesight fails her completely. A mail-order bride, her would-be husband refused her upon learning of her degenerative sight, abandoning her in St. Charles, Missouri. Maren now lives with the kindly Widow Brantenberg and her little granddaughter, Gabi, helping care for the house and the farm, but making no additional money to put aside for her return trip. It is only when Gabi's father, Woolly, returns alive from his time in the war between the states that Maren imagines the possibility of another life, a life of wholeness and love in St. Charles.

I am fond of historic literature, but lately prairie fiction is just not impressing me. Anything having to do with the 1850s to 1870s simply slides on past my radar as being mediocre. That could either be just me, or it could be that this book simply didn't snag my attention. I fear it's the latter. Sometimes novellas work and sometimes they don't. In Ms. Hodgson's case, her writing is excellent. She is masterful at creating genuine characters and placing them in real-life situations. It's just that I think Maren's story would have been much better suited to a full-length novel. Her story is interesting, but it moves far too quickly, and resolves itself too easily. For a young woman who earnestly desires to return to Denmark, she acquiesces to Woolly's attentions far too easily. It felt too simple, as if everything had been done before in various other books, in various other pairings. The guilt-ridden father finally returns home after his wife's death in order to care for his little girl. It's a familiar story and I guess I was expecting either something more, or something longer. It's nothing against Maren or even Woolly, it's just that it didn't live up to my expectations.

We'll see if the 2nd book in the series interests me any more than the first one.

- I received this book for free from Blogging for Books and Netgalley for this review.

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