A Time to Bloom
Will their dreams fall apart when confronted with all that is stacked against them?
Delphinium Nielsen and her sisters have accomplished much in the past year, traveling west and settling in Nebraska. They are on their way to building a garden in dedication to their mother and working against the forces of nature to make their farm thrive. However, none of that can mask their concern that they are quickly running out of money. Del's work teaching in their booming town offers hope, not only to support her sisters financially, but also to better her students' lives. Not all of the town sees it that way, though, with the rebuilding of the schoolhouse continually neglected and her brightest student's father demanding he work the farm instead of attend class.
When their brother Anders arrives with his war-wounded and heartbroken friend RJ, Anders sees the strength of the sisters' idea to start a boardinghouse and decides to invest in it. Del finds RJ barely polite and wants nothing to do with him. But despite Del and her sisters' best-laid plans, the future--and RJ--might surprise them all.
A Time to Bloom by Lauraine Snelling sweeps us back to 1866 in Salton, Nebraska. The Nielsen sisters are working hard on their farm and to bring the businesses necessary for the people in their area to thrive. Del Nielsen is the town’s schoolteacher and the only family member bringing in money. Del is frustrated that the men in town are slow to rebuild the school. She finds it frustrating to teach in the church where she cannot have things set up as she would in a proper classroom. Del loves teaching and wants to provide the best possible education for her scholars. One of her students, Tim is extremely bright, but his father prioritizes farm work over school. Two other students have a father who frequently visits the liquor tent and takes out his drunken rages on his family. Anders Nielsen, the sister’s brother, visits to bring needed supplies and see about the boarding house the ladies which to erect. He brings his friend, RJ Easton who survived the war only to be attacked on his way home by an angry confederate. His wound continues to pain him. RJ was looking forward to marrying his sweetheart. He arrived home to learn that she married someone else why he was away fighting. A fresh start is just what RJ needs. His background makes him the perfect person to head the boardinghouse project. RJ gets off on the wrong foot with Del. She tolerates him but does her best to avoid him. God has a way of changing the best laid plans.
A Time to Bloom is the second novel in Leah’s Garden. It picks up where The Seeds of Change ended. I suggest reading the series in order as it will allow you to get to know the Nielsen’s along with their dreams. I thought A Time to Bloom was well-written with realistic, developed characters. The Nielsen sisters are very busy with the farm, school, and boarding house. I do not know how they manage to accomplish so much in a day (I would be worn out after an hour). Life is not easy in Nebraska at this time. They face many challenges that include grasshoppers that destroy crops, a twister that destroyed the school, a liquor tent set up near the town, which is causing problems, family violence and so much more. They do not have the luxury of modern conveniences, nor do they have much money. These bright women manage to come up with some clever ideas. Lark has more ideas than time. These sisters have dreams, and they intend to see them to fruition. There most important goal is establishing Leah’s Garden in honor of their mother. The Nielsen sisters are lucky to have Anders as well as their friends to help them. People work together to improve the town and their lives.
The Nielsen’s also have their faith. They know that God will help them and guide them. They must rely on him and his timing which each of them struggle with (patience is a virtue). The author addresses difficult topics in A Time to Bloom. Alcoholism, racism, and domestic violence are just three of the issues. I thought the author did a wonderful job handling these difficult subjects. I can tell Ms. Snelling did her research into the time period. She really captured the attitudes, language, dress, inventions, conveyances, etc. I thought faith was beautifully incorporated into the story. My favorite line from A Time to Bloom is, “But my ma would say we’re not supposed to be in charge anyway. That’s what God is for.” I look forward to returning to the Nielsen sisters’ story in the next installment of Leah’s Garden. A Time to Bloom is a heartwarming tale with galling grasshoppers, a blossoming township, a worrying wound, liquor tent troubles, a mastermind at mathematics, and three savvy sisters.
A Time to Bloom will be available on June 7 and it can be preordered from Amazon*. The first book in Leah's Garden is The Seeds of Change. You can find Lauraine Snelling's other novels here. Lauraine Snelling has written some wonderful books (I have read them all). My favorite is her contemporary Christian novel The Healing Quilt. I enjoyed the references to lilac's in the story. I am highly allergic to their blooms, but it is one of my favorite trees. When we lived in German Village (in Columbus, Ohio), we had a lilac tree in our backyard. It would bloom in the spring with beautiful, fragrant purple flowers. I loved to look at the tree despite my allergies (we had a swing underneath it where I could sit and read). Thank you for visiting today and reading my book review. I will be back on Monday with The Sea Nurses by Kate Eastham. I hope that you have a calm, relaxing weekend. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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