Friday, January 18, 2013

Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren

 The Captain's Bride is the first of a trilogy depicting the new lives sought by Norwegian immigrants in the 1880s and also the dangers and excitement of America's sea faring days.  Luckily for any readers finishing the first book, books two and three are already in stores.  Lucky because the stories of all the major characters are left unresolved.  While a well written novel, The Captain's Bride ends like the movie reel broke and could not be fixed or you turned the last page in a journal.-  life for everyone goes on, but you don't have a window into it.

Here are the characters who will sweep you up into their adventures and trials.  Elsa and Peder Ramsted are newly weds.  Peder has been away at sea for years, but has finally returned a captain, with his own ship.  Elsa will accompany him to the New World,  as will a group of passengers from their village.  Some will settle in the East and help Peder with the ship building business he will start.  Others, like  young pregnant Kaatje and her husband Soren, will travel to North Dakota for homesteading claims.  Kaatje prays that Soren's wandering eyes and unfaithfulness will end in the new land as he has promised, but when Elsa's attractive, impetuous  sister Tora sneaks aboard the ship, problems arise.

Life is not easy for any of the former Bergen residents   Independent Elsa struggles under her husband's domineering, although loving, hand.  First mate Karl Martensen, Peder's best friend since  childhood, battles jealously, envy, and a growing fondness for the strking Elsa.  Tora's selfish choices abound and shock.  Add in pirates at sea, a cut throat railroad industry, and the cruel    North Dakota weather; and you will find excitement on each page.

I am extremely curious what will happen with Peder in future books.  He is the only character that I do not find acting "true to character" in the story, and I wonder if that means he will permanently fail Elsa in the future.  He seems to struggle with a desire to support his strong willed, talented wife and holding to his preconceived notions of being a captain and a husband, and I had a hard time with his flip flopping.

I received a copy from Blogging for Books for a honest review.  All comments are my own.

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