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Solveig, Anne, and Libby each grow up in a different time and place, with different values. Solveig’s story begins the journey of the Jorgenson family as they immigrate from Norway and try to fit into the unfamiliar surroundings of New Oslo, Minnesota. With the arrival of their first American-born child, Anne, the Jorgenson’s lives begin to unravel.
An outsider in her own family for all of her life, Anne Jorgenson doesn’t understand why her parents don’t love her. Fame only widens the gap she feels. When her oldest brother, Karl, takes the first step toward reconciliation, Anne is guardedly receptive. It takes an accident involving Anne’s daughter, Libby, to finally bring Anne back to Minnesota, in an attempt to heal past hurts and reunite a family torn apart by their differences.
“Jorgenson residence,” Solveig Jorgenson answered the ringing telephone. It still annoyed her that the church council thought it necessary to install this machine in her home to interrupt her routine with its incessant ringing.
“I have a long-distance call for you, overseas,” the operator said. “Can you hold?”
“Of course I can,” she replied.
“Hello, Solveig,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
“Yes, this is Solveig.” She did not recognize the voice, and yet she knew to whom it belonged.
“This is Sven, is my brother Erik there?”
“Sven? From America?” she questioned foolishly.
“Yes, is Erik there?” He seemed only slightly annoyed with her being so hesitant about putting her husband on the line.
“Just a minute, Sven.” Trembling she called Erik to the phone. “Erik, it is your brother, Sven, from America.”
“Sven?” Erik questioned, glancing at the clock as he spoke into the receiver. It would be early, only eight in the morning in Minnesota.
“Yes, I called as I need to ask a favor of you.”
“A favor, what favor could I possibly do for you from so far away?”
“I have just returned from the hospital. I am dying, Erik.”
Sven said the words so calmly Erik could hardly comprehend them. “You are what?” he questioned.
“I am dying. I have cancer. The doctors have given me three months to live. My condition will weaken steadily. I met with the church council last evening. They would like you to come and take my place.”
“Are you serious?” Erik asked.
“I know it means uprooting your whole family and coming to America. It is too much to ask, but it would mean so much to me to have you here for the last few months, to know you would be caring for these people.”
“I’ve prayed for another sign, but I never expected a sign like this.”
“What are you saying, Erik?”
“I’ve been having a dream. In the dream, God told me to take my family and leave Norway. I was going to post a letter to you, asking if there were any openings in America.”
“God does answer prayers,” Sven said, sounding relieved. “Then you will come, you and your family?”
“Of course I will come, but what of your family?” Erik asked, realizing his acceptance would leave Sven and Ruth without a home.
“Ruth has her teaching certificate. She’s been teaching now for several years. We’ve been putting aside some money for the children’s educations as well as for our retirement. This community needed someone to teach who understood the language and loved the children. It has been a good arrangement all around. By being frugal and not trusting in the banks, we have not suffered as badly as most of the people in this country. “
“What about your own children?”
Sven seemed to relax and even managed to laugh. “Matthew is in college, he will graduate next year. Mark is working in Minneapolis and plans to be married at Christmas, and Martha is already married. She and her husband will make us grandparents soon. They are no longer children. You forget there are many years separating us. Ruth and I have been married for almost twenty-five years.”
Erik smiled. He momentarily forgot people aged. To him, Sven would always be the young man of twenty-five whom he watched sail away from Norway almost twenty-seven years ago. More than just age separated the brothers. He realized when he arrived in America he would be meeting a stranger.
Sven continued to talk, eager to tell his brother as much as he could in this unconventional way of talking across the ocean. “The money we have saved will make the down payment on a small home. With the Depression coming to an end, Ruth’s salary will enable her to live comfortably, when ...” he left the rest of the sentence unsaid. “I’m so pleased you are coming,” he continued, composing himself.
“So am I,” Erik said, swallowing the lump in his throat.
"Norway, 1939: Lutheran Pastor, Erik Jorgensen has a recurring dream in which the lord delivers a message, “Europe is destined for disaster-take your family and leave Norway.” Erik’s wife, Solveig, is heart-broke-Norway is her home, her love, her security. But, her place is beside her husband and if America is her destiny, it must be. The wonderfully written saga, Summer’s Child traces the family of Erik and Solveig, starting with their travel to America in search of God’s purpose for sending them. They, as the acorn, plant the family tree, with roots that wind throughout the years to link each member to another.
Author, Sherry Wille does a remarkable job of weaving a fascinating tapestry of family trials, tribulations, celebrations and anguish. There is so much substance to her work; the German invasion, the destruction of innocence, the building of dreams, the injustice of abuse, and the recapturing of hopes, once lost.
You’ll fall in love with the characters, share their emotions, and probably even identify with parts of the story line. At the point you learn the meaning of the title, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Summer’s Child is indeed a heart-warming, passionate story that in my opinion rivals some I’ve read on the New York Times Best Seller’s list. I congratulate Sherry Wille on a truly engrossing novel. What else can I do but highly recommend it. Review of SUMMER'S CHILD by: Ginger Simpson, Author, Prairie Peace"
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 440
Paper Weight (lb): 18.2