Mother's Day
Book Reviews - Childbirth - Family - Women

Two Reviews and a Rose

Cultures collide on the frontier. Linda Ulleseit’s novel, The River Remembers, is a story set in the Michigan territory during the 1830s and 1840s.

Three main characters—each from a different ethnic group—move the story forward. Day Set is a Dakota Indian. Harriet is a Black slave. Samantha is White, a sister of the judge in Prairie du Chien.

The book is rich in detail, but I frequently had to page back to recall various minor characters or to remember the place. The setting shifted between the Indian village to the settler’s town to Fort Snelling—sometimes moving up or down the Mississippi River.

I might have taken notes to keep track of the characters and places. It was helpful to have a map at the beginning of the book and a glossary of Dakota words at the back of the book.

Ulleseit did well in painting a picture of frontier life with all of its challenges. There were both mistakes and misunderstandings between the cultures. As people created by God, we need wisdom beyond our own. We need to listen well and communicate honestly.

Currently I am reading Showing: what pregnancy tells us about being human by Agnes Howard. The book is a historical study on how women and pregnancy have been viewed within cultures. She points out the importance of seeing, really seeing the work of pregnancy.

I am finding it a good time to reflect on the experience of pregnancy, as my daughter-in-law is pregnant. Here are a couple quotes from the book: 

Understanding childbearing well enriches our sense of who we are as human beings. We are creatures who require generosity, care and mutual dependence in order to live. This is what we should see when someone walks by with a bump. (p. 5)

 Not only at birth but in childbearing, the witness of the woman with child communicates in a “semi-public” way our mutual dependence, participation in creation, and invitation to charity. (p. 93)

All of us have mothers. We can give thanks for their work of carrying us and giving birth. The rose is for my mother who passed away in 2021.

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Carol is a follower of Jesus and a wife, mom & grandma. She worked for many years as a childbirth nurse and prenatal educator. She recently retired from clinical work. She has written articles for nursing journals and devotionals. Her novel, Aliisa's Letter, was published in 2010 and she is currently working on another project.