Monday, June 13, 2011

Spring for Susannah -- giveaway -- and an interview with Catherine Richmond

Author: Catherine Richmond
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
June 14, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-924-2
Genre: Inspirational/historical

Susannah is traveling to the Dakota territories as a mail order bride. The pastor back in Detroit married her to his brother, Jesse, by proxy, so they were married when she arrived, but Jesse isn’t satisfied with that, so they repeat the vows on the way back to his homestead. While Susannah wasn’t sure what to expect, a talkative man and a soddy wasn’t what she had in mind.

Jesse is a loving and patient man, and he appreciates all the work Susannah is willing to do around his homestead—including veterinarian work on his animals. But he is anxious for his rights as a married man, and he wants Susannah to talk to him. But she is cowering and afraid.

What will it take for Jesse and Susannah to connect? Will their marriage ever be what Jesse dreams? Will Susannah rediscover the God she abandoned?

SPRING FOR SUSANNAH is the debut novel by Catherine Richmond. I loved the little prayer blurbs by Jesse at the beginning of each chapter, but he didn’t have much in the way of point of view in the book until nearer the end.

The story is good, well written, and with some surprising twists that kept it from being your run-of-the-mill mail-order bride story. My only complaints are that there is next to zero sexual tension between the couple (even though they have sex), and the story doesn’t come alive at all. It’s flat, and left me unable to fully connect with the characters. The story was good. It had the potential of being outstanding. Discussion questions are included. 4 stars. $15.99. 348 pages.


About the book: Booklist says, "Inspired by [folk] lyrics, Richmond arrives on the inspirational fiction scene with a moving debut novel. Readers will be filled with hope that Susannah will learn the true meaning of love. Highly recommended where inspiring, romantic historical fiction is in demand."

Hundreds of miles from home, Susannah faces an uncertain future as a mail-order bride on the untamed Dakota prairie.

When her parents die suddenly, and no suitors call, Susannah resigns herself to the only option available: becoming a mail-order bride. Agreeing to marry her pastor's brother, Jesse, Susannah leaves the only home she's ever known for the untamed frontier of the Dakota Territory .

Her new husband is more loving and patient with her than she believes she deserves. Still, there is also a wildness to him that mirrors the wilderness surrounding them. And Susannah finds herself constantly on edge. But Jesse's confidence in her-and his faith in God's perfect plan-slowly begin to chip away at the wall she hides behind.

When she miscarries in the brutal Dakota winter, Susannah's fledgling faith in herself and in God begins to crumble. Still, Jesse's love is unwavering. Just when it seems like winter will never end, Susannah finally sees the first tentative evidence of spring. And with it, the realization that more than the landscape has changed.

She looks to the future with a renewed heart. Yet in her wildest dreams, she couldn't predict all that awaits her.

About Catherine: Catherine Richmond was focused on her career as an occupational therapist till a special song planted a story idea in her mind. That idea would ultimately become Spring for Susannah, her first novel. She is also a founder and moderator of Nebraska Novelist critique group and lives in Nebraska with her husband.

For more about Catherine, please visit

Link to buy the book:

About the giveaway and party: To celebrate her debut novel, Catherine and her publisher, Thomas Nelson, have teamed up to give away a Spring For Susannah Prize Package worth over $150!

One grand prize winner will receive:

* A brand new Latest Generation KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Screen
* Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond (for KINDLE)

To enter just click the icon on the sidebar and then tell your friends! But hurry, giveaway ends on June 27th. Winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 28th at 5 PM (6PM MST, 7PM CST, & 8PM EST) during Catherine's Spring for Susannah Book Club Party on Facebook! Catherine is rustling up some fun for the party - she'll be chatting about the story behind her novel, hosting a book club chat, testing your mail-order bride trivia skills, and giving away some GREAT prizes! Don't miss the fun and tell your friends!

Blog tour schedule: (please include the link to the blog tour post in your review:


Interview with Catherine:

Laura, thanks for having me on your blog - what an honor!

