Lori Kohlman returns us to a time in our history when the world was not steeped in technology and industrialization. As her novel shows, the triumphs and tribulations experienced by individuals at that time run parallel to those experienced by individuals in society today.
This novel tells two stories. The first begins in 1939 when Angelica Aster answers an ad in a Winnipeg newspaper. She comes to Salvation, Saskatchewan, as a mail-order bride for Jacob Matthews and as a step-mother for Peter, his young son. Angelica has a secret. She does not come to Saskatchewan only to find a husband. Her reasons for coming to Jacob’s farm involve the death of Jacob’s first wife and the suspicion that little Peter is unloved and uncared for.
The second storyline tells of a modern day couple, Rachel and Will. They come to Salvation to work out their marital problems, hoping to re-claim the love they have somehow lost with the passing years. They come to stay with Will’s bachelor Uncle Pete on the family farm. As the novel progresses we see the similarities between Angelica and Jacob’s story and that of Rachel and Will. As both couples become immersed in life in Salvation they come to find truth in their relationships and freedom from their past despair.
Lori Kohlman’s story will appeal to those who believe as she does, and her characters do; that life’s path can be directed by following the teachings in the Bible.
As the stories of both couples emerge we see a surprising connection between two families in two very different periods in history. As the novel continues more and more similarities come to light. The young child named Peter and the crusty old uncle named Pete are one and the same. Both Rachel and Angelica are nurses who become unwillingly involved in the delivery of babies for their neighbours. The ruby necklace shown in the illustration on the novel’s cover has special significance to both families.
Both couples live on the farm in the same “Eaton’s” house, a classic old house ordered through the Eaton’s catalogue. Modern day Rachel decides that rather than re-do the house she will restore it and enhance its past charm. In making that decision she takes one more step toward turning her marriage and life around. Angelica also finds comfort in the home that had seen better times before the drought of the 1930’s. She sets about making the house her own with fresh new curtains and crocheted doilies everywhere.
In the story of Angelica and Jacob those who enjoy a journey into the past will find familiar details of a life-style their parents, grandparents, or great grandparents may have spoken about and lived through. Those who are hopeful modern marriage can survive will be “rootin'” for Will and Rachel.
Coming to Salvation involves us in a web of secrets and hidden agendas. As her novel concludes she brings each of her characters to find life-changing fulfillment. Angelica makes a fresh start and Jacob finds a new love. Will finds strength by re-visiting his past and Rachel finds Will again.
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