Having enjoyed Cindy Rinaman Marsch’s debut novel Rosette (which I reviewed here), I was pleased to learn that she subsequently published a short sequel ebook, Blizzard, which is the equivalent of around 35 pages of print.
Blizzard is based on a single episode when Rosette is living with her son DeWitt, daughter-in-law Lillie and small granddaughter Floy in a tiny sod shanty in harsh prairie country. When a freak snowstorm descends unexpectedly, just as DeWitt and nine-month-pregnant Lillie have started walking to the nearest town where she is to give birth, Rosette has to act fast to save her family.
The severity of the storm is life-threatening, even for those indoors. We share Rosette’s anxiety as she battles for the survival of her granddaughter and herself, and her fear for the safety of DeWitt, Lillie and their unborn child. The author conveys very effectively the emotional and physical strains of living in such punishing conditions, which make one wonder how on earth any pioneer community survived long-term.
Sensitive Story of Relationships
The details of Floy’s relationship with all three adults in this claustrophobic home are painted sensitively and touchingly, as is Rosette’s position in a household where she is less than welcomed by her daughter-in-law at least.
Like the author’s first novel, this reminded me very much of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic autobiographical tales, especially The Long Winter, and renewed my admiration for the early settlers of North America.
Marsch has tapped into a rich seam and niche here, drawing on real-life journals as the starting point for her fiction, and she is carrying it off with a pleasing balance of insight, compassion and fact. I hope there will be more to come, whether in quick reads. Like this one or full-length novels.
- Rosette by Cindy Rinaman Marsch
- Duty and Dishonour by Shaun Ivory
- The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale