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Such an amazing book!!! I loved it and could not put it down. Was fascinating to see what life was like back then and such hardships Rikka faced and persevered with courage and determination. There were so many insightful “aha” moments throughout the book. I have to reread the book again just to capture those moments and let it all sink in. An absolutely amazing book.
Rikka reveals the memories of an elderly woman who immigrates from Norway to western Canada. Harkening back on unfulfilled dreams, personal tragedies and a strained marriage, Rikka Lund struggles with regrets but rejoices in the life her family has created in the New World. The novel is rife with nods to Nordic culture - its cuisine and its dependence upon the sea - and it well illustrates the pains of Canada's pioneers. Readers of historical fiction and immigrant tales will enjoy this fine tale.
Rikka is Saskatchewan author, Joan Soggie’s fourth book, a remarkable labour of love and a beautifully told story that pays tribute to a strong, resolute immigrant woman. The words of Rikka's teacher became her lifelong motto: Spirit needs muscle. “Not only muscle of flesh and bone, she thought, but the muscle of spirit inured to hardship and suffering. Surely, we have enough of that to make us strong.” I have a personal reason for loving this novel. My great-grandparents settled not far from Rikka near the town of Elbow, after emigrating from Norway. Their daughter, my grandmother, told Joan Soggie one day that she and my grandfather used to ride to Rikka’s by horse-drawn sleigh to visit, sing and play music and eat. “We sang all the way there and all the way back,” my grandmother said. It’s comforting to know that Rikka and her friends were truly happy after all they had endured.
Every family should welcome someone with the writing skills and perception of Joan Soggie. I certainly do as the woman she writes about is my grandmother. I could not read it straight thru but had to put it down on many occasions as my thoughts were interrupted by the sad tales told and my reaction to it them – my dad had prepared me, in such a heartfelt manner as Joan did in this book, for the hardships the family had to endure in this pioneer life.
The book is a masterpiece about a pioneer (Rikka 1861-1931) as told through her thoughts, both expressed and just considered, about the life that she made for herself and the one that was thrust upon her by events of the times and circumstances around her.
The author has rare insight into the circumstances presented to Rikka and the roles it led each family member to accept and how these roles were played out even though the circumstances no longer applied. Joan is a psychologist of the highest order in that I assume she knows what women think but I now know that she has keen insight into what men think. I know that from her Prairie book and in this book from the thoughts she put into the male characters. There are many pearls of wisdom that Rikka utters to strengthen her character and to get her thru the hard times.
As immigrant strangers in religion and customs they tried to live together by merging cultures of what they have and compromises on what they are offered. As the children grew and developed lives of their own and the family dispersed, she remained alone on the original homestead in Saskatchewan. Moving to Chicago to be near her sons she dealt with the isolation of her later years, which engendered some of those same feelings felt earlier as an immigrant to Canada.
A great story that is applicable to many immigrant families.
This was a well written book showing the life and dreams of a woman. There were sad parts and also heart-warming bits. A book about dreams and how they change and are unfulfilled and fulfilled. I enjoyed my time with Rikka.