With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt’s adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires. Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead and he’s equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonie faith. What he doesn’t expect is his growing affection for Lillianand the deep desire to be part of a family.
I just adored this book – the fourth in Sawyer’s Heart of the Prairie series. I immediately fell in love with the character of Eli with his easy-going nature and strong faith. I admired and respected Lillian’s ability to rise above the tragedies she suffers and to look forward to the future. The story itself was engaging and I empathised with Eli and Lillian’s struggle to reach her son, Henrick. What struck me most was how much Henrick’s choices resembled those made in the story of the Prodigal Son. I fully expected Henrick to return home at some point, realising that he had perhaps made the wrong choice in leaving. Even though that didn’t happen, I was thoroughly satisfied with the conclusion and to be honest, in my head, Henrick does return at some point in the future and the family achieves reconciliation. I thought the entire narrative was well-drafted and it complimented the world that Sawyer had created in both “Waiting for Summer” and “Where the Heart Leads.” Once again the Mennonite faith took centre stage in a favourable way, painting a genuine picture of a real frontier immigrant family and their struggles to build a new life together. The ending was beautiful – I read that chapter three times before I could officially close the book. I would definitely recommend this book and I would definitely read it again. I just loved it!