About the Book
Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.
At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.
Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.
I was quite sure what to expect from this story, I just interested in the fact that it took place in Holland,MI – approximately two hours west of me.
It is a story unlike I have ever read. It is a love story of a different kind. A story of family and faith and putting your own desires aside for the path God would have you walk. Just when you thought for sure it would go in one direction, Ms. Austin does a one-eighty. It is beautifully rich in Holland’s history and culture of it’s early days. I can’t help but wonder what it’s founders would think of it now.
This was truly enjoyable and a breath of fresh air. It has been four years since I stood on the shores of Lake Michigan. It it reminded me how beautiful it was.
(Hey honey, let’s go for a motorcycle ride to the other side of the state. I am craving some big water.)