For those of us who grew up on (and maybe never grew out of) Little House books, Christian author Lauraine Snelling feeds our ongoing fascination with life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by telling stories set in Blessing, North Dakota. No
Distance Too Far, the second in the Home to Blessing series, continues the story of young Dr. Astrid Bjorkland, who has just finished medical training in Chicago and thinks that God may be calling her to the African mission field.
Living in a time when women are newcomers to medicine and single women as missionaries aren't commonplace, Astrid faces her share of challenges. For most of the book, Astrid is studying at a Southern Bible college preparing for life as a foreign missionary. She learns the importance of memorizing Scripture, following God's instructions one step at a time, and keeping her thoughts and comments in check.
Back in Blessing, Astrid's friends and family, trying to adjust to life without her, are learning their own lessons in love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Their lives are centered on their church, family, and community activities as well as challenges in their growing town, railroads, and relations with Native Americans. When Astrid is called back home for an emergency, the main characters find themselves at a crossroads, and they must consciously rely on God to get them through.
Although the novel contains nothing objectionable in language and circumstances, I'd recommend the readers be teens and above. Because of the medical issues, moms may want to read it first to pre-screen its content. It is mostly a pleasure book, but it certainly could be used as part of character training or perhaps as a way to make history lessons come alive. It is also ideal for a continuing book club (for teens and/or adults).
Pros: It is wonderful to read a Christian book that is filled with dreams, challenges, and love. Sigh! God's presence is an important part of the book, and the time the characters spend in prayer, Bible study, and reflection is refreshing and inspiring. Some books will quote Scripture or insert it here and there, but in this book Christian character is integral to the fabric of the tale.
Cons: This is book two in a series, so the experience would have been better for me if I had read the first book before this one. It also ends without resolution to a few of the main story lines. I realize that's because it is a series, but as a stand-alone book, its ending is unsatisfactory.
No Distance Too Far was a lovely summer treat to read. I'd recommend this or any Lauraine Snelling book to Little House fans or anyone else who enjoys historical and/or Christian fiction.