Author: Amy ScheibeSummary: 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. ~macmillian.com
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Bottom Line: A heroine that you never stop rooting for in a very well told story
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Review: A Fireproof Home for the Bride is a coming of age story that definitely touches on a variety of social issues. Not only were the issues pertinent in the 1950s but they are still relevant in today's society. Emmaline, aka Emmy, has lived on the family farm with a devoutly religious upbringing the majority of her life. Until her father decides to move the family to the town and she begins to see the world around her. She is also betrothed to a friend of the family who is 10 years older than her. Things start to change when a mysterious man comes to town to stir up trouble. They also start to change as Emmy is exposed to new people and new ideas.
What Ms. Scheibe does is show us how the world is changing in the 1950s through Emmy as starts to grow into adulthood. She shows us how narrow-minded the world could be at that time. How family isn't always what it seems and how as you grow into adulthood, you learn to accept your family; flaws and all.
While the plot is interesting, it is truly a character driven novel. While I did want to figure out the mystery of the fires, it wasn't too hard to figure out in the end. Emmy is the heart of the novel and the surrounding characters all bring different aspects to the story. Her mom, Karen, shapes Emmy with being stand-offish, cold and practical. She is the opposite of what Emmy wants to become. Her father is quiet but gives her strength in the way that he approaches issues.
There were a couple of twists in the novel that I didn't see coming. When one was gently revealed, I felt like a complete dope for not seeing it sooner. I loved that she was able to snooker this reader. I loved how Emmy did come into her own and it was through finding her independence that she blossoms. I loved that she found her passion in working at the newspaper. I loved that she wanted to be her own person.
If you enjoy coming of age novels set in a historical time of change, you should definitely pick up
A Fireproof Home for the Bride.