Marta Schneider was born to an abusive alcoholic father and a sickly mother in Switzerland in the late 1800's. She desperately wants to get an education but her father forces her to quit and go to work when she is 12 years old. She is still determined to succeed despite the constant negative comments from her father. Her mother tells her to follow her dreams. She manages to eventually find her way to Canada where she buys and runs a small boarding house. She meets a man who becomes her husband whom she follows first to western Canada and then to California. Life is still a struggle for Marta but she never gives up hope that things will be better for her four children. She is especially hard on her daughter Hildie whom she fears is too weak. Hildie has dreams of becoming a nurse but her mother protests that nursing is too much like being a servant. Hildie becomes a nurse despite her mother. Eventually the frustrations she has had with her mother leads to a confrontation with her.
This is the first book in a two-parter. The second will come out about 6 months from now. The story is based on the lives of the author's mother and grandmother and came out of her trying to understand the rift that took place between them. The author, Francine Rivers, is known mostly as a Christian author and the book reflects her belief. It is filled with religious references, to prayer and faith mostly.
I really liked this book and read it quickly even though it is nearly 500 pages long. There is very little swearing or sex, mostly just adult situations such as rape, infidelity, racism, etc. I would rate it PG-13 for those situations. I am looking forward to the next book called Her Daughter's Dream!