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I came to writing on the scenic route. While raising my family and working as an occupational therapist, I heard a beautiful song about a mail order bride. I felt the wind blowing the prairie grass, smelled the hot sun on the railroad ties, and heard the train whistle. The whole story rolled out like a movie.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

The road to publication had a few detours. First, I had to learn to write! I'm blessed with a great critique group, Nebraska Novelists. The discipline of producing five pages a week, the honing of skills through critiquing, and the creativity of the other writers, help me strive toward continuous improvement. So my advice to new writers would be, move to Omaha and join us!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

The song mentioned North Dakota and a train, so that's where I started my research. The history is unique: what if you built a railroad and no one came? The Northern Pacific charged west from Fargo to Bismarck, then went bankrupt, plunging the country into the Panic of 1873. Immigration didn't start up again until the 1880s.

When historian Glenda Riley spoke at the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., I asked her why women became mail order brides. Her answer: men. The civil war, gold rushes, and various other "go west young man" lures had drained the East of men. Women of all ages, education, and economic strata, signed up to become mail order brides.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

Believing I didn't want to preach to the choir, I tried to sell this story to ABA publishers. But the faith element was too strong. I've been a Christian since I was fourteen; it's the only way life makes any sense. And how can you have a happy ending - a really happy ending - without Jesus?

When bad things happen - say a dead car battery or illness - my confidence is shaken and I'm quick to ask "Why me?" Susannah had a series of disasters, her parents' deaths and being attacked in her home. And she didn't have the resources, a loving home life and faith in God, needed to recover. And like Susannah, I love dogs!

How has being published changed your life?

The unexpected change since signing a contract is I'm no longer anonymous! I didn't realize this until ACFW '10. How exciting to be a Thomas Nelson author!

What are you reading right now?

I just finished reading Lorna Seilstad's A Great Catch. It was the perfect read as the heroine is also struggling with managing her time. Lorna's delightful sense of humor shines through each page. And I just started Rosslyn Elliott's Fairer than Morning. Rosslyn's expertise in the setting and history have me time-traveling to 1823.

What is your current work in progress?

I turned in my second novel, Relying on Sophia, last week. Set on the Ponca agency in 1876, it shows the events leading up to the landmark civil rights case where an Indian was declared a person. This story shows how God's people worked together to change history. Like Susannah, Sophia is looking for a life of significance, a way to make a difference in this world.

Tell us about the book.

With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Underhill agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister’s homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn’t see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.
In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn’t look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father’s veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse’s ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.
But Susannah’s feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can’t believe that Jesse’s praise—or the tenderness and love he shows—could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.

What do you want readers to take away from the book?

I hope readers will find hope in Spring for Susannah. Drawing closer to God helps brings a fulfilling sense of purpose and peace, something we all need. Thinking about Susannah, makes me thank God for my ancestors - their hard work and perseverance, and for all the inventors who have made our lives so much more comfortable!

What one question would you like us to ask your readers? (this is the one that they answer to win what you’re giving away)

How long have you been married? Are you still making discoveries about your spouse? Can you imagine being a mail order bride?

Please enter your name and email (ex: JaneDoe(at)aol(dot)com) for a drawing


Cathy said...

Thanks for letting me visit your blog! For readers in the Omaha area, I'm having a book release party June 25, from 1-3 pm at Walnut Grove Park, 152nd & Q Streets.
Y'all come! (I'm allowed to say that - I grew up in Virginia!)

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This looks like an amazing book. I am not married yet but I cannot imagine being a mail order bride. Thanks again.

Rebecca H.

Pamela J said...

I will be married to the SAME man for 36 years when August 7 gets here this year. I hear from people all the time that is more and more a rarity. One reason I am still making discoveries about my husband is that he is learning and growing. (but then, so am I) Sometimes I say he is being unpredicatable but I think it is actually that we each learn and change from that learning. I probably would be ok as a mail order bride. I try to make the best of situations and if that is where I found myself, well, I'd give it a whirl. People who know me would expect me to call it "and adventure" and I'd not disappoint them by saying anything different.
Pam W
cepjwms at wb4me dot com