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The Children's Blizzard: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2021
Status:
Available from OverDrive

Description

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.
“A nail-biter . . . poignant, powerful, perfect.” —Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm?
Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there—or whose land it originally was.
At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/12/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780399182297
ASIN:
B088F2ZFDL

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Melanie Benjamin. (2021). The Children's Blizzard: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Melanie Benjamin. 2021. The Children's Blizzard: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Melanie Benjamin, The Children's Blizzard: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Melanie Benjamin. The Children's Blizzard: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2021.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
Jan 08, 2021 19:36:35
Date Updated:
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The Children's Blizzard
fullDescription
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.
“A nail-biter . . . poignant, powerful, perfect.” —Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm?
Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there—or whose land it originally was.
At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 1, 2020
        The brutal storm that whirled up suddenly on an enchantingly mild and sunny day in January 1888 just as schools let out became known as the Children's Blizzard for all the young lives it claimed. Best-selling historical novelist Benjamin (Mistress of the Ritz, 2019), whose previous novels focus on prominent women, astutely defines this disaster by imagining those who were killed or forever changed by it. Sisters Raina and Gerda, whose immigrant parents were lured to inhospitable Nebraska by promises of a veritable Garden of Eden, serve as teachers in one-room schoolhouses while they're still in their teens. Raina becomes entangled in the woes of the family she boards with, as does little Anette, who is sold as a servant by her cruel and desperate mother. The combustible claustrophobia of this unhappy household is matched by the ferocity of the blizzard in heart-in-throat scenes of Raina and Gerda's valiant struggles to survive. Equally compelling is the story of newspaperman Gavin, reduced to writing, at the direction of the railroads, the fake news that delivered duped Northern European immigrants to the forbidding plains. In this piercingly detailed drama, riveting in its action and psychology, Benjamin reveals the grim aspects of homesteading, from brutal deprivations to violent racism toward Native Americans and African Americans, while orchestrating, with grace and resonance, transformative moral awakenings and sustaining love.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 30, 2020
        Benjamin (Mistress of the Ritz) revisits the Children’s Blizzard that killed 235 people in January 1888 in this sprawling, well-told story. As the children from two Great Plains schools prepare to leave at the end of an unusually mild winter day, Benjamin focuses on the different choices made by their teachers—first-generation Norwegian American sisters Gerda and Raina Olsen, a three-day ride apart from each other across the Nebraska-Dakota border —while the storm approaches with dark clouds and strong winds. Gerda, teaching in Dakota Territory, rashly dismisses her students so she can see her would-be beau, while Raina, in Nebraska, chooses to keep her small class together. Meanwhile, jaded newspaperman Gavin Woodson is torn between opportunism—he knows he’s found a great story that can punch his ticket back to N.Y.C.—and romanticism, as Gavin, and his readers, grow entranced by the stories of the blizzard’s unlikely heroes and heroines, such as one of Raina’s students who tries to save his classmate. The narrative revolves largely around northern European settlers to the region, and the attempts to incorporate the experiences of Sioux people feel somewhat forced. Nevertheless, there’s great suspense inherent to the events. Benjamin achieves a balance of grand drama and devastatingly intimate moments.

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“A nail-biter . . . poignant, powerful, perfect.” —Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing...
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