This is a book which was recommended to me by my close friend Iola and I finally got round to purchasing it a few weeks ago. It’s out of the genre which I usually read, given it’s not modern fiction but perhaps historical romance or prairie fiction as I’ve come to view it, I really enjoyed it nevertheless! It was nice to read something which was out of my comfort zone and which I normally wouldn’t have picked up. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover as the saying goes!
The book follows eighteen year old Linnea Brandonberg as she moves to Alamo, North Dakota as part of her first teaching job. There she meets the brooding Theodore ‘Teddy’ Westgaard and his family, who she will be staying with. It follows all the trials that come with her job and becoming a professional woman in that time and also gives a really detailed insight into what rural life was like. As well as these elements there is the budding romance between Linnea and Teddy which is both complex and slow build. You see the characters go through intense difficulties, but ultimately come out stronger and as a community or family.
What I liked:
- The Setting / Time period – I don’t usually read books that are set in the past or are historical in some sense, however I really enjoyed the use of a sweeping natural setting like Dakota and the simplicity there. Spencer has a very rich style of prose which draws you in and gives you an odd sense of nostalgia for a simpler time, as well as drawing on knowledge about WWI, for a contemporary reader this is interesting.
- Writing style – Spencers style of writing, is descriptive, rich and easily accessible.
- Relationships between the characters – I really liked the way Spencer developed the bonds between the characters. It felt natural that Linnea is out of her depth at first but then grows to care for the Westgaards and others in the community deeply, and it’s not just a story with no bumps.
- Romance – The build up of Linnea and Teddys relationship is slow but really sweet, I hate stories where the characters get together immediately so I enjoyed reading the tension and dramatic moments in Years. When they do eventually admit their feelings it’s exciting and satisfying for a reader.
Things I would have changed:
- I don’t have many complaints about this book to be honest, I enjoyed it for the most part, one thing that really got me though was that we don’t find out what happens to Kristian ( Teddy’s son) after he goes off to fight in the war. He’s one of the central characters from the start so I would have liked to see some closure at least.
- Some dialogue is a bit ‘hallmark’ or can be considered a bit cheesy but this didn’t bother me too much. If you’re super critical, you probably won’t enjoy it.
All in all, I’m glad I decided to give Years a try and read something different for a change, it ended up surprising me and I think we can all use a little bit of variety!
Until next time,