Mary Casanova captures the challenges of life in northern Minnesota in these two riveting novels set in the roaring 1920’s.
In Frozen, readers are introduced to Rainy Lake and Sadie Rose, a young girl orphaned after her prostitute mother’s suspicious death. Traumatized by the ordeal, Sadie Rose loses her power to speak and spends eleven years in the care of Senator and Mrs. Worthington. Now sixteen, she remembers little of her early childhood until she happens upon some photos of her mother. As her memory returns, so does her speech- and her ability to ask questions about her past.
Sadie Rose first confides her story to a small group of friends, including Owen Jensen. Owen helps support his family by delivering milk by boat to inhabitants of the islands in the lake. The author develops their relationship in Ice-Out. Sadie goes off to university while Owen stays behind, determined to earn a living worthy of a senator’s daughter. His humble, hard-working father’s untimely demise throws a wrench in his plans, however. Seduced by a desire to make some fast money and troubled by Sadie’s apparent friendship with a young man from school, Owen allows himself to be drawn into a bootlegging ring. Too late Owen realizes that his father’s simple integrity was worth emulating.
Fans of historical fiction and mystery will enjoy this burgeoning series about the early 20th century. Women’s Suffrage, Prohibition and even concern for the environment play key roles in the backdrop of the stories. Sadie Rose is resourceful and courageous in her love for her mother and friends, earning the loyalty of readers. Owen, meanwhile, evokes the sympathy of anyone who has loved both another person and a dream.
While the publisher recommends these books for early to mid-teens, some sensuality, attempted suicide, attempted rape and heavy use of alcohol make it appropriate for more mature readers.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.