The Gumdigger’s Wife

The Gumdigger’s WifeThe Gumdigger's Wife by Christel Jeffs
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by CreateSpace on January 12, 2017
Pages: 390

 

Publisher’s Summary:

Today, Emmalina will marry a photograph.

The year is 1905. Dalmatia, Emmalina’s birthplace, is shrinking in the shadow of Amerika: the name of any place that offers a better life. Men are leaving the country in droves. Women are betrothed to strangers and shipped away from their struggling village homes. After saying her vows in Dalmatia, Emmalina will sail to New Zealand and join Johan Turk on the northern gumfields, where men and women slave over miry ground to dig up remnants of the valuable kauri gum resin.

Emmalina’s unwelcome marriage to Johan becomes a battle between her desire for distance and his determination to make the marriage work. When they push one another to the limits of forgiveness, the couple must decide if a marriage of obligation, secrecy and distrust can be pieced together.

As a reader, I’m drawn to contemporary novels, especially those that take place here in the United States. As a reviewer, I like to branch out and try stories I might not have picked up if it weren’t for “the job”. This book, The Gumdigger’s Wife by Christel Jeffs, is one of those novels I might normally have passed up. But I’m so glad I didn’t let it slip through the cracks!

The Gumdigger’s Wife by Christel Jeffs is a novel like none I’ve read.

The Gumdigger’s Wife by Christel Jeffs is a novel like none I’ve read. The setting is unique and beautiful in a troubled time. The vivid imagery of the countryside comes to life through Jeffs penmanship. I was able to clearly visual the towns that were just starting to form, to see the fields where they spent their time digging for gum, and the struggles they endured. I felt their pain. I struggled right along with them. For a reader to be able to share what the characters are feeling is a rare commodity, especially for a first time author.

The characters in the novel are well developed, and there are many we get to meet along Emmalina’s journey. The variety was many, but necessary to tell the story. From the store keeper to the inn keeper, everyone had a part to play.

For a reader to be able to share what the characters are feeling is a rare commodity, especially for a first time author.

The sweet love story that takes place between the two strangers takes flight with a rocky beginning, as only a mail ordered marriage could begin. Imagine getting married to a picture, then traveling thousands of miles to meet your husband! Having never experienced the feelings of such an event, Jeffs had me believing I was right there with Emmalina. The shock at her arranged marriage. The raw feelings that surfaced in her relationship with her father and the love she shared with her siblings. I felt every ounce of the emotions she was going through.

There were times I felt as if I couldn’t read the words fast enough; I wanted to see what was happening around the next page, how the story would end. Yet, in reality, I never wanted their story to end.

There were times I felt as if I couldn’t read the words fast enough; I wanted to see what was happening around the next page, how the story would end. Yet, in reality, I never wanted their story to end. I wanted it to continue, to take me on their path till they were old and had children of their own. After completing the novel, one of the first things I did was email Jeffs to see if there would be a book 2 in the future!

The Gumdigger’s Wife was a surprisingly sweet novel with some rough edges along the way. Fans of Liz Curtis Higgs, Tracie Peterson, Tamara Alexander, and Francine Rivers (think Redeeming Love) should enjoy this novel, and this first time author.

2 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *