Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature where I highlight a soon to be released book I can't wait to read.
This week's pick: The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin
Due out January 12, 2021
Synopsis taken from Amazon:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.
The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats--leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At just the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn't get lost in the storm?
Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers--one who becomes a hero of the storm, and one who finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It's also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured Northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn't care what lies they told these families to get them there--or whose land it originally was.
At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents' choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today--because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.
Yes, definitely want to read this. There was another NF with the same title, I recall from about 10-15 years ago.
I think this book sounds very good and I'll put it on my list. I thought I had read another book about this event (not the one Diane mentioned), but it turned out it was about an avalanche in 1920 and children were caught in it. That book was Whiter Than Snow and it was by Sandra Dallas.
I remember the Little House episode about this event, and I also read the NF book, The Children's Blizzard. I'll be reading this for sure.
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