Book Review: Until we reach home

Until we reach home: By Lynn Austin

until we reach home

Genre: Historical fiction, Christian Fiction, 

Synopsis: 

Life in Sweden feels like an endless winter to Elin Carlson after the deaths of her parents. When circumstances become unbearable, she determines to find a safe haven for her sisters.

So begins their journey to America . . . the land of dreams and second chances.

But as hardship becomes their constant companion, Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia question their decision to immigrate to Chicago. Will their hopes for the future ever be realized?

Only in crossing what seems like an endless ocean will they find the true meaning of love, faith and home.

My take:

I’m not going to lie. This book made me cry multiple times. The endless hardship that these sisters goes through touches a reader’s heart. I almost felt as if I rode alongside them on the ship crossing the atlantic; as if I were standing with them in the massive hall of immigration when they arrived, feeling the intense anxiety.

Of course, once they arrived and are processed, once they arrive at their uncle’s house, nothing is what was promised. Their aunt and uncle aren’t any better off financially than they are, and it almost seems as if things are worse. Almost.

This book is not so much a love story, though their are faint romantic subplots. It is a depiction of three immigrants’ journey from Sweden to the U.S. It’s also a depiction of a journey within their own hearts. Their lives change drastically, and throughout their long, difficult, tiring journey, they begin to each rediscover the faith that they had each lost for different reasons along the way.

Each of the girls’ emotional responses, their personalities, their flaws, and their development, are all authentic throughout the book. Again, there is no preaching, no doctrinal declaration directed at the reader. Austin is adept at weaving a story that leaves the reader wondering, thinking, pondering. You have the freedom to decide for yourself what faith means to you in your own heart. I appreciate that and that’s one reason I love almost all of the books I’ve read by her.

If you like historical fiction, with deeply emotional characters,this is a story you will thoroughly enjoy.

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