A Fireproof Home For the Bride
By Amy Scheibe
Published: March 10, 2015
Emmaline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it's 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960's, Emmy doesn't see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all.
Only when Emmy's fiancé shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act―falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy's eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under―and their effect―changes completely.
Amy Scheibe's A FIREPROOF HOME FOR THE BRIDE has the charm of detail that will drop readers into its time and place: the home economics class lecture on cuts of meat, the group date to the diner, the small-town movie theater popcorn for a penny. It also has a love story―the wrong love giving way to the right―and most of all the pull of a great main character whose self-discovery sweeps the plot forward.
While it took me awhile to get into the story, I ended up really liking it. The author gives us a really good sense of place with the farm and small town setting and the small mindedness of the community. I enjoyed seeing Emmy grow into her own though I would have liked it if she was a bit stronger regarding her family and Ambrose and Bobby. I was happy to see her find that strength in the end. I imagine she went on to have a fantastic career as a reporter and maybe even a civil rights activist. My book group selected this as our January book and I think it is a novel that is perfect for book discussion groups. I would suggest it to readers who like coming of age stories and historical fiction.
I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley