A NOBLE GROOM
Though Hedlund’s “mail order groom” plot is the fluff romance is made of, she doesn’t sugarcoat the realities of pioneer life. Love triumphing in such an environment gives this novel its satisfying, inspirational appeal but also its anachronistic flaw.
In 1881, Carl von Reichert flees the gallows and his privileged life as the son of a wealthy, tyrannical German baron to hide in a hardscrabble Michigan farming community. He meets the young widowed mother Annalisa Weiss, who considers herself more a plodding broodmare than a woman deserving of God’s (or any man’s) love. Carl’s courtly kindness, devotion to her daughter and willingness to help save her struggling farm kindles in Annalisa the hope that life can indeed be filled with love. (BETHANY HOUSE, Apr., 368 pp., $14.99)