||June 15, 2010
Barnes & Noble.com
Childbirth, faith in God, and medical technology collide in this story. A young labor/delivery nurse is shocked by the sudden death of her roommate and begins an emotional and spiritual journey. She discovers that her great-grandmother found help for times of crisis in the Bible--help that is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago.
It was after nine o'clock when Jenny and Karin reached the outskirts of a large town. Jenny gasped, "Look at the lights and these mansions! After miles of forest, fields, farmhouses and a few towns--this is amazing!" Two and three story houses lined the road. Some had wide porches circling the front. Lights twinkled from the interior of these grand homes.
"May said that there is a university in Houghton and another one in Hancock. It is amazing to see this place emerge after miles of nothing," Karin said with wonder. "I'll need you to direct me now."
Jenny pulled out the directions that Mary had e-mailed. She directed Karin through Houghton and across the bridge to Hancock. the port that had once flourished with the business of copper was quiet.
They passed streets lined with closely spaced two-story houses that had been built by the mining company to house immigrant workers. the houses were on the steep side of a hill that overlooked the canal between Portage Lake and Lake Superior.
Review by Mary @ Mary's World
Immigrant Tale Inspires
During the chill of January, curling up to read "Aliisa's Letter: Legacy of Faith" by Carol Van Der Woude makes for some tender reflections and recollections about December's emphasis on the Virgin Mary's delivery of the Christ Child in a humble stable.
Van Der Woude skillfully relies on her nursing training and work as a labor/delivery nurse in Michigan and Illinois hospitals to craft a delightful work of fiction.
The story is told in a direct and straight-forward manner. Van Der Woude was inspired by the legacy of her real life great-grandmother, an early 1900s Finnish immigrant to the Copper Country. The book is about Karin, a fictional delivery nurse in Chicago who returns to Houghton County, Michigan for a friend's wedding. She mourns a Finnish grandmother that she barely knew, and in short order the death of a room-mate under suspicious circumstances.
Those fortunate to have a collection of family letters and photos will relate to fictional Karin's growing desire to learn of her family history,
This occurs after she returns from her grandmother Marja's Florida funeral with a box of family documents and memorabilia.
Those with Copper Country ties will enjoy recalling the pleasant place enriched by the heritage of Finnish ancestors and descendants.
Van Der Woude has sprinkled her story with Copper Country familiarities: saunas, juustoleipa, pannukakku, Heikinpaiva, coffee and pulla, historic sites, and popular restaurants-- only some from her variety of poignant touchstones.
As the book progresses we become familiar with the immigrant Aliisa's faith in God as she struggles through life in America. She longs for traditions of the Finland she left out of economic necessity and a desire for adventure in the footsteps of her brother.
In counterpoint, Karin investigates her roommate's death and seeks resolution to her own faith issues. Along the way she assists with an emergency birth in a sauna and finds unexpected romance and employment as a nurse in the Copper Country.
You will gain inspiration from the life outcomes of these two women of sisu.
This review was published in the Finnish American Reporter (January 2011), written by R. Stierna
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